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He should have been ours.
Five simple words, none longer than a single syllable, yet stringed together they are powerful enough to break what little bit of your heart that you'd managed to repair since Clarice walked out on you into a million tiny pieces. You knew you were playing with fire when you agreed to let her stay with you, but it felt good to be needed again. And, to be honest, a small part of you wondered if there was a chance you might be able to go back and find that happily ever after you wanted with her. Sending Clarice on her way was the right thing to do, your conscience which sounds remarkably like Dawson assures you, but you still miss her.
He should have been ours.
The haunting plea echoes relentlessly inside your mind as you stare blankly at the empty chair opposite you that was, ten minutes ago, occupied by a woman who had all but ransomed herself a date with you. You had tried to fulfill your end of the bargain you made to help Dawson find the information she needed about the abuse that little girl was suffering, but she got annoyed when you had to ask her, for the fifth time, to repeat herself because your mind had wandered away from whatever inane small talk she was spewing to fill the awkward silence between you. Really, you hadn't been at all upset when she got up and left you sitting here alone, yet you can't help but hope that she won't be on shift next time you bring a patient to Lakeshore Hospital for treatment.
He should have been ours.
You shake your head and order another beer from your waiter as he passes, and thoughts of exactly how messed up your life is blast through your consciousness, overwhelming Clarice's soft, stabbing words until all you can hear are your own thoughts about how utterly inadequate you are.
Kids had always been something you wanted and yet, as you gratefully take the freshly drawn pint of lager your waiter set on the table in front of you and lift it to your mouth for another numbing drink, you think that maybe it's a good thing that you don't have anyone to rely on you like that. Because, let's face it, your life except for your job is a goddamn comedy of errors. Your roommate is, no doubt, currently fucking the last girl you'd slept with and who you, once again, failed to realize drove stick and was simply using you for a brief Sapphic distraction before she went back to men.
Just once, it would be nice to sleep with a woman who didn't end up jumping into bed with a man the moment she left yours.
"What are you thinking about?" a familiar voice asks, interrupting your private pity party, and you can't help but smile as you look at the woman who had slipped so confidently into the seat across from you.
"Nothing," you reply, shaking your head. "Why are you here?"
"Your, um, date," Dawson says, rolling her eyes, "called to make sure I knew that she will not be doing either of us any more favors."
A soft laugh rumbles in your throat as you offer your partner an apologetic smile. "Yeah, sorry about that."
She waves you off. "Please. I should have never let you offer yourself up like that in the first place. If anyone should be apologizing, it's me," she says as she flags down your waiter and orders herself a beer.
He should have been ours.
Your smile fades as Clarice's haunting voice floats across your mind, and you can't even hold Dawson's gaze as you murmur, "Nah don't worry about it. I knew what I was doing when I offered."
The feeling of her hand landing lightly atop yours is enough to draw your eyes up to meet her questioning gaze, and you sigh as you see understanding flash across her face.
"What did she do now?" she asks.
"Nothing." You shake your head. "I sent her home to her husband."
She nods and you can see her mind working to figure out what it was that you weren't telling her. "And?"
"I told her to go back to her husband and to leave me alone." Your voice rises defensively and you offer the couple at the table beside you an apologetic smile as you lean forward and lower your voice to a hushed whisper that won't carry as far. "I did what you've been telling me to do. I looked her in the eye and told her to go." Her expression shifts and you swallow thickly as you sit back in your seat and cross your arms over your chest. "What?"
"She did it again," Dawson mutters, shaking her head. "That passive aggressive, manipulative bitch. I told her "
"Hey, hey, hey," you protest, leaning forward again so your conversation won't carry past your table. "She didn't do anything, Gabby."
"Then tell me what it was she said that has you so obviously messed up in the head," Dawson counters, arching a brow challenging.
He should have been ours.
"Bullshit," Dawson scoffs. "She did or said something to you. She's the only person in the world who can make you look like that."
"Like what?" you demand.
You flinch as she doesn't hesitate to answer, "Defeated. Broken. Like you're questioning everything about your own self-worth."
Instead of acknowledging that she can tell exactly how you're feeling in that moment, you take a healthy drink of your beer before telling her, "Kelly is fucking Corrine right now."
"The redhead with the accent? I thought she was gay," she says, frowning.
You give her a wry smile and a shrug. "Yeah. Me too," you say as you take another long swallow of your beer.
She shakes her head. "That's pretty messed up. Not that I'm surprised that he wasn't turned off by the idea of getting your sloppy seconds. Anyways, don't think that I didn't notice that you avoided my question."
"I didn't. I already answered you."
"What did she say?" Dawson asks again quietly, leaning forward over the table so that you can literally see her eyes softening as she waits for your answer.
If there's one thing in the world that you're powerless to resist, it's a pair of beautiful brown eyes asking anything of you, and you sigh as you tell her, "She said he should have been ours."
