The Road Back Home

Part 10

by Lynne Norris

May 2001


Chapter Ten



The ride over to Regina's house seemed interminably long. With each passing moment, Alex felt like she was returning to the scene of a crime. The light was on over the front door when she pulled into Regina's driveway. With a nervous sigh, she slid out of the Jeep and half-heartedly strode up the walkway.

After pressing the doorbell, Alex jammed her hands into her pants pockets and hunched her shoulders forward. Her stomach chose this moment to viciously cramp and she leaned her body against the doorframe, fighting back the nausea that assailed her.

Moments later, the blonde opened the door and gazed up at the Alex hesitantly. “Hi,” Regina uttered quietly, as she stood just inside the doorway.

The older woman studied the floor at her feet intently, feeling guilty and awkward at the same time. “Can I come in?” Alex peered back up at her lover.

Regina stepped back and waved a hand out in front of her.

The doctor walked through the doorway and stood in the middle of the living room, her hands still buried in her pockets. Warning bells went off in Alex's head as she watched Regina shut the door and walk quietly across the room, staying well out of arms reach. Oh, this isn't good.

The younger woman slumped down on the couch and buried her face in her hands. She finally lifted her head, ran her fingers through her hair and sighed, looking at the brunette through red-rimmed eyes.

The silence between them was deafening and for a long tense moment they stared at each other.

Sensing Regina's need for physical distance, Alex stepped back and reluctantly sat down across from her in the reclining chair. Sadly, the doctor recalled the night she fell asleep on the younger woman's couch and woke to find the blonde sound asleep in this very chair.

They both had been emotionally and physically exhausted after working in vain to save a young boy who was savagely beaten by the mother's live-in boyfriend. Following the first real conversation between them since they met and drinking a couple of beers, Alex drifted off to sleep, lulled by the luxurious feel of Regina's hands massaging a muscle spasm from her back.

She remembered lifting her head after she woke and studying Regina, wondering what it would be like to get to know the young woman better. Even then, she couldn't deny that she was irresistibly drawn to the strong-willed and fiery resident who had walked into her life.

Sandy was right. She did look like she'd lost her best friend today, because that was what it felt like since their argument on Saturday. Please, please give me a chance Regina.

Alex rested her elbows on her knees and rubbed her hands together nervously. She'd never been good at apologies in the past, but the thought of losing the one good thing in her life was enough to make her feel like her heart was breaking. “Regina, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said what I did. You didn't deserve it.”

Regina looked away and breathed out hard, trying to control all the feelings she was struggling with at the moment. “Maybe I did deserve it,” she whispered hoarsely.

“No, you didn't.” The doctor looked at the blonde expecting to see anger reflected back from her eyes and instead saw all the pain and anxiety the young woman harbored deep inside over the past several weeks.

Regina spoke unsteadily her voice betraying her emotions. “We came…so close to losing you that day. Every night I dream, I see it happen all over again…but it's too late and I can't help you.” Her eyes welled with tears again.

The distraught voice ripped through Alex's heart. Two steps brought her in front of the younger woman. “Regina, look at me.” Alex knelt down on the floor in front of her and laid her hands lightly on the blonde's knees. “Look at me. Please?”

Tearful green eyes met hers and Alex reached up and cupped her jaw in her hand. The brunette pressed her lips together and blinked back fresh tears. “Oh God, I'm so sorry I put you through all this,” Alex whispered, her eyes darting back and forth nervously as she studied her lover's face.

“When I saw you get shot -” Regina's hands trembled as she looked down, remembering Alex's crimson blood that oozed over them while she tried to stop the bleeding in those first few frantic minutes. “It was like someone stuck their hand inside my chest…and was ripping my heart out when I watched you fall.” Regina brushed a tear from her cheek. “God there was so much blood. I froze. I…I couldn't remember what to do.”

Alex made a choking noise and closed her eyes. The subtle realization finally began to sink in that they had both been denying the one thing they both desperately needed to heal more than anything: the rift that had grown between them since the day of the shooting.

Regina pulled away from Alex's touch. “Maybe if…I didn't stop you from going after Dana, none of this would have happened.”

