Just a Breath Away

By Colleen

 

This is an alternate uber story. The physical descriptions of the two lead characters may remind you of two others we all know and love, but all characters in the story are from my own imagination. This story is an original work and is copyrighted by the author. It cannot be sold or used for profit in any way. Copyright July 2009-2010

This story depicts a loving relationship between two consenting, adult women and contains scenes of intimacy, but nothing too explicit. If you are under 18 years of age or if this type of story is illegal in the state or country in which you live, please do not read it. If depictions of this nature disturb you, you may wish to read something else.

Feedback will be welcomed at coleen30@webtv.net

I have also created a group for discussions of this, past and future stories. Join us at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/colleens_corner

 

 

Chapter 9

Carson opened her eyes. The dull light of a rainy morning gave her bedroom sort of a depressing air. But Carson smiled in spite of the atmosphere. She took a moment to take stock of her body. There were a few sore muscles. But it had been many months since she'd spent the night performing such zealous acrobatics. She still smiled, and a big part of that came because of the long, luscious body spooned against her back. She had almost forgotten how good it felt to sleep next to someone, to feel the warmth of skin on skin…to not feel so alone at night, even if just for a few hours. A night of great sex couldn't help, but make her feel good. Lips pressed against her shoulder. Carson gave a little squeeze to the arm around her waist, and then she pulled away, turning over, bringing her face to face with her best friend.

Drew was smiling too. She'd had no pre-conceived thoughts about what it would be like to make love with Carson . Oh, sure she had fantasies about the softness of Carson 's skin and the wondrous curves of her femininity. The sounds of her sighs. Or the taste of her. But the burst of feelings that their intimacy had released inside her heart had almost been overwhelming. Drew stared into the beautiful eyes, loving the life painted there in brilliant shades of green and curiosity. She reached up and touched Carson 's cheek. “You still have a smudge of paint by your right ear,” she said with a husky, morning voice. “But I love you anyway.” Drew's last words lay deep with emotion.

Carson 's entire appearance suddenly transformed. Her face paled. Her body went rigid. Her breathing increased. Suddenly looking like a rabbit staring at the business end of a wolf, Carson stammered, “Wh…what?”

Drew repeated with even more feeling. “I love you. I should have told you last night.”

Carson jumped from the bed as if her ass was on fire. Her soul was still healing from old burns. The blonde head shook adamantly. “No!” She whipped the blanket off the bed, suddenly desperate to hide her naked body.

Drew was confused. “What do mean no? Yes, I love you.” She sat up, keeping the sheet tucked under her arms.

“Look Drew,” Carson said as she began pacing the floor. “Let's not complicate things by bringing mistaken visions of romance into our relationship. All I want is friendship.”

“With benefits,” Drew mumbled sarcastically.

Carson ran a hand through her shaggy hair as she tried to explain herself. “Last night was fun.” She chose that moment to look at the woman in her bed…the naked, beautiful, kind, gentle, sensitive woman in her bed. No! Her thoughts screamed. I can't; not again.

Drew's mouth dropped into a pronounced frown. “Fun?” Her voice quivered. “That's all it was to you?”

Carson moved to sit on the corner of the bed, hit with a guilty hurt. “Oh, no. I'm sorry Drew. I didn't mean…you're right, it was more. Last night was passionate, sexy and beautiful.” With a slower cadence, she added. “But let's just leave it at that. We both wanted it and we both got our needs satisfied. But it was just sex between friends…even if it was great sex.” Her voice softened, hoping to lessen the visible hurt on Drew's face. “Oh Drew, I do care a lot about you as a very special friend. But that's all I need.”

“Well, what I need is to love you, today, tomorrow…”

“Please stop saying that!” Carson moved away again, facing the painted wall. She pulled the blanket up over shoulder, to help with the sudden chill.

“Not saying it won't make it untrue.”

The sadness in her friend's voice was heartbreaking, but it wasn't enough. “It's not true,” Carson insisted.

“Don't tell me that.” Drew was resolute, but remained calm. “Why are you so afraid of your own feelings?”

“I'm not afraid of my feelings,” Carson mumbled. “I know you don't understand,” she added louder. “And I won't explain right now. Just accept it.”