"Who?" Dawson asks, and then her eyes widen in understanding as she connects the dots much more quickly than you expected her to. "Her kid?! She had the gall to play the baby card?! Wow, she has a bigger set than I thought she did, and that's saying something."
"I told her to leave," you repeat softly, shaking your head as you direct the full weight of your attention on your beer.
"Good. You deserve so much better than her."
Though you appreciate the sentiment, your eyes still sting with tears as you ask, "Do I? I mean, really? Because my track record isn't all that great."
"Hey," she murmurs, reaching out and hooking a finger under your chin so that you are forced to look at her. "Don't even go there. You are smart, funny, beautiful, kind, and loyal, and you will find your happily ever after someday."
You smile in spite of yourself and nod. "Yeah. I know."
"No, you don't," she murmurs. "God, you should though. I wish you could see just how amazing you are."
Her hand slips up over your jaw so that she's tenderly cradling your face in her palm and you say the one thing you'd only ever admitted to yourself when you were alone. "I wish you were into women, Gabby. I really do."
She smiles. "You say that now, but you would get tired of me in a week."
You take a deep breath and shake your head. "I don't think I would."
Something flashes across her eyes as she stares at you, but before you can place the wayward, fleeting emotion it's gone and you're graced with a gentle smile that makes you melt just a little.
"Let's get out of here. Come on, I'll walk you home." She flags down your waiter and hands him her credit card, and she waves off your protest at the gesture before it can even leave your lips. "I got you into this mess, Shay; I'm not going to make you pay for it any more than you already have."
Instead of arguing with her, you simply offer her a small smile in thanks as you finish what's left of your drink as you two wait for the waiter to come back with the receipt for Dawson to sign. Once the bill is settled, you both get to your feet and she waits patiently for you in the foyer of the restaurant as you put your coat on. The night air is sharp, the wind whipping of the lake is biting, and you notice that after a couple of steps she's right beside you, her arm brushing against yours as you both seek that little bit of body heat from the other to help ward off the chill.
You push your hands further into your pockets as the urge to offer her your arm nearly overwhelms you, and you bit your lip as you cast a furtive glance at her from the corner of your eye. She's looking down at the sidewalk, her face a mask of thoughtful concentration, and though you wonder what it is she's thinking about, you don't ask. After your drunken confession at the restaurant, you figure it's better to just give her some space.
Thankfully your building isn't that far from the restaurant where you'd arranged for your date that wasn't really a date to happen, and a small sigh of relief escapes you as you step into the heated foyer of your building. You're a little surprised when Dawson doesn't hesitate to walk over to the elevator, and you chew your lower lip as you stare at her reflection in the shiny brass door. You take the fact that she not only offered to walk you home but also seems intent to actually see you to your door as a positive thing, and you're more than a little relieved that she doesn't seem put-off by what you said back at the restaurant. If she were, you figure she would want to get as far away from you as possible.
The elevator ride up to your floor is silent and you blow out a loud breath as you wait for the car to deposit you on your doorstep. You pull your keys out of your pocket as you walk up to your front door, and you glance back over your shoulder at your partner as you slide the key into the lock. "You wanna come in " you offer, because she's still there and you don't know what to do or how to act and it's something you would normally say.
You watch with building confusion as she licks her lips and seems to seriously consider your offer, you're left thinking that you've managed to fuck up the longest relationship you've ever had with your little slip back at the restaurant.
"Yeah. Why not."
The breath you didn't even realize you were holding escapes you on a quiet sigh of relief, and you smile as you push the door open. "Good. Come on in."
You stand beside the door, holding it open for her as she enters your apartment and your brow furrows as her fingertips brush lightly across the back of your hand as she walks by you. The gesture is reassuring and soft, and before you can even process it, it's gone. You shake your head as you close the front door behind her, and you quickly shed your coat and make your way into the kitchen.
"You want a beer?" you call over your shoulder.
"Sure," she answers, and you quickly pull two bottles from the fridge.
You twist the top off of one as you turn to face the rest of the room, and you are surprised to see that she's standing right behind you. "Um, hi," you murmur, your brow furrowing in confusion as she reaches up and once again cradles your face in the palm of her hand. "Gabby?"
Her expression is confused, thoughtful, and determined, and your heart skips a beat as her thumb brushes softly over your lower lip. Not a word is spoken as you remain frozen in place, letting her caress your face with her fingertips as she works through whatever it is that has her looking so introspective. You instinctively lick your lips as her eyes stop roaming across your face to focus on them, and your breath hitches in her throat at the way her eyes darken in response.
You want to speak up, to ask her what it is that's happening, but before you can form the words on your tongue, she steps into you, her hold on your jaw tightening by a fraction, and then her lips are, for the briefest of moments, pressed to yours. It's over before you can even react and you frantically search her face for some sign of what it all meant as she pulls away from you.
