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The Sum of Contradictions: 34 Generalization
By beurre blanc
"Hey, Alex." Serena stood to greet Alex, motioning towards the table she had reserved.
"Hi, Serena. How was your weekend?"
"Fantastic. I had such a good time! I um It was so good!"
"Uh huh " Alex smiled, and nodded sagely. "From the look on your face, I think you've got something to tell me."
A blush rose quickly to Serena's cheeks.
"Well?" prompted Alex. "Oh, come on spit it out. You've got that 'I just got laid and it was incredible' look all over your face. Tell me."
"It's that obvious, isn't it?"
"Oh, yes." Alex nodded and paused, waiting. "Well tell me! Who is he, and what exactly did he do to put that smile on your face? No wait perhaps you should stick to generalizations "
Serena smiled in agreement. "You know, come to think of it, generalizations would probably be best."
"So, generalize away."
Serena looked at her hands, and Alex could detect a hint of apprehension. "Alex um-,"
"Wait, it's not It's not Jack, is it?"
"What- wait! No!" Serena burst out laughing. "Alex, I can't believe you'd even think that, let alone say it! Oh, God No no!"
As the giggles subsided, Alex again sensed uncertainty from Serena.
"Well, are you going to tell me?"
"Alex, I - um We've known each other for a few years now, right?"
"Alex, I guess it's Oh hell, you'd think this would get easier It's not a him, it's a her she's a her. I'm gay, Alex. And I think I'm in love."
Alex felt her own features freeze in what she was sure must look a parody of her usual smile as a flood of emotions cascaded around her. Relax, Alex, relax. She held on tight to the façade, terrified it would slip and she'd betray her own uncertainty, and be railroaded into an admission she was entirely unprepared to make. The one thing she held on to, above all others, was that Serena was unlikely to see past the false front Alex was practiced enough to know her own turmoil would not be seen would not be perceived or sensed by anyone. Except my Mom and Olivia.
Serena looked at her, examining Alex's features for the minutest of signs she hadn't just committed an irretrievable error of judgment. Finally, misinterpreting her companion's continued silence as ill-disguised disgust, Serena stood hurriedly, her eyes brimming and expression brittle.
"I'm Excuse me," she rasped, gathering her briefcase in trembling hands. "I'll just "
Alex acted on impulse, first reaching reflexively for Serena's forearm and staying her departure, then standing to obstruct her egress. She tilted Serena's chin, lifting the downcast gaze until Serena was forced to look at her, forced to acknowledge the stunning smile which now graced Alex's features. A smile that was both open and genuine. "Congratulations, Serena." And she gathered her into a strong and heartfelt embrace.
"What? No! The one she's been working with? No way!"
"Oh yeah, she is. Coffee, Kim?"
"Yeah, thanks. So, you sure?"
"Mm hmm. Saw 'em together And I mean, 'to-geth-er'."
"Oh this is so great. I can't wait to tell Colin. He's gonna freak!"
"Hi, Jen, Bec. Tea, coffee, juice?"
"Juice, thanks. Hi Kimmie."
"I don't get it, though. I mean she's gorgeous blonde hair, and those eyes-,"
"That my boss you're talking about?"
"Yeah. God, I'd kill for those eyes."
"Me too. Or the body. Coffee or tea?"
"Let's face it - half the guys in this office wanna get in her pants even the married ones. She could have any guy she wants, and she's going out with a woman?"
"Wait did you say a woman? Eewww. How do you know?"
"Yeah. How? I mean, just 'cause she can stand up for herself that somehow makes her gay?"
"No, it's 'cause Nicole saw them."
"No! No way! Really, did you?"
"Uh huh. In Central Park, like kissing and everything."
"You mean like tongues and stuff?"
"Oh yeah. It was like well, I just keep imagining what went on, you know, after."
"After they got home, silly."
"Oh, that's so gross."
"Come on, Bec, it's not that bad."
"Oh what, am I just supposed to say 'Not that there's anything wrong with that'?"
"Whatever, Bec. So Nic, who's this 'other woman'? What's she like?"
"Fairly tall, dark hair, sort of exotic looking."
"God, the guys are gonna be so cut up about this."
"Oh no they're not. This is a guy's number one fantasy!"
"Oh yeah, they are gonna be falling over themselves to volunteer!"
"Volunteer? Volunteer for what?"
"Oh duh! For threesome duty, of course "
"Geez, Kim, that's an image I so don't need!"
Alex, standing just beyond the threshold, belatedly became aware of the semilunar impressions of her nails in both palms. Her jaw tightened as she finally overcame her immobility by force of will, mind racing. She entered the break room, and nodded to the assembled women in silent greeting.
"Hey, Alex. Hi! Oh, you'll never guess who Nic saw Serena with in the park last weekend "
Olivia groaned and set down the novel she had been attempting to read before retiring to bed. It was a discipline her mother had instilled: reading a well-written book before bed, even if only a page or two, helped to focus her mind, allowing her to switch off and sleep. At best a restless sleeper, and increasingly plagued by nightmares and nightmarish recollections of her work, Olivia now clung to this ritual to ward off the ever-present specter of insomnia. And it served as a gentle nightly reminder of her mother's better qualities
She picked up an empty envelope from the counter and placed it between pages, before setting the book down once more, sighing, and stalking off in the direction of the intercom.
"Liv, it's me. Can I come up?"
"Alex? I thought you were Sure. Come up." She pressed the button, holding it longer than necessary in perplexity.
She opened the door to the blonde and ushered her inside the apartment, closing and latching it behind. Alex set down her briefcase, and turned back, pausing only momentarily before gathering Olivia into an embrace which pushed her backwards, the collision with the back of the door tempered only by Alex's outstretched palm. Alex's kisses were hungry, forceful, and less gentle than any Olivia could recall. She drew Olivia's lower lip into her mouth, gathering with suction and holding with teeth, her tongue's exploration uncompromising. Olivia, unprepared for the onslaught, nonetheless reveled in this new side to her lover, reacting as much to the hungry moans against her lips and throat as to the feel of Alex's hands pulling open her shirt and shoving aside her bra in her quest to feel the firm flesh beneath.
"I love you, Liv, I love you " The whispered words were the first Alex had spoken, and as their half-naked forms tumbled onto the bed they became a mantra, an insistent chant of affirmation and assurance, giving rhythm to her fingers and hips, and urging Olivia towards a climax both swift and intense.
Much later, as she cradled Alex's sleeping form, running blunt nails gently across her scalp, Olivia gave in to the nagging unease which stirred at the edges of her awareness. She looked down at Alex's eyes, her lashes still damp, and realized that although post-orgasmic tears were nothing new for Alex, there had been a desperation accompanying them which left Olivia unsettled and unsure, and the impetus to analyze Alex's behavior awoke in her the uncomfortable realization that for the first time she was looking upon Alex with a hint of self-protective professional detachment, in recognition that, like most things in her life, this would be too good to last.
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