Now Drew became a little more animated, her frustrations carrying her voice to a dynamic level. “Well, I can't. I see that you are afraid of something. But last night was not just sex. I've had just sex and I know the difference. You love me. I saw it on your face as you came in my arms. I saw it in your eyes as you made love to me. And I felt it in your body as we lay wrapped around each other. There was a powerful emotion there. This love is real. How can you deny it?!” Drew couldn't see Carson 's face as she spoke. She didn't see the absolute terror and anguish. She didn't notice Carson 's chest heaving under the distress.

“Please…stop. Don't make…me do…this.” Carson was hyperventilating now. That brought about its own fear and pain. She tried to move and stumbled.

“ Carson !” Drew raced to her side and helped her to a chair in the corner. “Easy Hon. Try to slow your breathing.”

Carson 's entire body shook. “I…can't.”

Mindless of her nudity now, Drew scrambled for something to help the woman she loved. She finally found a paper sack in the nightstand drawer and dumped its contents. Placing it over Carson 's mouth and talking soothingly, the blonde began to calm. But the hazy green eyes stared at some invisible place on the floor. Drew brushed her finger's lovingly through the blonde locks. Who did this to you? She wondered. Who hurt you? Drew clasped her wrist, taking a pulse, which was still slightly fast, but not alarmingly so. The painful expression was finally too much, and Drew couldn't do it anymore. She couldn't hurt Carson , no matter the reason. Drew stood up and quickly tugged on her clothes. “I'll go,” she said. Carson didn't look up from the spot on the floor. She didn't make so much as a sound. Drew opened the door, but stopped. Without looking back, she sighed. “I'm sorry,” she said. “I'll try to stop loving you, if that's what you really want. But I don't want to lose you from my life. I don't want to lose your friendship.” Not waiting for an answer, Drew ran from the room, from the house and all the way home through the pouring rain. The early morning weather was chilly and her trembling hands fumbled with the key to get the door unlocked. An indistinguishable tear or two mingled with the rain on her face. Just a few hours ago she had thought she had everything she wanted, the woman she loved and the child she loved. The family she yearned for. Stumbling inside, she ripped off the soaking shoes, shirt and pants. Drew dropped into a chair, striped bare. The pain filled her insides, but there was also resentment. The anger came because Carson wouldn't talk to her, didn't even want to try and explain. Instead, the blonde had driven herself to a near panic attack.

But stronger than any of that was the love.

The more Drew thought about things, the ire was soon redirected at whoever had hurt Carson so much. The one who had sent her racing away from love.

* * *

 

Carson sat unmoving for a long time after Drew had walked out. She was numb. After nearly half an hour, she crawled back into the bed, pulling the covers over her head. She smelled Drew's scent and savored it, knowing they would never be that close again. I just wanted some intimate companionship. Why was that so wrong? I do love you Drew…but not the way you want me too. Her tears started and the thunder roared in accompaniment. Her tears were of pure fear. She couldn't go through that again, give her complete trust. She couldn't devote another span of her life only to be wrong in the end. She wouldn't do that to herself and she couldn't do it to Logan . Suddenly, a bolt of pain pierced her heart as she remembered the hurt on Drew's face. Drew's beautiful face had dulled with the anguish of her unrequited love. Despite the pain, Carson finally willed the tears to stop. “I'm sorry Drew,” she said to the dim. “But this is the best way. We'll stay friends. And you'll find someone who's able to trust in you completely and give you everything you deserve.”

* * *

 

Drew had downed nearly a quart of milk. She wasn't hungry, but the hollow of her stomach had complained. She absently flipped on the TV, but the images she watched were inside her mind. She began to doubt. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe she doesn't love me. The minutes and hours they had ever spent together were special, they were real. There were no false pretenses, only genuine kindness and caring. Honesty. The looks, the smiles and the touches. There was intimacy and passion in those actions. Maybe only on a sub-conscious level. But feelings that certainly included, but were very much deeper than just friendship. It had slowly, but definitely evolved into love.

“I can help her,” Drew said. “I have to. Carson is a warm, caring, beautiful person and she deserves to know love, real, honest, devoted love. I have to help her feel that. Even if she doesn't feel it for me in the end. But she is my friend and it is the right thing to do.” Drew's goal was firmly established. She had to develop a plan of action. But she knew she had to proceed with caution and gentleness.

