DISCLAIMER: Guiding Light and its characters are the property of Proctor & Gamble. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: A sequel to Verisimilitude in Fiction. Picks up the morning after the night before.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Doris Wolfe had a very good shower. The water pressure was always perfect, the temperature never varied, and as for the showerhead...well, she'd paid extra for that. All in all, the perfect way to start the day - but she'd never found herself singing in it before.
Which was why she was vaguely appalled to find herself warbling a tune by Katrina and the Waves that morning. She was Doris Wolfe for God's sake. She was not now, and never would be, walking on sunshine. Not even after an afternoon and half a night of very unexpected - but very, very satisfactory - sex.
Blake was already gone though, which was fine. She thankfully hadn't wanted to do anything insane like have breakfast together, or spend the day together. She had kissed her goodbye with a teasingly seductive "see you soon," but she seemed to know the score.
Still, it had been...nice. More than nice, in fact, to be with someone finally after such a long dry spell. She stretched, feeling under used muscles hum as her shoulders popped. And Blake had definitely been fun. And very open minded, for a straight chick. There didn't seem to be anything she wasn't up for trying, and they had tried a lot. Only lack of time and toys had stopped them from trying everything. Still, perhaps...
No. Doris stopped that thought before it started. There wouldn't be a next time. There was never a next time. That way, madness lay.
Shaking that thought from her head, Doris concentrated on getting herself dry, dressed and fed. One suit with an ugly jacket later she sat at her kitchen table nibbling on a slice of toast, checking her Blackberry for that day's appointments. She was blissfully free until after lunch. No meetings with greasy palmed men with unhealthy interest in stop signs. No concerned pressure groups trying to get her to save the lesser spotted woodpecker, or whatever. No angry parents protesting about the latest money-saving school amalgamation. Of course, that was probably because it hadn't been announced yet. Still, a peaceful morning. A simple morning.
So of course something had to go wrong.
A burst water main flooded half the stores on Main Street, leading to threats to sue the City from at least five people, and then - if that wasn't enough - the main electrical grid at City Hall shorted out, knocking out the air conditioning. But she couldn't leave her office because she kept having to field calls from the maintenance department, and the legal department, and the education department, who'd caught wind, somehow, of her amalgamation idea and were screaming bloody murder. She was tired, and hot, and a little sweaty, and all the happy feelings from that morning had drifted away like sand through an hourglass.
"Wow, you look awful."
Doris's head snapped up. Blake was standing in the doorway, two cups of Starbucks iced coffee in her hands and a bag hanging from her elbow. "Blake," she said, unnecessarily. "What are you doing here?"
Blake gestured towards the cups and the bag. "I'm bringing you lunch," she said, as if she were talking to a very small, slightly stupid child.
Doris sat back a little in her chair. "Yeah, that's sweet of you Blake, but I don't really have time."
Blake waved away her protests and took the seat on the opposite side of her desk. "You don't have time for a wrap and a frappuccino? Please, just shut up and eat."
And so Doris grudgingly relented, and when Blake started asking about her day it seemed like it would be churlish not to respond. Blake was surprisingly sympathetic, and even offered some helpful suggestions for the press release about the burst water pipe. Doris had almost forgotten that the other woman was in PR once upon a time. Of course, Blake's many careers were hard to keep track of.
All in all, it was actually a very nice, peaceful break from her day, and she was so relaxed by the time Blake left that she completely failed to be surprised that the other woman had kissed her goodbye. It was just a quick, casual peck on the lips, so understated that she'd responded without really thinking about it. It wasn't until a half hour after Blake left that Doris realised that she was smiling and her lips were still tingling.
Oh, that isn't good, her mind pointed out, as if she needed the confirmation. If there was one thing she couldn't afford it was to be having tingly feelings about Blake Marler. At least, not above the waist tingly feelings.
She fully intended to tell Blake that the next time she saw her, which happened to be the very next day when she appeared again at lunchtime, this time carrying a salad and bottle of water from Company.
"Having a better day today?" Blake asked, stopping Doris from getting the first word.
"Uhm...yes. Listen, Blake, I-"
"I noticed you ordered this at Company the other day," Blake interrupted, handing her what was, on closer inspection, clearly a Cobb salad. "I was just passing and wanted to make sure you ate today."
Doris blinked. "You're not staying?" she asked, feeling strangely disappointed.
Blake shook her head. "Can't today," she said. "I've got a meeting with one of my authors about the book tour I'm setting up. Enjoy your salad."
This time there was no kiss goodbye, just a smile and a wave. Doris reminded herself that not kissing Blake was a good thing, that it was, in fact, what she had wanted.
She spent the rest of the day in a foul mood, snapping at her secretary and shouting at her assistant. She refused to think about why.
The next day she left her office long before lunchtime and didn't go back until four in the afternoon. When she returned she found a muffin and a cup of now cold coffee on the desk. A note sat beside it. Sorry I missed you. I know, I know, duty called no doubt. Movie tonight? Call me! xx B.
The paper smelled like Blake's perfume. Doris read the message over three times, honing in on that little xx each time. She was in trouble. She was so in trouble.
The phone rang twice before a slightly breathless Blake picked up. "Hi," she said. There was a smile in her voice.
"Hi," Doris replied, warily. "I got your note."