There's nothing there to be seen, though, so you quietly ask, "What was that?"
"I don't know," she whispers. "I'm sorry. I just "
"Shh, no," you say, setting the bottles you're still holding onto the island so you don't drop them. You smile reassuringly at her as you place a safe, reassuring hand on her shoulder. "Why?"
She sighs and runs a hand through her hair as she offers you a confused, apologetic look. "I just after what you said at the restaurant a part of me has always wondered what it would be like," she finishes softly.
"Kissing me," you surmise.
She nods. "Yeah. I don't know why and I don't know how to explain it and I am so sorry that I put you in this position but I just-"
"Hey," you interrupt her before her rambling can really pick up steam. "It's fine. I promise. We're fine. Just talk to me. What are you thinking right now?"
Your heart pounds nervously in your chest as you wait for her answer. You hadn't ever really dared dream that something like this might happen, but now that it has, you find yourself terrified that you might never have it.
Her eyes land on your lips again and you watch as she swallows thickly. "I kinda want to try again," she admits softly.
Now it's your turn to swallow thickly as you nod and say, "Okay."
You smile at her because there's no way you would be able to hold it back anyway and nod. "Yeah."
"But I can't promise-"
"I know," you assure her as you let your hands rest lightly on her hips. And it's not just a worthless platitude you're offering. You know that this could backfire in a really big way and that nothing would come of it but a serious case of heartache for you, yet you still think it's worth the risk. "I know."
"I don't want to hurt you," she breathes.
"I know. We'll be fine, whatever happens. I-" you lick your lips as you let your eyes drop to hers and you sigh, "-would like to try too. No strings, just a kiss," you offer, lifting your chin to brush the tip of your nose over her cheek, waiting for her to make that move. You want it, but not enough to push her faster than she's ready.
This time when her lips land on yours you aren't taken by surprise and you whimper quietly as you wrap your arms around her waist and draw her into you. She relaxes against you, her hands slipping from your face as she loops her arms around your neck, and this time she doesn't pull away.
The kiss is tentative and soft, just the lightest clasping of lips, and your heart races as you realize that you are actually kissing her. And then she groans and her mouth opens just that little bit so her tongue can sweep lightly across your lips, and you can't contain the low moan that rumbles in your throat as you meet her questing tongue with your own.
She tastes like beer and sunshine and freedom and you moan again as you thrust your tongue into her mouth and take over the kiss. She doesn't resist as you turn her so that she's pinned between you and the island, and when her leg slips between your own to press firmly against your crotch, you let out a strangled gasp of surprise as you pull back to look at her. Your body reacts viscerally to the sight of her lust-darkened eyes and kiss-swollen lips, and you swallow thickly as you try and wrap you head around what just happened. And, even still buzzed for kissing her sobered you up better than any cup of coffee ever could you know that it would be a mistake to push whatever this is much further than you already have.
She seems to come to the same conclusion, because she sighs and chews the corner of her lower lip nervously as she looks at you.
"Well?" you ask, your voice no louder than a breath as you wait for either the condemnation or absolution that awaits you with her decision. Your pulse pounds in your ears as seconds seem to tick into hours and when she opens her mouth to speak, your heart stops beating altogether.
"I liked it," she whispers, smiling shyly at you.
"You did?" you ask dumbly.
Her smile widens. "Yeah."
The sound of the front door closing loudly bursts the bubble of intimacy that had surrounded you, and you sigh as you look over her shoulder to see Severide standing in the foyer looking at you both and tell him with a look to get lost
He grins and waggles his brows at you as he flashes you two thumbs up, and you bite the inside of your cheek to keep from laughing as he calls out, "Goodnight, ladies!" before scampering back up the stairs.
"I'm sorry about him," you murmur, rolling your eyes as you shift your attention back to her.
She chuckles and shakes her head. "He's fine."
You nod slowly as you take a deep breath, steeling your courage to ask, "So what do we do now?"
"I don't know," she answers softly. "I just I've never really considered anything like this happening before tonight. I think I would like to see where it leads, though."
A shy, hopeful smile lifts your lips and, once again, you don't even bother to try and fight it. "You do?"
She nods. "I do love you, you know. And I don't want to do anything that would hurt you. I can't promise you that this is going to work out or anything, but I would very much like to see what we could have together. If you are," she adds quietly, leaving it up to you to decide.
Like you even have a choice. "Okay," you breathe, your eyes dancing over her face as you try and wrap your head around the fact that you are really going to do this. It's terrifying and exciting and you giggle softly under your breath as you lean in and capture her lips in a slow, sweet kiss.
"Okay," she murmurs when you pull away.
You lean your forehead against hers and nod. "Okay."
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