Taught by Love

by Zoe

"If you’ve got a minute, Noelle, I’d like to speak with you real quick," Tony said even before greeting the English teacher.

As Noelle checked in she looked at him curiously. "What’s up?" She turned her full attention to the man behind the counter. "What happened?"

Tony nodded toward his office. "Let’s go in." He waited for her to precede him, and, before closing the door, he asked Joan to have Molly join them. Just as they were seating themselves around the small table, there was a quick knock on the closed door.

"Come," Tony called.

Noelle felt the blush creeping up her neck to her face at his word. I did. Often, she thought, blushing a brighter red.

Molly knew, even before entering the office, that the woman on the other side of the door would be blushing. She wasn’t disappointed. The tall woman had to consciously divert her eyes from the small teacher.

"You wanted to see me, Tony?" she asked without preamble. She motioned Tony to keep his seat when he made to stand when she entered.

"Sit down. Please." He waited until Molly seated herself before continuing. "Want to fill Ms. Potter in on what you know?"

Molly nodded and turned to the woman in question. "As you know, the last couple of weeks with Mr. Kline have been getting worse. Last night he was arrested for assault. Jim-"

"Jilly?" Noelle asked, feeling the shock race through her.

Molly shook her head. "No, thank God. It was another young man from another school. Apparently they were at some hangout in Karlsburg when it happened. It wasn’t Jilly," Molly reassured the teacher. "But the fact remains he was arrested. He was released to his father on $3000 bail." She looked closely at Noelle, knowing the woman wasn’t going to take the next bit of information easily. "Jim is bringing him in this morning. And every morning hereafter until we can get him out of here."

"But… why are we getting him out of here?" Noelle asked in confusion. She turned to Tony. "I know I got upset in our last meeting about the whole Jilly situation, but maybe… maybe we can help him. Why do we have to get rid of him? He’s a good boy." Noelle sounded, and looked, totally bewildered. "I don’t understand, Tony," she said softly. "He’s not some piece of old furniture that we just get rid of when we’re tired of it. He’s a good boy," she repeated in a whisper.

Tony sighed, the sound coming from deep within his soul. When he next spoke, he sounded weary and burned out. "I know you care about Tom, Noelle, but he’s just not safe anymore. He’s not safe in our school. He needs more help than we can give him."

"Let me talk with him. Let me see if I can find out what happened, why he’s doing this. I can get him to talk with me; he likes me. He’ll talk to me," Noelle responded, her voice intent. "I know he’ll talk to me if you just give me some time with him."


Both principal and teacher turned to look at the source of the word.

"Ms. Potter," Molly continued, her voice low and deceptively calm, "you cannot be alone with this student. He may have been a good student… once. Now he’s a felon. And dangerous. You are not to be alone with him."

Noelle shook her head. "You don’t know him. Tony," she said desperately, turning to the principal. "Remember when he was a freshman? Remember how he greeted all of us every morning, how he worked so hard? That boy is still in there somewhere. I can find him. Please let me do this. Please."

Tony stood up. "I’m sorry, Noelle. We’re just not equipped for this. I’m sorry," he repeated.

Noelle pushed her chair back and stood as well. She looked pointedly at Tony. "You may have given up, but I haven’t. I won’t."

The principal looked sharply at his teacher. "Don’t cross me on this, Ms. Potter. You are not to be alone with Tom Kline. Not for any reason," he stated clearly. "Do you understand me?"

Noelle looked at her boss for a long moment, the sorrow and pain evident in her eyes, before dropping her eyes and nodding. Without another word, she picked up her bag and left the office.

Tony shook his head as he watched her walk away. "This job is too difficult for someone like her," he said, not looking at the dean.

"And it’s too easy for someone like us," Molly finished darkly before leaving.

***** ***** *****

"Okay, where is that stupid thing," Noelle mumbled. The teacher was looking for a paper on her desk when an office runner knocked on her door. "Yeah?" she asked, still lifting and moving things.

