DISCLAIMER: All My Children and its characters are the property of ABC. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Greenlee made that comment to Carlos about there being "nothing more beautiful than Erica Kane in full throttle" and, well, my mind went to an evil, evil place. Suffice to say, this ain't no romance and it ain't altogether pretty. So, class this as 'not everyone's cup of tea.' But Lena shows up near the end--she's probably the best thing about this piece.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Perversity and Other Embarrassments
By Susan P
Oh God, how did I let this happen? I'm standing here wrapped in unfamiliar sheets, staring at my reflection in the window. It was my face staring back at me from the glass: no horns growing out of my head, no other marks of an evil twin--or would it be a good twin, in my case? There was nothing there I could use to deny it was me who did...what I did. And, yeah, I'd been at least half-drunk when the whole thing started, but that's hardly an excuse for...this.
Erica-fucking-Kane. Fucking Erica Kane. Oh, God. I had to take several deep breaths to fight back the nausea I felt just thinking about what a living hell my life would become if anyone ever found out about this.
Then again, that was something we both had in common. So, I had no reason to worry that she would go flouncing around town spreading the news. Still, it was bad enough that she knew. Hell, it was bad enough I knew. It would always be there now, hanging between us whenever we got within fifty feet of each other. And the replays in my head would be enough to keep me awake nights for...years, probably. I wondered if there was any chance of being struck by a very specific case of amnesia--just enough to make me forget the last few hours would do nicely.
I still don't quite know how it all happened. Sure, I remember all of it--in uncomfortable detail. But the how of it still eluded me.
After Carlos gave up on me and left Fusion's offices for the night, I was about to lock up and leave myself when I spotted the bouquet Lena had brought for me. Carlos had apparently taken the time to put them in a vase and put it on one of the desks where it could be easily seen.
It was the damn flowers that led me to the Valley Inn- -to thank Lena, I guess. Not that I ever did. I didn't know what to say to her, and, after the funeral, and the fight with Erica, and the fight with Carlos, I really just didn't have the energy to try to be nice to anyone. So, I stopped at the hotel bar and had a few too many--not really wanting company, but needing the illusion of it that being in a public place could give me.
I had seen her there with Bianca. Dunno what persuaded Binks to meet with her mother, but I decided to hang around and see if there'd be a floorshow. Whaddaya know? There was! I wished I was close enough to hear the specifics, but I recognized Kirstie and knew enough about her to guess at what Erica was trying to pull. Binks was pretty quick to figure it out, and I got the pleasure of watching Erica be dismissed and have to slink off before the alcohol caught up with me and I had to stumble off toward the restroom.
And damned if I didn't run into the drama queen herself when I came out. Actually, it was the reverse- -she damn near knocked me over. I don't know where she'd gone after leaving Binks and that airhead Kirstie--maybe she'd tried to find Lena to give her what for--but she was pissed. We did our usual dance: she attacked, which pissed me off and then I countered with something equally nasty. Then I made the mistake of trying to be reasonable and point out that all her interference was just going to drive Bianca away. I've gotta remember to try the reasonable stuff first, I guess, because that just pissed her off all the more and she advanced on me like some kind of crazed weasel--all flailing arms and 'how dare yous.' The alcohol had made me a little uncoordinated and I stumbled back against the wall while trying to avoid her, but that didn't stop her. She didn't stop until she was, well, too damned close. And I don't really know what changed or how or why, but something did. Neither of us spoke, neither of us made a move toward or away from each other until... The next thing I knew, I was checking into a room I didn't need to do something I wasn't sure I wanted to do with someone I normally couldn't stand to be around, who, surprisingly enough, was still right behind me when I unlocked the door to the room.
And then she was... And then I was... And the next thing I know I was semi-naked and lying back on the bed with her over me, inside me. I'd told Carlos that there was nothing more beautiful than Erica Kane in full throttle-- little did I know how those words would come back to haunt me. It wasn't... That first time wasn't nice; it was rough and desperate. We didn't speak; we barely looked at each other. It was... She was pushing me down, biting, clawing--she'd never make it as a dyke with those nails, lemme tell ya. Mine would probably be considered too long, too, but they were somewhere this side of talons, at least. Maybe I should ask Binks about the nail thing sometime, just to mess with her head.
That first time, it wasn't about me. I doubt I was even in the room, as far as she was concerned. She was...I don't know, working out some issues, I guess. None of which kept my body from responding in ways I'd forgotten it could. Afterward, she rolled away from me and curled in on herself. Embarrassed or ashamed, I guess. I could identify with that. If I'd had any sense, I would have left then, or kicked her out, since I was paying for the damn room.