“No!” Alex scooted up to sit on the couch beside the younger woman and gently grasped her shoulders. “Regina, listen to me. You are not responsible for anything that happened to me – not Dana, not anything. The only thing you're responsible for is being there to bring me back, because you did, in more ways than you know.”

Regina's shoulders started shaking. Tears rolled down her cheeks and her body sagged in relief against Alex's side. The words were a soothing balm to the guilt that had been festering inside and torturing her subconscious since the day of the shooting.

Stroking a hand over Regina's hair, Alex attempted to re-assure Regina again. “You didn't freeze in there or forget anything. You did exactly what you needed to do when it had to be done. Don't think for one minute, I don't know that.”

Alex sighed, as Regina remained silent, staring vacantly across the room. Boy, what a pair we are. I've been so intent on getting past this and moving on, I didn't even see that she was carrying all this around with her.

“I'm so sorry, Reg.”

“So am I,” the younger woman admitted, burying her face against Alex's jacket. The scent of the well-worn leather mingled with the doctor's perfume soothed Regina's senses. “Alex?”

“What?” She tilted her head and cautiously met Regina's gaze.

“I feel like we just got started and then all this crap happened.” Closing her eyes, she pressed into the doctor's body aware of the softness of her breasts pressing against her.

“I know, baby.” Alex kissed the top of Regina's head and wrapped her arms around the smaller woman. “You're the only thing in my life that makes sense to me right now, Regina. I love you, please don't doubt that.”

Regina shook her head and looked up at her. “I don't Alex, but I need all of you…” She hooked two fingers into one of Alex's belt loops and tugged hard on it, “not just the pieces you think I want or need.”

Alex raised her hands and cupped Regina's face, wiping the tears off the fair-skinned cheek with her thumbs. She mustered a weak smile, then, lowered her gaze and dropped her hands into her lap.

“Alex if you won't talk to me about it, at least talk to someone else about what's going on.”

The older woman leaned back against the couch and turned her head to stare out the window. Shit. “Remember, when I told you my father was an alcoholic?”

“I do.” Regina reached over and rubbed Alex's arm with her hand. She wondered where this was leading and if she was prepared to hear what her normally reticent lover was obviously trying to work through in her mind.

“When things got really bad, my mother told him she wanted him to go for counseling or she was leaving and taking us with her.”

The older woman's voice was strained as she tried to disconnect herself from the bitter the childhood memories. “He just laughed and told her that he didn't need any damn shrink telling him what his problems were. When she insisted, he started yelling that this was the only counselor anyone in his house needed.” Alex raised her arm and balled her hand into a tight fist in front of her face. “He beat her so badly that night, she ended up in the hospital for a week.”

A small noise escaped Regina's throat as the sickening reality of what Alex was telling her sunk in. “He had no right to do that to any of you.”

“I know, but he did. More times than I care to remember,” Alex replied bitterly. “I forgot what it was like to feel so vulnerable until this happened. Ever since I woke up in the Intensive Care Unit, I keep remembering things that happened to me when I was a kid.” She looked over at the smaller woman and pursed her lips. “Things I haven't thought about in years.”

Regina leaned closer and brought Alex's hand up to her lips and kissed the skin over the knuckles. When she looked up at her, she could see tears glistening in the corner of Alex's eyes.

“Alex, you were shot. You know most people who go through an injury like that have an excellent chance of getting Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.”

The doctor closed her eyes and sighed. “I just didn't think…”

“It would happen to you?” Regina finished her sentence when Alex stopped talking.

“Yeah.”

“It makes perfect sense.” Regina watched a multitude of emotions flicker over the taller woman's face. “There's nothing wrong with talking to a psychologist if you need to.”

Alex shifted in her seat and looked pensively at Regina. Her voice was quiet and flat when she finally spoke. “I know. But I'd rather just deal with it myself.”

“God, you are so stubborn!” Regina flopped back against the cushions and squeezed Alex's hand. How much more do I dare push her? Studying the tense profile, the younger woman let out a breath and gently increased the pressure on the hand she was holding.