* * *

 

Carson had cleaned the bedroom and herself by noon . Her son would be coming home soon and she was determined not to let him, or anyone else sense her emotional turmoil. She couldn't get the thought of Drew's hurtful expression out of her mind though. Not that she tried very hard. She wanted to feel guilty. She had made the first move, but it had obviously been for all the wrong reasons. Carson had honestly thought that their mutual lust was the only emotion involved. She still doubted that anything beyond platonic love existed in Drew's mind, but she did know that the doctor's pain was real.

If love…and to Carson that if was a mile high and six feet thick, but if any love, beyond platonic existed in Drew's mind, it would be a miracle. And at this stage in her life, Carson no longer believed in miracles.

 

 

* * *

 

One week.

Seven days.

168 hours.

Carson and Drew had not spoken to one another for that long. They were used to talking everyday, even if it was just for a few minutes. The separation was painful. But each was afraid to make the first move back toward their friendship. But after a week's worth of lonely evenings, in one brave moment, one friend took the necessary step down the bumpy road.

A telephone rang.

“Hello Carson .”

“Hi Drew.”

“How are you feeling?”

“Oh, fine. Listen about…”

“Wait! Carson , let me say something first. I don't regret what happened between us. I do regret raising my voice to you…and for shocking you. You obviously didn't expect me to say what I did. And I had no right to tell you how you feel. Maybe I just saw what I wanted to see. But I never want to hurt you.”

“You didn't,” Carson said softly. “The problem is mine; it's a trust issue. And it was just bad memories.”

“Well, I am sorry. We don't ever have to discuss that night again if you don't want to. I'll accept whatever kind of relationship you can give me. Can we go back to where we were before? I want our close friendship back.”

“I'm sure we can get there,” Carson said, cautiously optimistic. “But I think it will take a little time.”

Drew took in a relieved breath. “I'm patient.”

“I've missed you Drew. So has Logan .”

“And I've missed both of you…so much. Please accept my apologies.”

“I do, but I hurt you too,” Cameron said.

“It would hurt much more never to see you again.”

“Well, I don't want you to hurt anymore. Why don't you come down tomorrow night? It's about time for that trivia re-match.”

* * *

 

Carson opened her front door. Even though she had known who was coming, Carson and her visitor stared at each other for a few very long and awkward seconds. It was the first time she and Drew had been face to face since the morning after they had slept together. They both smiled shyly and Carson stepped aside. “Come on in.”

“How was your day?” Drew asked lamely. They hadn't had had to make trivial small talk since the very beginning of their friendship.

“Fine,” Carson answered as she led the way into the family room, where she had set up the game table. “Busy though,” she added tiredly.

“Oh, well if you don't feel up to playing, we can postpone.”

“No, I'm fine,” Carson said as she had a seat. “You just missed Logan , he got sleepy early this evening.”

Drew just nodded, not knowing what else to say. She rolled the dice with slightly less flair than she might on previous occasions. Listening closely to Carson 's smooth voice as she read the first question, Drew answered almost immediately. “Da Vinci.” The game continued back and forth with a nearly equal number of right and wrong answers between the companions. Drew munched on the tortilla chips and salsa her friend had provided as she pondered another question. “Celtic,” she finally answered.

“Right,” Carson simply said. Any other time she would have praised Drew on her well of knowledge. But the guilt still nagging at her heart, kept her voice silent.

It was about forty-five minutes into the round and Carson was slightly ahead. There had hardly been any chatter or comments on answers since they started, but they had managed to a crack a small chuckle or two. Carson threw the dice and moved four spaces. Drew picked up a card. “What is Epcot an acronym for?” she asked, expecting a correct response.

Carson scrunched up her golden brow in thought. “Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow.”

“Not quite,” Drew said softly, “…community, not city.” Any other time, she might have teased Carson about the miss, but on this night she kept her reaction solemn. Drew answered her next question correctly, and then Carson did the same.