"Ms. Cartwright wants you to stop in to see her when you get a chance, Ms. Potter."

"Umm, tell her I’ll be right there. Thanks, Randy," she answered, not looking up.

The girl laughed. "How’d you know it was me?"

Finally Noelle did look up, and she smiled at the senior. "Your voice."

"Oh. Well, I have to go. I’ll tell Ms. Cartwright you’ll be there."

The woman nodded. "Thanks."

On her way to the office a few minutes later, Noelle gave herself a pep-talk. She’s probably going to whip some statistics or whatever at you. Just listen before you go getting all riled, Potter.

Even before entering the office, Noelle spotted the dean through the glass wall. Two sets of eyes… and two souls… connected briefly. No matter what, she’s still Molly, Noelle thought. She’s always just Molly.

When she reached the office door, she took a deep breath before pushing it open. Molly stood behind the counter going over some discipline forms.

"You needed to see me, Ms. Cartwright?" she asked formally for the benefit of the students in the room.

Molly smiled warmly, her heart loving Noelle even though her body wasn’t able to right then. She pointed to her office, silently asking Noelle to follow her in. As Noelle seated herself, Molly shut the door but didn’t latch it. Then she walked around the blond woman to sit in her chair behind her desk.

"Okay, listen," she began, immediately jumping in with both feet. Mom always said not to do that. Oh well, I was never good at listening. "Tony’s doing all that he can, Noelle. He’s doing everything legally that he can. Hell, he’s even breaking the law for Kline."

"Law? What are you talking about?" Noelle asked in confusion. "What law is Tony breaking?"

Molly grabbed a piece of paper that had some notes jotted on it. She scooted her chair closer and leaned across the desk, showing the paper to Noelle. "Act 26 of the Pennsylvania school code. It’s the Safe Schools act." When this didn’t appear to ring a bell, Molly asked, "The Zero Tolerance law?"

"Oh yeah. Well why didn’t you just say so?" she asked.

"I did!" Molly exclaimed. "About a thou-" She stopped when she saw Noelle grinning. "Oh. You were teasing," she finished lamely.

Noelle laughed out loud. "Mmhm." Then she leaned in closer to the dark woman. "I like to do that," she whispered, a wicked twinkle in her eye.

Molly leaned further forward, as well. "Remember," she cautioned in a low voice. "Paybacks are a bitch."

Noelle grinned again. Then she sat back in her chair, breaking the connection. "So Tony’s going against Act 26 by keeping Tom in school when he’s been convicted of a violent crime, is he?"

Molly blinked, momentarily caught off guard by the change in the atmosphere. She recovered quickly, however. "Yes. He is, I am, Dr. Barnes is. We all are."

"Well good. Not every law makes sense. That one certainly doesn’t," Noelle said with conviction.

Molly looked intently at the woman across from her. "You’re kidding again, right?"

"Absolutely not. Not every law makes sense all the time," Noelle repeated.

"Like which ones?" The dark woman asked incredulously.

"The seatbelt law," Noelle answered immediately.

"What? Why doesn’t that make sense? Wear your seatbelt and it’ll save your life someday."

"But why is it a law?" Noelle asked. "How does it affect my driving ability? How will it improve my chances of avoiding an accident? I understand, and completely agree with, speed limits and the like. But the seatbelt law is rather silly."

"Seatbelts save lives," Molly informed her. Good God, she’s serious, Molly thought incredulously. No way.

"I’m not disputing that fact," Noelle answered reasonably. "What I’m saying is that as a law, it doesn’t make sense. At least not for a functioning adult. I believe I’m a reasonably intelligent, fairly rational adult, certainly capable of making my own decisions. If I’m stupid enough not to wear a seatbelt when I know the potential harm that can come to me if I’m in an accident, well then, I’m just plain stupid," she finished cheerfully. And sensibly. "The government doesn’t have any business telling me that if I don’t wear my seatbelt, risking my own life, and get caught, that I’ll be fined." She paused for a moment. "Kids, of course, are definitely different. They can’t make their own decisions and should not be subjected to mom or dad’s idiocy."