“Hey, is everything ok in there?” Regina felt her own heart catch as teardrops spilled from Alex's eyes and wet her cheeks. “Come here,” she implored and felt utter relief when the taller woman sank into her arms and allowed herself to be cradled.

Regina ran her hand over the raven hair, whispering quiet words of comfort and reassurance as she rocked Alex in her arms.

The broad shoulders started to shake and for the first time since she was discharged from the hospital, Alex finally let her guard down and allowed herself to cry in front of Regina, mourning all the losses over the past year.

Regina just kept her arms wrapped tightly around her lover, listening to the muffled weeping. She felt a pain deep inside that tore at her own soul; the sting of tears blurred her vision as she absorbed the intense emotions that rolled off the bereaved woman in waves.

With an irritated swipe of her hand, the brunette wiped her eyes and tried to pull away but Regina held her fast. “I…I'm sorry.”

“Shh, don't apologize. You are allowed.” Regina pressed her lips against Alex's head and laid her cheek against the silky tresses. She wondered how her partner managed to keep all the emotions bottled up inside without breaking down before now.

After a while, Alex turned so she was laying on her back in the blonde's lap and looked up at her. A light, wistful smile touched her lips. “Regina, have you ever thought about what you would do if you weren't a doctor?”

Regina cocked her head and frowned thoughtfully. “No, I always knew that I wanted to be a physician.”

Alex sighed in reflection. “I have. I've been afraid since I came back that I'll screw up and make the wrong decision about something.”

Fingers swept the dark bangs off to the side and Regina leaned over, placing a gentle kiss on the woman's forehead. “Alex none of us are perfect. We do the best we can each day.”

“What if my best isn't enough anymore, Regina?”

Her hand strayed over to Alex's waist and pulled her closer against her. “Why are you questioning yourself so much?”

The doctor shook her head and closed her eyes, remembering the admission earlier in the week. “I had a young kid come in with a head trauma on Monday. I barely made it through the admission without getting sick. Do you know the last time that happened to me?”

Regina shook her head, listening.

“The first day of cadaver dissection in medical school. I made it as far as the nearest waste basket.”

“Oh, no.”

Alex grimaced. “Oh yeah. The instructor made a point of telling everyone right then and there that if we couldn't handle gross anatomy that we sure as hell weren't going to make it through the first year of medical school.”

“What a jackass,” Regina offered angrily. “What happened to you on Monday must have shocked you a bit.”

Alex rolled her eyes in response. “It was all I could do to make it outside without puking. Sandy followed me. I guess she sensed something was wrong. I don't know if I can do this anymore. I feel like I've lost my focus in there and I'm not sure if I know how to get it back.”

Regina leaned in closer drawing her hand up along Alex's jaw and brushed her thumb over her bottom lip. The realization that part of why Alex was so afraid was that without her job she would be losing, in her own mind, her identity.

So much of who they were, was tied up in what they did everyday. It defined them. “I don't think you know what's going on inside you right now or how you're going to react in any given situation, Alex. You've been through something very traumatic. Maybe you just need to give yourself some more time.”

Alex sat up and scrubbed her face with her hands, then, shrugged out of her leather jacket and tossed it over the arm of the couch before settling back against the cushions. She held her arm out and was rewarded with Regina cuddling up against her. “I'm afraid if I do it'll be harder to come back to this. This is all I've known. It's what I do.” The idea of not being able to work in the ER had been haunting Alex for weeks and the events of the last week had shaken her confidence badly.

“Alex, do you remember what you said to me the night Justin died?” Regina glanced up at her questioningly.

The brunette shrugged. “Yeah.”

“Those defenses you talked about having so that you don't let every case eat at you aren't as strong as they used to be. You'll get them back, but you can't beat yourself up over the fact that one trauma affected you so much.”

“But…”

“But, nothing,” Regina interrupted her. “You're human just like the rest of us. There are always going to be cases that come along that will shock and affect you. It's normal.”

Regina shifted her body and reached up, running her fingers through the dark locks of hair, layering them back over Alex's shoulders. With a sigh, she leaned in and rested her head against the strong shoulder. “Alex, no matter what you decide to do, I'm here. I know things are hard right now, but let me help you. Don't carry this all by yourself.”