In the lazy race to the finish, Drew picked up the single dice and worried it between her fingers. The evening had not been what she had hoped. They were acting like strangers who were afraid to breach personal barriers. Drew sighed and set the playing piece down. “ Carson ,” she said slowly, “I know this whole…issue has been hard on both of us. And I know we can't just forget everything, but I don't think there should be any blame or any guilt. Do you agree that's what we've both been feeling tonight?”

The blonde head nodded sadly. “Yeah, I do. But as for me it's only remorse that I took advantage…”

“No!” Drew stopped her. “No, let's not rehash all that. It's in the past. Let's just leave that night there, where it belongs.” But it will always be a favorite memory. “We need to move forward,” she finally said.

Carson chuckled wryly. “But how do we do that?”

Drew ached at the sight of the sorrow filled green eyes. “We start like this.” Drew held out her hand, and just a second later, Carson 's warm hand joined hers. Drew gently pulled her friend to stand next to the table. “Close your eyes,” she instructed and demonstrated. “Take a deep breath…and let all of that nonsense fall away like water down the drain.” Drew squeezed her hand softly. “We need to get back to us.” After a few heartbeats, they opened their eyes at the same time and nodded just the tiniest bit. Drew felt free once again to study her friend's lovely face. The genuinely happy smile forming Carson 's lips was reflected in her eyes. “We care about each other as best friends more than anything else,” Drew said. “And nothing can ever change that. Now, I think you were gonna win…should we finish the game?”

“That's not necessary,” Carson said, “I think we're both winners.”

* * *

Drew knocked on the front door. Carson answered it with Logan on her hip. “Hi Drew. Come on in.”

“Actually, I'm going to mow the lawn. I remember you said the boy you were paying to do it hasn't been doing a good job.”

Carson stepped out onto the porch and the baby reached out for his tall friend. “Hey Logan ,” Drew said, taking him for a moment. She kissed his cheek.

“But it's not your responsibility,” Carson reminded her. “I was going to do it while Logan was asleep.”

“But I'd rather you didn't have to,” Drew explained. “Mowing stirs up a lot things that could settle onto your clothing. You could carry allergens back inside afterward and it could trigger an asthma attack. So, I'll just get it done and then go on home.”

“Well…thank you Drew.”

Logan babbled at Drew, pawing happily at her face. She knew what he wanted. “I love you too bud, but I've got work to do.” She hugged the boy and bounced him in her arms. “Oh, I do miss you. Maybe I could come over tomorrow and play with you.” The blue eyes looked hopefully at his mother.

Carson smiled. “Of course you can come over tomorrow. You're always welcome Drew.” She placed a hand on the doctor's arm. Their eyes held in the moment. They missed each other very much. But with each meeting, the easiness of their previous relationship seemed to be settling back in a little more.

Logan got upset when his playmate didn't come inside. Carson took him to the big window facing the front yard and pulled back the curtains. They watched as the doctor pulled the mower from the garage, and after checking the gas, instantly started it up. With ease, Drew began making rows of finely manicured lawn. Each time she passed by the window, she would make a silly face at Logan . He would giggle and put his tiny hands against the pane, playing with her. But she soon disappeared into the back yard and Carson got him interested in something else.

* * *

Drew was in an extremely good mood. She almost skipped with childlike glee down the sidewalk on her way to Carson 's to spend time with her two favorite people. The sky was overcast and the ground was a little wet from an earlier shower, but that didn't dampen her spirits. Drew took a minor detour and danced through a puddle in the street, humming a chorus of Singing in the Rain. Even though it wasn't raining. Drew rang the doorbell as she dried the bottoms of her shoes on the welcome mat. The front door opened and Drew was blasted in the face with a scream.

“Oh Drew, I don't think he's in the mood to play today,” Carson said. The poor mother looked totally frazzled and exhausted. Here eyes were red and puffy; she had been crying too.

Drew ushered them back inside. “What's wrong little guy?” she asked worriedly. He ignored her attention, pushing against his mother with one hand and digging at his left ear with the other, while continuing with the ear piercing cry.

Carson tried to explain. “He hardly got any sleep last night. Neither of us did. I've been giving him the baby Tylenol, but his fever keeps coming back. It's not his asthma. I thought maybe he was teething, but I don't really see any other signs.” It was Sunday and Logan 's regular doctor wasn't available for even a phone consultation.