"But…" Molly couldn’t even begin to process the argument. She was completely speechless. "That’s… wow." She shook her head. "Let’s, uh, get back to the Kline thing."

Noelle chuckled. "What’s wrong? Cat got your tongue?" she teased.

A dark eyebrow rose. She wants to play, huh? "Oh yeah," she purred softly. "Pussy’s definitely got my tongue… and my fingers… my lips…"

At the soft words, the blond blushed furiously. "Oh," she breathed, her green eyes wide. "You’re so bad, Molly Cartwright."

"That’s not what you were saying the other night when I was-"

"Umm," Noelle interrupted. "I have to go. We’ll finish this another time," she finished in a rush of words. Not waiting for a reply, Noelle beat a hasty retreat out of the office. She grinned when she heard Molly laughing. She’s toast tonight. Noelle strode back to her classroom, plotting her revenge on the dark woman.

After school that day, Molly stopped to say good night to Tony before leaving the building.

"Any special plans this weekend, Molly?" he asked conversationally.

"Not anything specific, no," she answered. "Good night."

"Have a good weekend."

As she got in her Rover, Molly shivered in the cold. "Oh yeah, Tony," she mumbled as she let the vehicle warm up. "I have special plans. I plan on spending the weekend snuggling in front of the TV with the woman I adore. Bring her breakfast in bed, make love with her again and again until she needs me to stop but wants me to continue. Special plans? You bet."

The dark woman drove home, wanting to change her clothes and grab a few things before going to Noelle’s. She parked in front of the house and, as soon as she kicked the door closed, she was undressing on her way to her bedroom. Just as she threw her sweater into the hamper, the phone rang. Her heart warmed and she grinned when she heard the soft, familiar voice. "Hey you."

"Hi," Noelle greeted her.

"Whatcha doin’?" Molly asked.

"Nothing. I was, umm, wondering if, maybe, I could come over, well, to your house tonight," Noelle asked hesitantly.

"Well, sure," Molly agreed, a bit surprised at the request. "But why?" she asked.

She could almost hear the other woman shrug.

"I don’t know," Noelle responded. "I just… don’t want to be here tonight."

Molly grew concerned at the words. "Why? What’s wrong, honey?"

"Nothing. Can I come over?"

Realizing the tactic as the avoidance it was, Molly still let it go. "Yeah. I’ll be here. If I’m not, just let yourself in the back door, okay?" Molly instructed.

"Okay. Thank you, Molly," Noelle said, sighing in relief.

"See you in a few. Drive careful, got it?" the dark woman growled.

Noelle chuckled. "Yes ma’am."

"Good. That’s what I like to hear." It was on the tip of Molly’s tongue to say "I love you", but she kept that inside. "See you when you get here."

Molly strode to the kitchen after throwing on a pair of heavy flannel pants and a sweatshirt. Quickly she flipped open the pantry and found… nothing. Ah crud. Better hustle it to Shur-Fine. The dark woman slipped into her coat and boots. As she tied them she reminded herself she really needed a pair of Sorels.

When Molly returned from her jaunt to the small grocery in town, she smiled when she saw the Jimmy parked at the end of the dead-end street. She’s good, Molly thought, a grin lighting her dark features. She grabbed the bags and the pizza box and made her way inside. After putting away the few groceries, she stopped in the foyer to hang up her things. The barefooted woman padded into the living room. The sight that greeted her made her heart skip a beat.

Noelle was waiting for her.

The small blond was curled up in a corner of the big couch, her feet tucked under her, her head on the cloth arm. She was watching the TV, the sound turned down low, but when she noticed Molly standing in the doorway, she clicked off the TV and smiled sleepily.

"Hi," she said, her voice soft. She held out her arm to the dark woman, wanting Molly next to her.