The taller woman arched an eyebrow and looked down at the blonde head resting against her shoulder. “Regina?”

“Mm, what?” The blonde stirred, feeling emotionally drained and in a daze. The past several weeks she'd been afraid they were drawing closer to a point of no return, neither able to reach past their own inner turmoil to help the other. Now at least it felt like they broke through the walls they were both hiding behind and acknowledged what it was they were afraid of.

The timbre of Alex's voice washed over her tantalizingly. “Only if you promise me the same, my friend.”

Regina looked up and smiled, seeing warmth in the depths of the azure eyes she hadn't seen in weeks.

There was no denying how she felt about this woman. She loved everything about her; all the things that made Alex who she was - her strength and courage, her outright stubbornness and sometimes stark, vulnerability. Regina offered her a pinkie and they linked their fingers together. “I promise,” she avowed.

With a sigh of relief, Alex wrapped her arms around the blonde and stretched her legs out in front of her. We're still together. The knowledge buoyed her spirits and she smiled broadly, squeezing the younger woman to her gently.

Alex closed her eyes and nuzzled the soft, flaxen hair with her face, inhaling the fresh herbal scent of Regina's shampoo. “I…um…I didn't mean to dump all that on you tonight,” she admitted softly.

Regina pulled away and held Alex with a stern look. “I don't consider that dumping. We needed to talk.”

With a sheepish expression on her face the blue-eyed doctor nodded. “I know.”

A tender smile tugged at the corners of Regina's mouth. “I'm glad you told me.” She leaned in and touched her lips to the corner Alex's mouth, tasting the saltiness left by the tears. God, I miss touching you, she thought as she let a hand stray over the older doctor's thigh.

The ebony haired woman closed her eyes and gently rubbed the smaller woman's back. “Me too,” Alex whispered huskily.

Regina pulled back. She could feel the warm flush over her skin and swallowed, not quite meeting Alex's eyes. Good grief, I already need a cold shower.

Alex's gentle but insistent massage of her lower back was not helping her libido and the fair-haired woman extracted herself from her partner's arms. “Oh boy,” she exhaled and combed her hair back with her fingers.

“Reg?” Alex's voice was uncertain. There were so many times over the past few weeks where she had shunned Regina's attempts at intimacy. At first it was the pain, but as time went on she feared the intimacy and the physical vulnerability more. Her sudden injury had forced her into accepting a level of weakness and helplessness she'd never experienced and it had upset everything in her world.

“I'm ok. Just…horny…being this close to you after all this time…I think everything is in overdrive.”

“Sorry, I guess that's my fault. I haven't been too interested, I know,” she acknowledged quietly.

“I…I wasn't sure you wanted…” Regina closed her eyes and her voice faltered. She felt a heated flush creep up her neck. “I knew something was wrong but I didn't want…I was afraid to ask.”

“It was never you. Everything has been messed up in my head since I got out of the hospital.” Alex reached over and clasped one of Regina's hands in hers, wanting her to understand that it was her and not Regina who was the problem here. “I don't want you to be afraid to ask me anything.”

Both women stared at each other for a few quiet moments.

Regina felt herself being drawn into those wonderful, blue eyes. “Kiss me?”

Alex tilted her head slightly, her lips curving into a smile. She leaned closer, her eyes riveted on Regina's, closing just before their lips touched. It was a light caress at first and then with gently increasing pressure as she felt Regina open to her cautious advances. Her heart hammered against her ribs as her tongue explored the smooth textures of the younger woman's mouth. I've missed you, Reg.

Tentatively, the blonde moved one hand up to rest on Alex's chest between her breasts. Regina's fingers curled, pulling at the soft, cotton fabric of the shirt the taller woman was wearing, her other hand traveled lower and rested on one muscular thigh.

The contact drew a muffled groan from Alex's throat.

Regina wanted nothing more than to crawl up into her partner's lap and make love to her right here on the couch, but she followed her partner's lead, letting her explore without feeling pressured.

