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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Your Place or Mine?
Eleanor lay absolutely spent, sweating and aching, but as she gazed down at the tiny form at her breast, her newborn daughter Zoe, she was euphoric. She glanced up at her friend, sometime-nemesis, and flat-mate. Helen was smiling, her eyes glowing. "She's beautiful Eleanor." and she reached out a tentative hand to brush the still- damp hair of the baby suckling at Eleanor's breast.
She was unaccountably moved by the sight before her - the child that she had helped bring into the world and the gentle Madonna holding it close. She smiled at the idea of the prickly defence attorney as the Virgin Mary, but as she gazed down she couldn't shake the thought. Helen watched until Eleanor fell asleep, Zoe still cradled in her arms.
"Helen, stop fussing! I'm not an invalid."
"I know, I know. But the doctor said you had to take it easy for a couple of days. So sit down and let me take care of you for a while." Eleanor acquiesced, guiltily enjoying the attention. She sat on the couch and let Helen get her a drink.
When Helen had convinced herself that Eleanor was settled, she sat next to her and flipped the television on. They both started to relax. Eleanor leaned her head back and smiled. She was glad to be home and, protests aside, she loved the way Helen was taking care of her - the other woman's tenderness warmed her. These pleasant thoughts, the warmth of the room and the soft buzz of the television started to make her drowsy. She closed her eyes and her head drooped back against the couch. She started as she realised she was leaning over towards Helen.
Unsure what she was doing, she found herself leaning further over, and before she could think too much about it, she slowly and deliberately laid her head on Helen's shoulder.
"So, what gives, Helen?" Lindsey asked, needling her best friend.
"Don't give me that. You've been wandering around with that tiny smile on your face for days. I know you - you're in love, aren't you?"
"No." At Lindsey's pointed look she added "Well...maybe. I don't know." She grimaced a little, shaking her head in embarrassment.
"Who is it? Do I know him?"
"Uh...kinda." Helen was getting more and more uncomfortable. "Look, even if I was sure of my own feelings, I know I haven't got a chance, so I don't want to talk about it."
Lindsey, seeing the sadness in her friend's eyes, decided it was time to drop it. "So how are Eleanor and her new baby? Zoe's so gorgeous, isn't she? And Eleanor looks absolutely radiant. I think motherhood is agreeing with her."
Bubbling happily, Lindsey did not notice that the look of sadness hadn't left Helen's eyes.
Eleanor had just put Zoe to bed and was wandering round the house; it seemed so empty. She missed the office, and was looking forward to going back to work in a few days. She missed the few days before Zoe was born when Helen had stayed home from work to make sure she was all right. To tell the truth, she missed Helen. They fought constantly, but Eleanor had been strangely touched when Helen had rushed her to the hospital, fussing like it was her own first born, and had held her hand in the delivery room.
Suddenly bothered by her train of thought, she told herself that she was just bored, and she would feel better once she got back to work. She started counting down the hours.
"Eleanor, this one's yours. Thought we'd give you something interesting for your first case back. Busty LaDouche. She's accused of breaking into a sex shop and stealing 11 vibrators, 16 pairs of crotchless panties, and an oversized inflatable sheep." Bobby Donnell, the senior partner, said as they sat round the conference room table. He didn't even try to hide his smirk.
"You're a bastard, Bobby." Eleanor retorted half-heartedly. She was just glad to be back at work.
"Helen Gamble's the DA on this one." Eleanor ignored the faint tingle she got in her stomach and reached her hand out for the case file.
"Well, yeah, of course I stole the stuff. I'm using it for this video I'm making. Hey! You wanna be in it? Guys dig fat chicks." The woman prattled on, completely oblivious to Eleanor's antarctic glare.
"So you intend to plead guilty?" Eleanor prayed that she would so she could get the woman out of her hair.
No such luck: "No way. You're a lawyer - do your lawyer stuff."
"Look, Ms LaDouche. The security tape identifies you quite clearly. The articles were found in your possession. You were wearing one of the stolen garments when you were arrested. I strongly suggest that you plead guilty and aim for a reduced sentence."
The woman looked stubborn. Eleanor groaned internally.
Helen walked into the practice just as Busty LaDouche was leaving. She found Eleanor beating her head slowly against her desk.
"So Eleanor. Did you find out what she did with the sheep?"
"Do not start with me. She told me exactly what she did with the sheep. In graphic detail. I'm never eating lamb again. In fact I don't think I'll ever be able to eat *anything* again. I don't want to talk about it any more." She paused in her recitation and looked up. "So, what brings you over here? Anything I can help you with?"
"Well actually..." Helen started "I came to ask if you want to have lunch with me."