“How long has he been rubbing his ear?” Drew asked as she visually examined the sick baby.

“He just started it a while ago. Do you think it's an ear infection?”

“Yeah I do. Don't worry buddy,” Drew told the cranky tot, “we're gonna make you feel better soon.” She kissed his warm forehead. “Let me go home and get a few things. I'll be right back.”

Running there and back, Drew returned in just a few minutes. Logan was still squirming in Carson 's arms. “I hear ya,” Drew yelled above his cries. “Okay, here we are.” She fumbled with a few different items in her hands, setting aside everything but the largest one. “Hold still Sweetie,” she cooed as she looked into his affected ear with a scope. “I've got some drops that will help sooth him for now. Then I'll go to the drugstore and get a prescription filled.” Drew efficiently administered the medicine and scribbled the pharmaceutical order.

Logan 's vocalizing quieted, but he still fussed a little as his mommy rocked him in her arms. Carson kissed him. “I love you,” she whispered, and then looked to the doctor. “Can you take him for a minute?” she asked tiredly.

Drew never hesitated at that request. “Sure.” She hugged him to her, rubbing the back of his head, as Carson silently slipped out of the room. Drew hummed and laid him on his back in her arms. She lifted the bottle to his mouth and he drank down the Pedialite as his pain began to subside. Grabbing the thermometer, Drew quickly took another temperature reading.

Carson returned after changing clothes, splashing water on her face and running a brush through her hair. She felt much better too. Getting some water from the kitchen, she approached the pair. Logan now seemed somewhat at peace and she didn't want to disturb that. She had a seat and savored the refreshing drink.

“When is his next dose of Tylenol due?” Drew asked.

Carson checked the clock on the wall. “In about fifteen minutes.”

“Go on and give it to him now. And then I'll run to the drugstore.”

After Logan obediently swallowed the flavored liquid, Drew started to hand him back. Carson halted with a gentle hand. “Could you stay here and watch him while I go? I know he's not at his best, but I also know how much you like spending time with him.” She kissed him again as he drank some more. “I know it sounds bad, but I need a little break.”

“Of course I'll stay with him,” Drew assured. “And Carson , it does not sound bad. You have to do this all alone, and although you do a wonderful job, you do need a break now and then, especially when he's sick. We'll be fine.”

* * *

Logan was napping by the time Carson returned. She padded quietly into the house and put away the other items she had purchased at the pharmacy, including some ice cream for later. She tiptoed to the door of the family room and silently watched her sleeping son and her friend. The two had an obvious link. Logan worshipped Drew. But Carson had never felt threatened or jealous of that relationship. She was confident of her bond with her son.

Drew kept a steady rhythm with her foot as the rocker tipped back and forth. She lovingly gazed at the snoozing babe, running a finger across his forehead, moving aside some unruly blonde strands. She lifted his upper body, kissing his downy head. He smelled of shampoo and innocence. Drew looked up and caught sight of Carson peering around the corner. The blonde stepped inside and crossed the room.

“I don't want to put him in his bed quite yet, until I'm sure he's going to stay asleep,” Drew explained. “Why don't you go take a nap and I'll watch over things out here.”

Carson was tired. “Are you sure?” she asked.

“Absolutely.”

Carson took another close look at her son before heading to her room. Once there, she sat on the bed and removed her shoes. The picture on the nightstand caught her eye and she brought the photo of Logan closer to her. “Oh sweet boy,” she murmured. “I'm glad you have Drew in your life. She has such tender, nurturing qualities. And it's much more than being a doctor. She'd be a really wonderful moth…” Carson caught her own gaze in the mirror on the wall. She studied the confused eyes for a long time, until they wearily slipped shut. “I'm sorry Drew,” she whispered sadly.

* * *

 

Carson emerged from her room about two hours later. She saw that the door to the nursery was shut so she quietly moved down the hall. Drew was still there, reading a magazine, the baby monitor by her side. She smiled when her friend had a seat nearby. “How is he?” was the first thing Carson asked.

“He's fine. I just checked on him a while ago. His fever is down.”

Carson sighed. “Good.”

“How do you feel?” Drew asked.

“Better now.”

Drew set aside her magazine. “What would you like for dinner?” she asked. “I'll make a run to the grocery.”