She could feel her own breathing go ragged as Alex slid a hand up and caressed the side of her face as they continued their kiss. Her hands moved of their own accord slowly rediscovering and exploring the lean body against her. Moving across the firm stomach and up over the doctor's ribs Regina felt the raised scar from where the bullet tore through Alex's skin.

Alex broke off the kiss and pressed her forehead against Regina's.

“You doing ok?” the blonde asked hopefully.

“Yeah,” Alex breathed and peered into the green orbs at close range. “You?”

“I'm going to be in trouble if you keep kissing me like that.”

“Like this?” Alex captured Regina's mouth in a soulful kiss, letting her tongue tease its way between her lips. She felt her own anxieties slipping away as her lover melted into her.

Alex's hands slid around Regina's waist, then, slowly tugged the shirttails from her pants and slid a hand underneath. She splayed her fingers over the firm belly before sliding up to caress a soft breast. Her lips sought Regina's again and then traveled lower, where she gently kissed, sucked, and nibbled the soft flesh, sending waves of pleasure through her core.

A faint 'oh' escaped from Regina as she leaned into erotic the touch.

Oh sweet Jesus, what was my problem with this? Alex could feel Regina's breathing quicken along with her own as she continued to leisurely explore the supple curves beneath her hands.

Regina's smaller hands found their way beneath the taller woman's shirt. She wanted to feel the skin, warm and soft beneath her hands. “Alex…I want…” she whimpered as moist lips tugged at her ear lobe and she begged, her voice thick with desire. “Take your shirt off.”

“Okay,” Alex replied quietly. She hesitated momentarily and glanced into Regina's eyes. Encouraged, Alex pulled it over her head. She held the garment in her hands, her breathing quickly becoming unsteady as she observed Regina watching her intently.

The blonde arched a golden eyebrow and hooked two fingers underneath her bra. “This comes off too.”

Wordlessly, Alex complied and removed it.

Regina's shirt landed beside it and she leaned forward, nuzzling the soft skin below her lover's ear before she nibbled an ear lobe teasingly with her teeth. Her fingers traced the outline of her lover's ribs and circled a breast before dipping down to her pants. “I never stopped wanting you.”

Alex groaned in response to the throaty voice. She ducked her head, kissed the exposed collarbone, and trailed her lips and tongue up to the pulse point just beneath Regina's ear.

The contact sent hot electric currents through Regina's body and she arched against the larger woman, consumed by her desire.

Alex wrapped Regina in her arms, her long fingers nimbly unclasping Regina's bra, exposing her perfect breasts. “I've missed you…” she whispered to the woman as she pulled away and ran her fingers over the unmarred flesh.

“Alex, I want you on top of me.”

She heard the urgency in Regina's voice and breathed, “Back,” through a kiss as she guided the smaller woman down onto the cushions beneath her.

With their bodies barely breaking contact, Regina slid back along the couch, pulling Alex along with her. She let out a small gasp as the weight of the taller woman settled against hers and her body responded with a rhythmic ache between her legs. Regina's hands ran over the strong shoulder blades, and then slid down to the narrow waist, insistent fingers slipping beneath the waistband of Alex's underwear.

Alex pressed into Regina, feeling the younger woman arch against her to increase the contact of their heated bodies. “Oh, sweet Jesus.” The friction as they moved against each other was intense, maddening, and exquisite all at the same time.

Clutching the woman to her tightly, Regina locked her thighs around one of the taller woman's legs and continued to arch her back and move her hips, meeting her partner's fervent rocking motion.

Breathless, Alex broke off the passionate kiss and buried her face against her lover's neck. “Reg, oh God.” She worked a hand between them, unbuttoned Regina's pants and tugged the zipper down.

“Alex, you don't have to…” her protest was cut off by a passionate open-mouthed kiss. Alex reached up and grasped one of Regina's hands interlacing their fingers as she lifted the arm over the smaller woman's head.

With her hair falling over her face, Alex peered down at Regina. I need you so badly, right now. “I want you,” she rasped, holding the intense, heated gaze of the women beneath her.