But there was something about her that screamed neediness, and for some reason, I chose to try to comfort her instead of attacking like I normally would. I moved up behind her, told her it was okay, rubbed her arm. She responded to my touch, barely. Didn't tell me to go to hell, anyway. I wound up...well, I won't even try to call it 'making love,' but it was a lot nicer than what she'd done to me.
She seemed surprised by...all of it: the way I touched her, her own responses. When her orgasm hit, her hips shot off the bed and I had to use both hands to steady her as I rode it out with her.
I was the one who turned away this time, expecting her to get up and leave as soon as she could compose herself. It wouldn't do for Erica Kane to be seen leaving a hotel with that just-fucked look, after all.
She surprised me, though it was hardly the first time that had happened tonight. She pulled me back, and then I was beneath her again, but this time... I never would have suspected her capable of such tenderness. Whether she was making amends for how she'd used me at first or giving thanks for how I'd been with her, I wasn't sure, but I certainly wasn't going to complain about what her hands and mouth were doing to me.
Afterward, we just kind of collapsed against each other, still without speaking. I'm not sure who dozed off first, but I don't think I'd been asleep long when I woke. We'd separated in our sleep, so I could slip away without disturbing her. I snagged the top sheet that had been tossed aside earlier and wrapped myself in it on my way to the bathroom. I took a quick shower to wash off the worst of the sweat, not bothering to be quiet now in hopes that she might slip out while I was in there.
She didn't. I did a slight double take when I came out of the bathroom and realized she was still on the bed. I couldn't tell whether she was awake or not because I didn't want to stare at her too long. So, I went to the window where I've been ever since, trying to give her the chance to slip out unnoticed.
But dear God, if she doesn't at least try to be quiet while she's trying to get dressed, I'm gonna have to turn around and call her on it. I've been standing here forever, trying not to notice, so we can both try to preserve what little dignity we have left.
Well, damn, she surprised me again. Apparently stealth hadn't been her aim, after all. I turned to face her. "I know. As far as anyone else is concerned, this never happened." I was fairly certain that, by morning, she would have managed to convince herself it had never happened, and I found myself envying her capacity for denial.
She had the decency to look embarrassed, but just nodded in agreement.
"I understand," I told her. "It's not like this would do much for my reputation, either."
She tried to smile at that but couldn't quite manage it. It was kind of comforting to know that she was just as uncomfortable and as clueless about how to act around me as I was about her.
"Are you..." she began nervously, "are you all right? I didn't...?"
Oh lord, she must have been feeling guilty about how she'd treated me earlier if she was trying to be nice to me.
"It's okay, Erica. You didn't push me into anything. I could have and would have stopped you if I'd really... Well, you didn't force things." I couldn't exactly say I'd wanted what had happened, but I had to admit that, for whatever reasons, I'd stayed. I could have stopped her at any time. Hell, I could've walked away from her before anything happened. It wasn't a comfortable admission for me, but if she had the decency to be concerned about me, then the least I could do was tell her the truth.
I wanted to ask her if it had worked, if she'd managed to work out whatever she had to work out and if she'd be able to let Jackson touch her again. I wanted to tell her to finally stop pushing him away--to take a chance for once that things might work out. But I felt sure she wouldn't take any advice from me, and trying to offer her some would either extend this awkward conversation or cause another raging snark-fest. Neither option appealed to me, so I fell back on the familiar.
"Yeah, well, don't think any of this means I'm gonna back down from you. On anything."
It worked. She relaxed noticeably. Then she waggled a finger at me, like I knew she would, and offered her 'me, too.'
"And don't you think I'll back down from you. I'll fight you, and Fusion, whenever and however I see fit."
"I wouldn't have it any other way."
We'd pretty much run out of things to say then, so she just flipped her hair and tried to march out without looking like she was sneaking. I almost laughed when she stopped to peek out the door and make sure the hallway was clear before she walked out.
I wondered if I should tell her that Lena Kundera had seen us just before we got to the room. Nah. Why ruin the surprise?
I eyed the bed. It was getting late; it had been a long, strange day and I was tired. Not tired enough to try sleeping in that bed, though. I ditched the sheet and dressed quickly, then made a quick call to the front desk to confirm something before leaving.