Without hesitation, the tall woman settled herself quickly next to Noelle. She wrapped her arms around the smaller body. Noelle, for her part, swiveled around to rest her head on Molly’s shoulder, enjoying the sound of the steady heartbeat under her ear. Molly reached for the remote and turned the TV back on. It wasn’t long before the tired woman was dozing off, Molly’s heartbeat and the TV sounds enveloping and soothing her.

Molly smiled as she felt Noelle’s body relax into hers. She combed her fingers rhythmically through the blond locks. She loved this woman, more than she thought possible in such a short time, so much more than she loved any living person. She felt her so deeply inside her heart that Molly knew that she’d never get Noelle out. And she didn’t want to.

As she held Noelle, Molly’s heart swelled with the emotions the small woman stirred in her. The feelings of love and desire and emotion flowed through Molly, and she cherished them. She needed this, needed this woman in her life. She felt her throat constrict with the strength of her love.

Suddenly the need to love Noelle roared through Molly, and the movements of her hands changed. No longer were they meant to soothe; they were meant to arouse. She shifted slightly, bringing her body into more direct contact with Noelle’s. She put a finger under the small, pointed chin and tilted the heart-shaped face up, brushing her lips gently across the pink lips under them.

Long lashes fluttered open and confused green eyes looked around the room. "Are you okay?" Noelle asked, her voice sleepier than before. Seeing the look in the blue eyes, she became concerned. She cupped Molly’s face in her hands and looked deeply into intense eyes. "Tell me?" she asked in a whisper, her voice filled with love and care. But instead of a verbal answer, Noelle received a physical one.

Molly grabbed Noelle in a fierce hug, her lips blindly seeking their mate. She slid her tongue into the warm mouth when she felt it open for her. One hand moved to bury in the short blond hair while the other slid down a thigh and back up to Noelle’s backside to knead the flesh firmly.

Noelle continued to hold the other woman’s face in her hands, as if it were a gift beyond measure. And to her, it was. What Noelle felt for this woman was incomprehensible. Incomprehensible to her heart, her mind, and her soul. It was something she’d never before experienced, and it scared her. But, at the same time, she could almost physically feel the metal bands around her heart weakening and loosening. She pulled back, slowly opening her eyes. Dark blue were already looking at her.

"I want to love you," Molly whispered, her hands moving to clasp Noelle’s smaller ones. "I want to see you naked in my bed, your arms held out to me. Please, Noe. Let me love you."

Seeing the desperation in her eyes, and hearing it in the husky voice, Noelle simply nodded. She didn’t know, nor did she understand, what was going through Molly’s mind. But she did know she wanted to give the dark woman whatever it was she desired. She stood up and held out a hand to Molly, a gentle smile on the beautiful face. "Come on, Molly," she coaxed. Molly took her hand, and together they walked into the bedroom.

Much later, when both women were sated for the moment, Molly was holding Noelle’s warm body close to hers, her body spooning the smaller one. She thought Noelle was sleeping, and she felt herself drifting lazily as well. She was alerted to the fact that Noelle wasn’t sleeping when she heard her mumble something. She tightened her arm and kissed a freckled shoulder. "What’d you say, sweetheart?"

"Why? Why won’t Tony let me help him? Why won’t you?" Noelle asked in a small voice, the bewilderment from this morning again showing.

Molly sighed, her heart breaking at the pain in Noelle’s voice. "Oh, sweetheart. I'm so sorry you're upset. But we… we just can't do it anymore. We've let him stay long enough as it is," she explained.

"But why won't you let me talk with him?" Noelle asked again. "Why? I know I could help him, find out why he’s doing this. Why won’t you let me help him?"

Molly pulled the small body closer. "Because it's not safe. He's not safe. We need to protect everyone involved, and that includes you, love." The dark woman paused, taking a moment to gather her thoughts. But she found it too difficult, so she abandoned the idea and simply spoke her heart. It wasn't easy, but she knew it would be worth it. "I can't let anything happen to you, Noelle. I can protect you from this. I can make sure he won't hurt you," she finished softly, absently.