She didn't realize how close to the edge she was until Regina elevated her thigh and pumped with lustful determination between her jean-clad legs. Her dilated, blue eyes closed and her mouth slacked open in response as she rode hard against the strong thigh.

Her hips jerked and she felt her abdomen spasm as the first waves of her orgasm erupted hot and wet. Her mantra as she came, was Regina's name, over and over again.

With her skin glistening from perspiration, Alex breathed hard and rested against her lover's body. Moments later, she lifted her head and looked at the younger woman, realizing, “Can you breathe? I must be crushing you!”

“I'm good,” Regina replied calmly, holding Alex in place, basking in their closeness. When Alex shifted and her thigh brushed against the blonde's center, Regina inhaled sharply.

“Mm, I think there's something I can do for you,” Alex whispered, seeing her lover's raw desire. She ducked her head and teased the now hardened nipples with her mouth, while she tugged Regina's pants down.

The younger woman gutturally cried out when she felt Alex's fingers reach her damp curls and slowly stroke between her wet folds. Oh, inside, yes! Regina arched her back and tipped her hips up, increasing the contact and finally drawing the long fingers inside of her.

Alex propped herself up on an elbow and kissed the younger woman's mouth hungrily, displaying her raw, overwhelming, love and desire. She filled the blonde with her fingers, steadily increasing the smooth motion of her hand as she stroked her thumb over Regina's engorged clitoris.

“Yes, Alex! Oh God, please don't stop!” Regina pled breathlessly as she was driven higher by the husky voice encouraging her to come. Her hands clutched Alex's back tightly as she tumbled over the edge into ecstasy.

Breathing heavily, Regina curled onto her side and clasped Alex's arm to her. The doctor spooned against her, cradling the blonde's head in the crook of her arm as she ran her fingers through the disordered hair.

The coolness of the night air chilled the brunette's skin and she pulled the half naked woman closer, savoring the heat of the smaller body against hers. She fumbled behind, seeking the blue and green checked afghan. When she found it, she pulled it down over their bodies and tucked it in around the dozing woman's shoulders.

“I want to make love to you,” Regina pouted sleepily.

Alex chuckled and seductively pressed her hips into Regina's backside. “Later, after you sleep. I'll hold you to it,” she whispered, kissing the golden blonde hair and wrapping her securely around the smaller woman's waist.

******

Shit! I can't believe the alarm is going off already! Regina thought hazily, and then, swatted her arm across what she thought was the bed. She jerked herself awake as she almost rolled off the couch, had it not been for Alex grabbing her around the waist. “What the?”

Disoriented she blinked and looked around the darkened room. “Ah, man who the hell is calling here at this hour?”

“I don't know but they're dead,” Alex grumbled from behind her.

Finally, on the third ring Regina picked up the phone, answering gruffly. “Hello.”

“Well, hello there sister.”

“Jeff, ugh, do you know what time it is?” Regina struggled to sit up and finally made it with a little assistance from behind. In the darkness, she felt her open jeans and exposed chest, realizing she'd fallen asleep, half undressed after Alex made love to her.

“It's nine o'clock over here,” Jeff replied blithely, bringing Regina back to the present.

“Which means it midnight here,” she grumbled as she tugged her underwear and jeans up over her hips and squirmed feeling the evidence of their recent lovemaking. She sat back down on the couch, smiling as Alex kindly draped the afghan over her shoulders and caressed her back affectionately.

With a groan, Alex stood up, pulled her shirt on, and staggered over to bathroom still feeling a little weird from being woken out of a sound sleep.

“Somebody else there?” Jeff asked through the phone.

Groggily, Regina answered. “Alex.”

“Ooh! Is that the same Alex that you called me about in a panic last fall?”

Regina rolled her eyes. “We've been together for a few months now. Agh,” she groaned and blinked her eyes as Alex flicked a light on and walked back into the room.

Well, I guess that explains why you fell off the face of the earth,” Jeff snickered.

“Jeff, back off. Alex was shot two months ago. She almost died.”

Alex arched an eyebrow as she settled onto the couch beside the younger woman.

There was silence on the other end of the phone, then, he spoke again. “I…I had no idea, Regina.”

