For disclaimers see Part 1
Shana stood in front of the door to Anne's bathroom, hesitation written all over her body. She could hear the muffled sounds of Anne moving about. She didn't know whether she had been relieved or disappointed when she had found that Anne hadn't been in the bedroom.
She felt as if she was on complete overload. So much had happened in the course of the last two days. God, has it only been two days? To Shana it felt like so much more. Here shed been on her way to visit her friend with a firm plan to go and get the woman she loved. The next thing she knew she had been in an accident, Anne had showed her her love without any plan or trick, they had kissed passionately and were on the brink of falling into a vortex of desire, and then Mishka had shown up, unplanned and unexpected. And definitely unwanted.
And now here she was, trying to come up with an explanation for it all. She felt deep down inside that now was probably her only chance to ever explain everything to Anne, to make her understand. About Mishka. About the baby.
She knew that the baby would be the hardest to take for Anne, even though it wasn't really her fault. But how did you explain that to someone you just professed to love? 'Honey, I love you, but I'm pregnant. I don't know who did it, but it's there ...' Arrgh! Definitely not.
She didn't see Mishka as a big problem. Anne was a compassionate woman, working with a lot of charitable causes. She had, in fact, just returned home from organizing one of her own small, but famous charity tournaments. No, Mishka wouldn't be a problem. Anne would either understand or they would have to come up with another solution together. Her heart was breaking for Mishka, but she wouldn't risk her relationship with Anne to help him. If she had to choose there would be no competition. At all.
Explaining why she hadn't said a word about the whole thing before she almost slept with Anne was the real problem. One she had no answer to. I'll just have to wing it
Her hand reached out for the doorknob.
Anne sat down heavily on the edge of her large tub with a weary sigh. She hurt everywhere, inside and out. Now that the adrenaline rush of her anger had left her, she felt deflated and tired. She decided a shower would be a good idea and she slowly undressed, wincing with every movement.
Both her hands hurt like hell, but one was even worse than the other.
She knew that hitting the punching bag with her bare hands was just plain stupid. She would usually never do that, not even with two uninjured hands, but doing it with one hand that was already sprained was very high on the list of the dumbest things she'd ever done.
Only topped off maybe - by believing that Shana could love her.
The shower felt good. The warm water ran down her body, washing away the sweat and tension, but instead of re-energizing her it made her even more drowsy. I need sleep. Anne shut off the warm water and stood under the remaining cold spray in a vain attempt to wake up. The cold water helped a bit, and after several seconds she felt invigorated enough to actually leave the shower.
She dried herself off with a large towel and ran a comb through her wet hair. Then she threw the wet towel to the floor and opened the door.
Shana's hand had not yet reached the doorknob when the door was opened from the inside and Anne was standing before her. Shana swallowed. Hard.
Anne was naked.
Completely and utterly naked, and slightly damp from the recent shower.
Oh, Jesus. Shana's ability to think flew right out the window. She couldn't tear her eyes away from the woman before her. She looks like a goddess. Shana felt overdressed in her jeans and sweatshirt. Her eyes swept over Anne's body again.
Anne just stood there, not moving an inch, her expression unreadable. Finally, Shana's gaze fell upon Anne's hands, which were placed loosely on the tall woman's thighs.
"Oh, god, Anne!" Shana was shocked by what she saw. Both hands were red and slightly swollen, and abrasions graced the knuckles. The left hand, however, was swollen to almost twice its usual size and had taken on a bluish tint. From the fingertips to the middle of the forearm the hand looked like one large bruise. Which it was.
Shana reached out to those hands, the awkwardness of the situation forgotten for the moment. "Come on, let me take a look at those," she said and gently touched Anne's upper arm to guide her to the bed.
Anne didn't budge.
"Anne?" The smaller woman looked up from her friend's hands.
The dark-haired woman looked at her until Shana felt like an insect under the scrutiny of a dedicated biologist. The blonde woman didn't move, didn't say anything. She wanted to give Anne the time and the opportunity to figure out what was puzzling her. Because that was what Anne looked like like someone who was trying to solve a puzzle just by looking at the various pieces.
At last, Anne's gaze wandered to Shana's hand that was still very lightly touching her arm. When she spoke, her voice was infinitely weary. "What do you want, Shana?"
Shana knew that her answer to this question could very well determine the course of the coming talk and what she hoped to be the beginning of the rest of their lives. She also realized that the question did not necessarily refer only to her hand on Anne's arm. Her answer came to her unbidden, from deep within her, and she let it out without thinking about it.
"You." Simple. Concise. All-encompassing. The truth. And all that mattered in the end.