"No, I'm sorry, I've got too much work." Helen's tone caught up with Eleanor - she sounded nervous, almost like a teenager asking someone for a first date... "Damn it, work can wait. I would love to go to lunch with you."
"Great. There's an excellent little Italian place just down the road. How does that sound?" Helen suggested, her stomach lurching a little.
"It sounds perfect. I'll just go get my coat."
Helen watched the sway of Eleanor's hips, and she mentally kicked herself. The pain of having to watch Eleanor every night at home was bad enough, and she didn't know why she wanted to extend this pain into her lunch-hours as well. She condemned herself for a masochist, as she had picked the most romantic restaurant she knew.
Eleanor turned to see sadness on Helen's face. "Are you all right, Helen?"
The other woman jumped slightly, and her face cleared. "Yeah, sorry. I was just a little preoccupied." she said with a small laugh. "Let's go."
The two women were silent as they left the building. When they reached the restaurant, Helen couldn't help herself, opening the door and standing aside for Eleanor, ignoring the odd look she got. She stopped short of pulling Eleanor's chair out, simply sitting opposite.
"So how has your first day back been?"
"Don't ask. I'm going to kill Bobby. I can't believe he saddled me with `Little Bow Peep' and her inflatable sheep! What did you do to get stuck with it?"
"I don't know. At least it's an... interesting...crime." Helen mused.
"Yeah, but you don't have to deal with her. She asked me if I wanted to be in a porn movie she's making. Can you imagine it?"
Helen choked on her drink.
"Are you all right?" Eleanor asked as the other woman recovered from her coughing fit.
"Yeah. Yeah, I'm fine. Thankyou." Helen replied, gasping, and then Eleanor heard her mutter something under her breath. It sounded like "Smooth, Helen, really smooth." and Eleanor sat back, stunned. Her eyes went wide as she thought about the implications, and she shook her head slowly, trying to shake the thought out of her mind. Helen, still mopping the water from the table, didn't notice.
"I am so sorry. Oh my God, I've gotten water all over you. Look, this probably wasn't a good idea. Do you want to cancel, and go and get a dry shirt?" Helen looked miserable.
"It's all right, Helen. It's just a bit of water. I'll dry." Eleanor picked up a napkin, and slowly wiped the water from her shirt. She concentrated on her breasts, watching Helen closely. The other woman's gaze followed her hand, almost mesmerised, until Helen turned her face away, pink slightly tingeing her features.
Eleanor looked across, surprised. She was right. She was more surprised at the flutter in her own stomach at the thought. Helen looked so gorgeous when she was embarrassed, and Eleanor found it hard to look away.
"Let's order. It's all right, Helen. Honestly." Eleanor smiled across the table.
They ordered their meals and then fell silent, Eleanor trying to decide what to do next, Helen still mortified and unable to get out of her head the thoughts that Eleanor's remark had conjured up.
"So, uh..." Helen started. "Apart from your budding new career as a porn star, how did your day go?" She managed to get that out without her voice faltering, but the faint blush returned.
"Oh, it was quite boring. The chance to be a `sex kitten from Venus' was definitely the highlight." Eleanor said, for some reason desperately wanting to see Helen blush again. She was rewarded when she added: "I'm not quite sure what that means, but I believe it involves skin-tight leather."
By this time Helen's thoughts were becoming almost incoherent as more images planted themselves in her brain. She searched desperately for something intelligent to say before she spontaneously combusted. She was saved when their food arrived, and she could lower her eyes to her plate and ignore the intent gaze focussed on her.
They ate in silence, punctuated by noises of appreciation for the excellent food.
Helen paused in her eating. "Mm, this really is delicious." she said, laying her fork down.
Eleanor looked up from her own meal into gorgeous brown eyes, and made her decision.
She reached out with her napkin and brushed it lightly against the corner of Helen's mouth.
Helen's lips parted and her eyes widened, but she managed to sound almost casual when she said: "Oh, did I spill something?"
The warm voice got her attention and she stared at her, startled. "What...?"
Eleanor held her gaze and then slowly dragged her index finger across Helen's lips.
"Eleanor..." Helen gasped, staring across at her, and then, at the look on Eleanor's face and the gentle touch at her lower lip, she opened her mouth and sucked Eleanor's finger.
"Oh God..." Eleanor moaned softly, then, regretfully removing her finger from Helen's gentle nibbling, she reached over and grabbed Helen's hand. "I don't think I'm hungry any more."
She pulled Helen up, quickly tossed some notes on the table, and then walked out of the restaurant.
When they reached the street, Helen tried to pull away, but Eleanor held on, gently stroking Helen's hand with her thumb.