“I know. I'm sorry Jeff.” Regina ran a hand through her tousled hair and looked back at Alex who gently started to knead the blonde's shoulders. “I didn't mean to dump it on you like that but it's been hard for both of us.”

“So do Mom and Dad know about you and Alex?”

Regina's voice was subdued, recalling the night she told her mother about herself. “Yes, they do.”

“I gather it wasn't well received,” Jeff offered quietly, recalling his own experience with his mother's blatant homophobia.

“Of course it wasn't.”

“Did you get a call from Dad?” Jeff changed the subject.

“Yes, he called me. Are you going to go up for the weekend?”

“That's why I was calling you. I don't want to be ambushed without company. Are you going?”

“Yeah, we're going,” Regina replied absently as Alex leaned against her side and rested her head on Regina's shoulder. She reached across and ran her fingers through Alex's disheveled hair, smiling when the older woman sighed contentedly and relaxed against her even more.

“That should be interesting.”

“Aren't you bringing Darryl with you?” Regina glanced over at the sable head buried against her shoulder and wondered if she made the right decision about asking Alex.

“No way! Not after the way they treated him.”

“Jeff, how many years ago was that?”

“I don't care. Why after all this time do they want me there and why have us both come at the same time?”

“Dad wanted us to be there for Mom's birthday.” She remembered that she needed to get a gift and asked, “Have you thought about what you might get her?”

“No. I haven't,” Jeff groused, annoyed at his sister's question.

“Jeff,” Regina sighed in exasperation.

“Hey, why should I? They haven't sent me a card or called once for my birthday since they kicked me out!” he snapped defensively.

Alex lifted her head, hearing part of what was said.

Regina tapped her foot on the floor and shrugged. “Jeff, come on. Don't make this harder than it's going to be.”

A long silence ensued before he relented. “All right what did you have in mind?”

“Do you remember the locket Mom used to wear? It had our pictures in it.”

“Yeah.”

“I remember her saying she lost it a couple of years ago. Why don't we get her a new one?”

“Are you serious?”

“Of course, I'm serious. I bet she would like it,” Regina replied softly, feeling like she was starting to reconnect with her brother after all this time.

“I guess she would. You probably know her better than I do.”

“Jeff, they're your parents, too,” Regina insisted.

“It hasn't felt like it in a long time.”

“Well, maybe it's time to try to change that.”

“Whatever. Listen, I'm flying into Boston at seven on Friday night. Let me give you the flight number.”

Regina looked around and saw a pad of paper and a pen on the table across the room. She motioned to Alex and the doctor nodded, and retrieved the objects for her. Regina wrote down the information her brother gave her for his flight and where he was staying. “All right, Jeff. I'm going to call and make a reservation for us. We'll drive up Friday after work and meet you at the hotel”

“Yeah, don't forget your armor, Regina. You'll need it!” he warned ominously.

“I hope not, big brother,” she replied, and then after saying goodbye, set the phone down on the table. She closed her eyes and tilted her head up, releasing a nervous and tense sigh.

She didn't want another confrontation with her parents and hoped that Jeff would be able to set aside some of his anger. What she really wanted was just an opportunity to start to mend all the hurt they caused each other as a family.

Anxiously, she crossed to the window and stared out at the dark street, pulling the afghan tighter around her shoulders.

Alex followed her aware of the nervous energy she was exuding. She stood behind the blonde, barely touching but close enough to feel the warmth emanating between them. “You all right?” she asked with concern.

Their reflections stared back at them. A study of contrasts, Alex standing almost six feet tall, her dark hair framing her angular face with Regina in front of her with her flaxen hair in a rumpled halo around her head. “If things get too intense while we're at my parents Alex, you just say the word and we're out of there. Ok?” Regina made clear.

She felt the slightest touch of the taller woman's breast against her shoulder as Alex leaned in closer. “Reg, they invited you and your brother there. If they weren't ready, I doubt your father would have even made the phone call.”

“I hope so.”

“Come on. Let's get you to bed.” Alex took her hand and started to walk to the bedroom.