"Oh, great!" The smile had become a grin. "I have to take Clarissa to see...uhm...some cartoon movie, I don't remember what it's called. I wouldn't mind some adult company."
Doris closed her eyes, grimacing. "About that," she said. "Listen, Blake-"
"Oh, sorry, I have to go," Blake interrupted. "My appointment just got here. The movie's at six, okay? See you later."
Doris pulled the phone quickly away from her ear when the dial tone started to drone. Well, that could have gone better. She really needed to call Blake back at some point, to straighten things out so to speak. Apparently the other woman didn't know the score. She would just have to let her down gently. And she definitely, definitely, wouldn't be going to the movie. That was absolutely decided.
Her clarity on that issue was absolute, which made it all the more strange when she found herself waiting outside the movie theatre, watching out for Blake. She wasn't even quite sure how she'd got there - automatic pilot maybe. It certainly hadn't been a conscious choice. Nevertheless, she was there, and so were Blake and her daughter, holding hands and grinning as they wandered across to her. And with them...
Olivia, Natalia and Emma.
"Doris!" Olivia looked positively gleeful. "I didn't think Pixar was your scene."
Honestly, where was an emergency when she needed it? Where was an urgent call on the cellphone, or beep on the pager? Where was a hole she could jump into and hide?
"It's not," Doris said. "I...uh...I just-"
"She's keeping in touch with her constituents," Blake said. "Is that so strange?"
Olivia held out her hands in a gesture of surrender. "Not at all," she said, but the grin had not left her face.
Blake turned a winning smile on a deeply uncomfortable Doris. "Popcorn?" she asked
"Uh...no," Doris replied. Emma and Clarissa seemed to know each other pretty well, and were giggling about something or other. Natalia was off in a world of her own with her arm round Olivia's waist. And as for Olivia herself? She looked like all her birthdays and Christmases had come at once.
Blake and Natalia went off to the concession stand, leaving Olivia and Doris alone. "Well, well, well," she began, with a shit-eating grin on her face.
"Shut up," Doris said warningly, turning her best 'don't-fuck-with-me-I'm-the-Mayor' look onto her friend. Well...usually a friend. When she wasn't making her life a living hell.
"That look doesn't work on me," Olivia reminded her. "I know all your secrets, remember?" Olivia paused, and laughed a little. "Or I thought I did. Are you actually dating Bla-"
"No!" Doris insisted.
"Oh, that's funny, 'cause it looks like you're having a family movie night with her," Olivia replied with a snort. "Careful, Doris. That's how it starts."
Doris flushed. "Maybe for you," she said. "Not for me." No, for her it had started in the bedroom with some very, very good sex. It was supposed to end there too, but things were going a little pear shaped.
She mentally amended that to very pear shaped halfway through the movie, when Blake took advantage of the darkness of the theatre and slid her fingers down Doris's arm to hold her hand. Doris gulped hard, and glanced at Olivia. She looked like she was about to burst with suppressed laughter. Well, that was fantastic.
Ultimately, the whole evening had given Olivia something like a year's worth of ammunition. Which was just great. As if she didn't have enough to torture her with. So, when Blake asked Doris if she wanted to come back to her house for a drink, she decided she may as well accept. In for a penny, and all that.
"Goodnight ladies," Olivia crowed, and Doris knew she was never, ever going to hear the end of this.
She loitered in Blake's living room for half an hour so, nursing a gin and tonic while she waited for Blake to put Clarissa to bed. She wasn't quite sure what she was doing there. This was a very bad idea. Probably the worst idea she'd had in ages, in fact.
Doris snapped her head up, looking remarkably like a deer caught in the headlights of a semi. Blake was standing in the doorway in a pair of pink silk pyjamas, and she was smiling seductively.
"Hi," Doris said, though it came out more like a squeak.
Blake chuckled. In five seconds she crossed the room and perched herself on the arm of Doris's chair. "I never thought I'd say this," she said, running her fingers across Doris's cheek and through her hair. "But you're kinda cute when you're nervous."
Doris's lips twitched. "We're not dating," she blurted suddenly. To her surprise, Blake simply laughed.
"No, of course not," she said, leaning down and claiming her lips in a heated, and very confusing, kiss. "That's definitely not what we're doing."
"Right," Doris breathed. "Definitely not."
Blake nodded, then stood and held out her hand. "Well, now we've sorted that out," she said with a grin, "are you coming to bed?"
No, should have been the answer. She should have smiled, thanked Blake for a nice evening (even though it had been excruciating in almost every way) and left. She should have got up the next day and put the whole crazy situation from her mind.
But she didn't do that. Instead she followed Blake to her bedroom in a daze and, later, when Blake kissed her and asked her what she wanted to do for lunch tomorrow she answered "Towers," without really thinking about it.
Blake laid her head on Doris's shoulder and curled her arm round her waist. "Mmm," she mumbled. "'Night."
"Goodnight," Doris whispered back, closed her eyes, and finally admitted that she was - literally and figuratively - screwed.
Blake kissed her shoulder and tightened her hold with a happy sigh of contentment. Doris felt her heart rate increase and she had the sudden, mad urge to lean down and press her lips to the other woman's forehead.
So fucking screwed, was her last thought, before drifting into a deep, dreamless sleep.
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