The door was at the other end of the hallway, near the stairwell Lena had stepped out of when she'd spotted the two of us earlier. I'd dropped the room key before I could unlock the door and I made the mistake of trying to bend over to pick it up in my inebriated state and almost fell over. Erica had reached down to steady me and when I looked up, I noticed Lena exiting the stairs. The shocked look on her face quickly settled into a smirk and she propped herself against the doorjamb, crossed her arms and settled in to watch the show. It was clear that she assumed...exactly the right thing, it turned out. I didn't know whether or not to pray for her to speak up or for Erica to spot her. A confrontation between those two definitely would have stopped the unnatural progression of things. If I'd had any sense, I'd have set those two at one another and slipped away clean. I still don't know why I didn't. Instead, I had concentrated on getting the door open and getting into the room. Lena had ultimately chosen to stay out of it and leave us to our debaucheries.
I took a deep breath to steady myself before knocking on the door. I willed myself to stand there and wait long enough to be sure whether Lena was in or not. Much as I wanted to bolt and forget this night had ever happened, I figured it'd be best to do the confrontation thing and get it over with.
It wasn't long before Lena came to the door, but I was already itching to go so badly that I almost bolted anyway. Instead, I went on the offensive right away, not wanting to concede any advantage to her.
"Look, you owe me one, I think. So, hold this over Erica's head all you want, but try to keep my name out of it, okay?"
She just nodded agreeably, but said nothing, leaving the conversational ball in my court.
"And, if you can't keep my name out of it, then promise me you'll air all the dirty laundry in the biggest, most public way possible. At least then I can have the pleasure of watching Erica squirm, too."
There was that smirk again. "I should think you'd have seen quite enough of that tonight."
I winced, not only because I'd walked right into that one, but also because my mind had gone to the same place, unfortunately.
I put my hand up to keep her quiet a minute. "Look, you saw what you saw and we did...what you think we did. But let's not evoke any of the scary visuals, okay?"
She looked at me in confusion a moment, then seemed to get that the thing with Erica hadn't exactly been a 'love connection.' Then there was pity in her eyes, which would have pissed me off more if I couldn't tell from her expression that she was remembering some of her own unsavory sexual history. I remembered our little 'body as bargaining chip' discussion.
"It wasn't like that." I don't know why I felt compelled to defend what Erica and I did, but I tried to explain it anyway. "It was... Well, I don't really know what it was, but it wasn't... It wasn't all bad, I guess."
"Which of us are you trying to convince?" she sounded skeptical.
I hesitated a moment, but then just shrugged it off. "It doesn't really matter, because it'll never happen again."
"You and Erica together, or either of you with another woman?"
What was this? Twenty uncomfortable questions? "Definitely 'no' to the first. I don't know if I can be as sure about the latter." I don't know why I decided to go all true confessions, but I didn't see any point in denying how my body had responded. If it had been with someone I could give a damn about... Well, I wasn't quite ready to go there. As for Erica, she'd been pretty enthusiastic herself, but I suspected she had a much higher capacity for denial than I did, so I doubted she'd ever let something like that happen again.
I was lost in thought, so I almost jumped out of my skin when I finally noticed Lena's hand reaching out to my shoulder. I panicked for just a second when she pushed my shirt aside, at least until her fingers brushed lightly at the scratch marks over my collarbone and I realized her intent.
"Did she hurt you?"
I winced, and not just because they still hurt a little. "Um, not really."
Lena heard the hesitation in my voice and looked at me skeptically, so I knew I couldn't get out of explaining as easily as I'd hoped.
"It wasn't that bad, really. It's just that, at first, she was a little...pushy. Heh," I shrugged, "imagine that?" She just nodded at my little joke, not amused by any of it any more. "But it wasn't really about me. She was just--"
Well, yeah. I just shrugged in response.
"Taking back her own power?"
I'd managed to figure out as much on my own, but the look in Lena's eyes told me she was speaking from uncomfortable experience. That there were things that had been done to her, and things she'd done to others in order to cope. I saw the weight of all those shameful things in her eyes.
"Why do I get the feeling that, whenever I get depressed about my life, I only have to talk to you-- listen to some story from your past--to make me feel infinitely more lucky?"
She just shrugged as if to say 'we all have a past.' "You could, you know?"
I blinked and tilted my head, trying to understand the seeming non sequitur.
"Talk with me, if you ever wanted to. About anything." She sighed and fell against the doorframe, her eyes falling to the floor. "You have done me a kindness, for whatever reasons, and I suspect I could use all the friends I can get, now."