“Will you stay?” Regina pulled her to a stop.

Alex glanced down at her rumpled clothes. “I didn't bring a change of clothes with me.”

“I'll throw them in the laundry,” Regina offered quickly.

Alex pretended to think for a moment before she flashed a bright smile, pulling Regina to her. “Deal.” She kissed the shorter woman gently. “Besides I'd like nothing more than to wake up with you tomorrow morning.”

Regina pressed against Alex's body, nuzzling the soft swell of the taller woman's breasts through the cotton shirt. Her hands found their way underneath, wandering leisurely up to fondle and caress them. She was rewarded with a deep sigh and felt some of the tension drain from Alex's body. Tilting her neck back, she fixed her cerulean-eyed lover with a sultry gaze. “I want to make love to you, now.”

Hearing the emboldened words, Alex felt a fire start in her belly. She fingered the afghan draped over Regina's slender frame and eased the fabric back, baring her shoulders. With her gaze riveted on the fiery green eyes, Alex captured Regina's mouth in a deep, honest, soulful kiss. She could feel the firm body molding to her and she trailed her fingertips over the flushed skin of Regina's face and neck. I love the way you make me feel. A smile tugged at her lips as she pulled away and felt Regina lean heavily against her, eyes still closed.

Regina blinked and moistened her lips with her tongue. “Wow.” Her hands moved over Alex's strong back and then down to her buttocks squeezing them suggestively. “Where did that come from?”

Alex smiled and pulled her lover into the bedroom. Regina followed willingly.

Her hands went to Alex's shirt and quickly tugged it over her head. She ran her hands through the thick, dark mane. “I want to taste you,” she whispered huskily.

Alex groaned and they collapsed onto the bed. Regina rubbed her cheek over the taller woman's stomach, then, kissed the tender flesh. She made quick work of the button and zipper on Alex's black jeans.

She needs this…everything, Regina thought as she slipped her fingers downward, teasing her way through the damp curls, then withdrew and slipped her finger into her mouth, sucking the essence off with her lips.

“Regina…”

“Be patient,” the blonde teased, as she kissed the skin above the waistline of Alex's underwear.

“Oh!” Alex gasped as Regina tugged her pants down and pulled her shoes off impatiently.

I want you so badly, Regina thought as she inhaled the scent of her lover.

“Take me, please,” Alex begged, lifting her hips up toward Regina.

Blonde eyebrows arched and Regina nibbled her lower lip before she quickly removed her panties. Slowly, she crawled back up Alex's body, allowing her breasts to graze sensitive flesh during her ascent. She paused over the red scar and gazed up into her favorite blue eyes.

Alex watched her closely, still wary of her reaction to her body. Regina smiled reassuringly and kissed her way up along the scar, before she captured the full lips beneath her. “God, you are beautiful,” she whispered, kissing her again, their mouths melting together.

Alex opened her mouth to younger woman's advances, letting herself be cradled in Regina's arms.

The denim of Regina's pants brushed the inside of Alex's thighs as she shifted her position. Her mouth and lips began a slow, languid exploration over the taller woman's breasts before dipping lower.

Alex ran her fingertips through the golden blonde hair, encouraging her to keep going. She closed her eyes, feeling the scorching touch of Regina's fingers between her wet folds. “Oh…don't tease.”

“Never,” Regina breathed, gliding inside and meeting the thrusts of her lover's hips.

Alex felt the smaller woman's other hand touching her stomach and thighs before she gathered her hips in her arm. “Oh, Reg. Please, oh yes…” she gasped, as she felt all the love Regna channeled into giving her this pleasure.

She felt like Regina was touching every nerve in her body, bringing her higher until her body felt like it would burst into flames if she didn't release her soon.

Sensing her lover's desire, her lips and tongue caressed the tender flesh, drinking her lover's passion as the older woman succumbed willingly to her touch.

Alex cried out Regina's name breathlessly, reaching down and pulling the smaller woman up to her. “Hold me,” she murmured, her body collapsing into her lover's arms.

“Always,” Regina replied, spooning up against Alex. “I love you, baby.”

Chapter Eleven

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