Carson still appeared drained, but she protested the offer. “You don't have to do that Drew. You've done so much already.”

Drew revealed her pragmatic side. “Well, I either go home, stand in my kitchen, cook a meal for one, and pathetically eat alone, or I stand in your kitchen, cook for two and share a meal with pleasant company.”

Carson chuckled. “Since you put it that way. But if you're cooking, you decide what to make.”

About two hours later, Drew was sautéing some vegetables to go with the chicken baking in the oven. A big pot on the back burner held potatoes under the boiling water, which later would be mashed with butter and seasonings. Carson was sitting at the table with Logan by her side in his high chair. She had made him some macaroni and cheese, which was one of his favorites. He didn't have his usual generous appetite, but he was slowly eating.

Drew stepped over to the table to get the pepper mill. She brushed Logan 's hair with her fingers. “I wish I had been here last night to help you with him,” she said, remorsefully. “I would have come over, no matter the time.”

“You have your own life Drew and every right to spend the night wherever you want.”

Drew grinned slightly. So you did notice that I was gone all night, huh? “I went to visit my mother yesterday afternoon. We talked so late into the night, she didn't want me to drive back in the dark. I didn't want to worry her so I stayed the night.”

Carson laughed a little to take the sting out of her next words. “You don't owe me an explanation Drew.”

The doctor checked on her poultry in the oven. “I understand. I just wanted you to know.”

* * *

 

“Guess what I just got?” Carson asked as she talked to her best friend on the phone.

“The hiccups? A tattoo? Poison ivy?”

Carson laughed. “Oh Drew, you're such a comedian. Then there's now.”

Drew giggled at the jibe. “Sorry.” She took a deep breath. “What did you just get Carson ?” she asked excitedly.

“You know, now I'm not gonna tell you. It'll just have to wait until you come down here and see for yourself.”

“Issss that an invitation?” Drew didn't want to assume.

“Sure. Can you bring some popcorn; I forgot to get some.”

“You betcha. See ya in a few.”

* * *

 

“Corner.” With a smack of the cue, the solid green pool ball dropped into the designated pocket. “Ha, ha!” Carson cheered. “One more little ball and I win the first game”

“Ah yes, but it is just the first game my dear. The night and this tournament are far from over.” Drew smiled wickedly before she guzzled her glass of water.

With the edition of the pool table, Carson 's basement game room was now complete. There was a bar area in one corner, complete with a sink and a small refrigerator. Next to the bar stood an old fashioned, full size popcorn machine, which she had gotten for a real bargain on EBay. In the other corner was a pinball machine, themed with Warner Brother's Cartoons. All in all, it was a very entertaining place, for two…or more people to have fun. But Carson figured that its two current occupants would be sharing in that fun most frequently.

On her next shot, Drew got a little over zealous and accidentally pitched a striped ball right off the red table top. The ball hit the concrete wall with a solid thump. The dark haired doctor's face pinched in a tight grimace at her error. Carson crumbled to the floor in gales of laughter, which soon became contagious.

Their relationship finally felt back on track. They could tease with joy. Laughing came easily and was not strained. They felt comfortable in mutual silence. Their friendship was a pleasure that Drew and Carson could luxuriate in once again.

* * *

 

The fourth game ended with a victory for Drew, but the mini tournament finished in a tie. The tired pair sat at the tall bistro table in the corner, and the doctor munched on a salted pretzel. A gentle silence settled over the table as the snack was enjoyed. After several minutes Drew asked a surprising question. “Have you ever been drunk?”

“No.” Carson made a face. “I really don't like the taste of alcohol all that much. I like a beer every once in a while, but nothing like whiskey. Why do you ask?”

A shoulder shrugged. “I don't know; I guess it's just one of those interesting little tidbits I'd like to know about you.”

Interesting tidbits can be fun. “How about you?” Carson asked, but immediately held up a hand, stalling the answer. “No; let me guess. It was during those wild and wicked days of gods and drag kings.”

Drew smiled coyly. “What can I say? Just, thank God I've matured since then. It takes a lot for me to get really drunk. A few beers just makes me a little silly.”

The blonde head nodded thoughtfully, an idea germinating. “Want to get a little silly with me?”

 

To be continued...

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