Anne snorted. Her face had taken on a lopsided grin that was anything but friendly or nice. She looked like a jungle cat ready to pounce on its prey, and Shana took an involuntary step backwards. The blonde wasn't afraid, even though Anne looked more dangerous naked than anyone she had ever seen, but there was an energy pouring off of the tall woman that told Shana to try and get out of its range.
Anne didn't let her. She followed Shana's steps and forced the smaller woman back up against the door by her sheer presence and her will.
Every step Anne made was accentuated by a single word.
"What. Do. You. Want. From. Me." With every word her voice had taken on a rawer edge, until it sounded like unchecked emotion straight from the gut.
With the last word, Shana found herself with her back to the door and Anne directly before her. The two women almost touched, and the smaller woman wasn't sure whether to be relieved or disappointed that they didn't touch.
She also didn't know what to say. She wasn't even sure what the question was anymore. Anne seemed to sense that and repeated it.
"What do you want from me?" Her voice was still husky and raw, but it also had a weary undertone that made Shana realize again just how difficult the whole situation had to be on her tall friend.
What do I want from you? Everything. Shana's mind processed the answer with the speed of lightning but before she could open her mouth, Anne was upon her.
The brunette pressed her naked body into that of her friend, pinning her to the door. The look she gave her friend was one of openly sexual appraisal. "Is this what you want, little one?" came the harsh, taunting whisper. "Is this about sex? Do you want some of the notorious 'Killer'? You only have to ask, baby."
And then she kissed Shana, hard and possessively.
The kiss had no resemblance to the kisses they had shared earlier in the morning and Shana was too perplexed to react in any way. It was both frightening and extremely arousing in its intensity. A part of her wanted to stop Anne, wanted to talk to her. Another part of her enjoyed the kiss, the forcefulness and the emotional vulnerability that Shana could still sense behind it all. It was this part of her that won out and she kissed Anne back.
That's when Anne stopped the kiss as suddenly as she had started it. Both women were slightly out of breath as they looked into each other's eyes.
Anne expected to find disgust in those green eyes that she loved so much. She knew she had behaved abominably, but she couldn't help herself. Seeing Shana standing before her in her bedroom had short-circuited her brain and she had let loose a side of her that she thought she had buried years ago. Sex is a weapon, a means to an end.
But what she found in those green eyes was a look of trust and love and understanding that she didn't and couldn't understand. Nor did she dare to believe in it.
Suddenly she felt herself talking again. "Is this really all there is to it? Sex?" She couldn't quite keep the hurt out of her voice at these questions. "Do I mean so little to you?"
The answer was prompt and emphatic. "No! Anne, that's not it at all." The dark-haired woman felt Shana's hand on her cheek and she leaned into the touch against her own will. She cursed her own body for betraying her, but when she looked into the green eyes, which were now brimming with tears, she knew her body was probably right.
"What do you want, Shea?" she asked again, eyes closed against the words Shana's face spoke so clearly. "From me, from us, with me?" I need to hear you say it. Whatever it is, tell me.
"Everything, Anne. I want everything. You and me, together forever. Good, bad and everything in between."
Anne felt Shana's movement and then the soft kisses on her still closed eyelids. A rush of tenderness washed through her body, closely followed by a wave of helplessness. She was weak and she hated herself for it, but she knew there was no way that she could resist the smaller woman.
She believed in Shana a way she had never believed in herself.
But there were things she needed to know, and now was a very good time to talk about them. She looked up and found expectant green eyes She was dumbstruck. How did the power in this encounter change so much, so fast?
She opened her mouth to ask all the questions that needed answers, but found two fingers on her lips that held them closed. She questioned with her eyes instead.
"Anne," Shana spoke quietly, "I do want you, all of you and for all time, but there are a lot of things that I have to explain, that we have to talk about." She paused. "You might not want me when you know it all, but I don't want any more secrets between us."
Anne nodded, still unable to speak around the fingers on her lips. She kissed the fingertips and nodded again.
Shana withdrew her fingers and looked down at Anne's hands. "But first we'll have to take care of your hands, they look terrible."
"I know," Anne mumbled and took a step away from Shana.
"Wait," Shana whispered.
Anne stopped and waited.
"Kiss me again but this time like you mean it."
Wordlessly, Anne pressed her body into Shana's again and kissed her, trying to pour as much of her feelings as she could into that one kiss.
When they broke apart, Shana moaned. "God, I love your kisses."
"I noticed," Anne grinned devilishly.
"How I mean what?" Shana was flustered. Was I that obvious?
"I have just noticed," the dark-haired woman smiled and looked up and down Shana's slightly flushed body before stepping away.
Shana blushed furiously. Damn! "Go, get dressed!" she growled.
Anne kept on grinning and sauntered over to her closet. Her face broke into a full-out smile when she heard Shana's barely stifled groan at the sight.
To be continued in Part 18
Return to Academy