"Oh, don't think this little aberration tonight means I'm swingin' over to your side of the fence." I regretted the sarcasm almost immediately. When she picked up her head to look at me, it was clear that it hadn't been an attempt at seduction, but there was a loneliness in her eyes--one that cried out for simple companionship as a poor substitute for what she thought she couldn't have.
"You saw Binks downstairs with Kirstie, didn't you?"
"Is that her name?" Lena asked, dejectedly.
"Lena, don't give up on Bianca just yet. She's hurting, and she needs time to get past that. She may feel the need to try to hurt you a little bit in the process, but part of her already wants to forgive you. She still cares, I can tell. She may just need you to prove yourself to her all over again."
"Do you--do you really think I still have a chance?"
God, she sounded so young and vulnerable. She must be in love. "Yeah. I do. In the meantime, I wouldn't worry too much about Kirstie, if I were you. That girl is shallow as a raindrop."
Lena scrunched up her face trying to work around the slang. I took pity on her and tried to explain. "Binks may not have the best taste in women, but most of her choices have had more substance than this girl, from what I can tell."
Lena brightened up for a moment, until something occurred to her and her face fell again. "Maybe simple and uncomplicated is what she needs right now?"
"Uh-uh. None of that negative thinking, now. You love her; she loves you. You just have to hang in there until one or both of you finally figures out how to get together again."
Lena smiled back at me, shyly. "Thank you, Greenlee. For everything."
"Yeah, well. It's probably more than you deserve. Especially since it's kind of your fault this whole thing with Erica happened tonight."
"Excuse me?" She was incredulous, probably rightly so, but that didn't mean I couldn't still mess with her head a little.
"The only reason I came here tonight was to...thankyoufortheflowers."
"Oh, I see." She crossed her arms over her chest, seeming to enjoy this game. "So, because I returned your kindness, it is somehow my fault that you slept with Erica?"
"Whoawhoawhoa, not so loud. In fact, let's try never to say that out loud again, okay?"
She smiled at my discomfort, which probably should have pissed me off, but I kinda liked that she was smiling. It suited her much more than the hangdog look she'd been wearing lately. Not that I would bother telling her that.
"Besides, I've gotta blame someone. Might as well be you."
"Ah, well...if it makes you feel better..."
"It does, thank you," I smirked back at her.
We just stood there looking at each other a moment before she turned serious again. She gestured vaguely at my shoulder.
"You should take care of those...and the others? As soon as possible. I have a first-aid kit, if you'd like to come in?"
I waved her off. "Thanks for the offer, but I was gonna head home, anyway. I've got all the stuff I need there."
"Are you sure you can reach them all?" She smirked at me in such a way that I understood Binks' attraction to her in a way I hadn't before. The woman could be damned charming, even when she was being kind of annoying. I actually wasn't quite sure about one set of Erica's claw marks, but the thought of being even semi-naked in the presence of a second woman tonight left me more than a little uncomfortable. So, I'd have to manage it on my own.
"Um, yeah. I can take care of it. Thanks anyway. And as for that other offer, I might just take you up on it."
She looked mystified for a moment, so I filled in the blanks. "The friendship thing. I don't know why, but I think I could learn to like you...eventually."
"Thank you. I think."
"Well, I should probably get going."
"Are you okay to drive?"
Her capacity to be concerned about me surprised me a little. Job or no job, I'd been such a bitch to her, in general. "Uhm, yeah. Trust me, I sobered up quite a while ago."
"If you're sure?"
"Yeah. I'll be fine. Thanks, though. And the flowers were lovely. Thank you."
"You're welcome. And thank you, for everything."
I just shrugged, embarrassed. "Good night, Lena."
I headed for the elevator, even though the stairs were closer. I felt Lena's eyes on my back as I walked. It was comforting, in a way, but I didn't turn to acknowledge her. I did kind of check her out in my peripheral vision as I was waiting for the elevator; she was still there, watching, and only retreated into her room after the elevator doors opened and I was about to step into it. I headed home, eager to put an end to this awful day and just as eager to avoid thinking about what might happen next, especially where Erica was concerned.
Still, I didn't feel as awful about everything as I probably should have. I guess I had Lena to thank for that. Huh. I had the sudden urge to tell Leo that Bianca had done okay for herself. And maybe I had, too. There was something decent in the woman. Whether it had always been there, or whether Bianca had brought out the best in her, who could say? Still, I could do worse in the friend department. Maybe I'd take her up on her offer, after all.
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