"What are you doing Eleanor?"
"What do you think I'm doing?" Eleanor challenged, her voice husky.
"I..." Helen started, then slowly reached her free hand to stroke Eleanor's cheek. She leaned in quickly and kissed her, the tiniest brush of lips, and then pulled shyly away. She looked up tentatively into Eleanor's face, to be met with a wide grin.
Bold now, Helen moved in again, her movements more sure. This time the kiss was deep, and as Helen put her arms around her and pulled her close, Eleanor groaned.
"Oh my." Helen breathed, pulling away gasping. "Your place or mine?" Eleanor grinned, and they moved out into the street and hailed a taxi. As they slipped into the back seat, Helen groaned out the address, before her mouth was captured again.
The cab-driver sat motionless, turned around in his seat and ogling openly.
"Get moving." Eleanor's voice was harsh.
The car pulled away and Helen moved her hand to Eleanor's side, just slipping under the jacket, and pulled her lips away from the kiss to lick gently at Eleanor's neck.
"Oh..." Eleanor reached up to pull Helen closer, grinding her body against the sensual form of the other woman.
Helen ran her hand up Eleanor's ribs and cupped her breast gently through her shirt. She had wanted to do that for so long, and she almost sobbed at the sensation.
Eleanor, her breasts highly sensitive from breast-feeding, was almost overwhelmed by the feeling, and as Helen pressed harder she murmured "Careful love, they're a bit tender."
Helen sorrowfully pulled her hand away, but Eleanor stopped her, placing Helen's hand back on her breast and covering it with her own. "Don't stop."
Eleanor leaned back as Helen continued her exploration, lips now pushing away the folds of her shirt and planting soft wet kisses on the skin beneath.
Helen's whole body was aching with the need to feel more of the beautiful woman in her arms, to see the luscious body she held so tight. Her fumbling hands went to the buttons on Eleanor's shirt and began opening it, slowly, implicitly asking for permission.
"Oh yes Helen." came the explicit response, and Helen complied, hands more frantic now as she bared Eleanor's stomach and dropped her head to kiss the rise of those heavy breasts, and nuzzled her lips gently in her cleavage, tongue lapping tenderly at the soft skin.
Eleanor was suddenly startled by the honk of several car horns, and looked up from the mesmerising sight of the stunning dark head to see the taxi driver motionless at a green light, eyes riveted to the mirror.
"Drive." She managed to inject such venom into one word that the driver turned his eyes to the road and made the rest of the trip in record time, sneaking only the occasional glance at the two women growing ever more heated in the back seat.
When they reached the apartment building they scrambled out of the car and tossed some money to the driver. Quickly discovering that they could not kiss and walk at the same time, they broke off contact, gasping. The two women hurried into the building, not quite touching, Eleanor's shirt still flapping open.
When the reached the elevator, Eleanor became the aggressor, pushing Helen against the wall and bringing both hands up beneath her shirt to circle the narrow waist.
Just then a loud cough broke their embrace as one of their neighbours entered the still-stationary lift. They pulled apart, cheeks flaming, and Eleanor silently buttoned the middle buttons of her shirt. Helen ached to see the smooth skin disappear, but as Eleanor turned slightly, the still open bottom buttons parted, and Helen felt a jolt of heat at the brief flash of cream.
After a painfully silent ride up, accompanied by icy glares from their neighbour, the finally reached their floor and dashed gratefully into their apartment. They both collapsed into uncontrollable giggles, still blushing wildly.
As they sombred Helen gazed across at Eleanor. "You are so beautiful" she breathed, almost reverently. The other woman suddenly looked uncomfortable, and Helen's heart clenched.
She knew the larger woman didn't like her own body, and felt uncomfortable naked, and Helen grew suddenly furious at everyone who had made this lovely woman hurt that way.
Eleanor looked at Helen, self-conscious. "Why did you say that?"
Helen's chest grew tight at the look of hurt confusion on Eleanor's face. "Because it's true. You're so lovely I ache to touch you. You're so strong and so tough, and yet sometimes you soften and you are so gentle." Helen continued, desperately trying to erase Eleanor's disbelief, not caring how much of herself she was revealing. "You have the most amazing body: all I want to do is run my hands all over it and kiss every inch of your soft skin. Sometimes it's all I can think about."
Helen had moved to kneel at Eleanor's feet, almost in supplication. She looked up to find the uncertainty still there. She dropped her head in defeat, unable to prevent tears from limning her eyes.
"Please let me love you." It was sorrowful, and so quiet Eleanor could barely hear it, but for that moment it washed all doubt away and she reached down and cupped Helen's face, and brought it up for a kiss.
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