There was a long silence, then "He won't."

Molly drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly. "You don't know that, honey. You don't know for sure that he won't hurt you. He's not the same boy he was 3 years ago," she reasoned gently.

"Yes he is! Something just happened. Something's made him this way." The blond paused. "We're not helping him."

The words ended with a catch in Noelle's voice.

Molly brought her hand up from Noelle's waist to stroke her cheek, and it was then that she felt the tears. "Noe? Sweetheart? What's wrong, babe? Tell me," she urged, running her fingers through Noelle's short hair. "Please tell me."

"You won't let me… help him," Noelle whispered shakily hands holding Molly's arm closer to her body. She closed her eyes tightly against the tears. "I should have been paying more attention to him. I should have seen. I let him fall."

"No. No, now you listen to me, Noelle Potter," Molly said firmly, propping herself up on an elbow. "You do more in one day for those kids than most teachers do in a month. I see how you go out of your way to talk to them. You listen, honestly listen to them when they talk. You just don't teach; you have fun. And so do they because of that. You are one of the best teachers I've ever had the good fortune of meeting."

"I didn't help him," Noelle whispered in an anguished voice.

"Oh, babe. You didn't fail Tom," Molly reassured the upset woman. "You didn't fail him. The system did." Molly paused. "You did not fail him," she reiterated.

Another long silence ensued. Then suddenly Noelle pushed her backside into the cradle of Molly's hips. "Touch me. I need you to touch me." She started to roll toward the bigger body behind her, but was stopped by a firm hand on her hip.

Molly's low voice spoke directly into her ear, sending shivers through her body. "No. Let me show you this way," she whispered.

Noelle nodded in agreement, needing right then, more than anything, to be touched by the other woman.

Molly slowly ran a light hand from Noelle's hip, across her belly, and to her breast. She cupped the small woman in her hand, brushing her thumb across the already taut nipple. She slowly ground her hips into the firm backside, the movement causing Noelle to gasp.

The blond woman closed her eyes, the sensation of Molly's body moving sensuously against hers almost too much for her. She wanted to plead with the dark woman to hurry. But a part of her, some small, remote part, told her it would be worth the wait.

If it didn't kill her first.

Noelle leaned her head back, turning so she was almost able to see Molly. But not quite. She groaned, closing her eyes again. She pushed back against Molly, her body aching to be filled by those fingers that knew exactly how to ignite the fire inside. When she felt Molly's hand flitting across her stomach, she took hold of that big hand and slowly brought it right where she wanted it.

Molly leaned in to suck gently on Noelle's exposed neck, once again thankful for short hair. She used her teeth as she sucked the fair skin, knowing she would mark Noelle is she wasn't careful. Molly dragged her tongue to Noelle's shoulder, and there she bit her gently, wanting to leave a mark there, knowing she could.

"Molly!" Noelle yelped, the need almost overwhelming her. "Please… how do I… God," she moaned.

Molly chuckled wickedly at the moan and the frustration. "What's wrong, Noe? Cat got your tongue?" she teased, her hand moving back to touch Noelle's breast again, this time more firmly. At the same time she lightly pinched the sensitive nipple, she bit Noelle's shoulder again. She knew the blond was close when she cried out her name. Deciding to finally take pity on the desperate woman, Molly gently urged Noelle's top leg forward. "Bring you leg up, sweetheart, so I can touch you," she instructed. "I want to be inside of you, touching you, feeling how wet you are, how hot for me." Her tongue flicked out to trace a delicate ear, stopping to nip the lobe.

Noelle moaned softly, reaching a hand back to grip Molly's hip. Her fingernails dug into the skin there. She slid her leg forward, bending her knee, at the same time pushing back into Molly insistently.

The dark woman smiled when she felt the nails digging into her hip. Looks like I'll carry a mark, too. And it was a mark she would bear with pride. She traced a finger slowly down Noelle's thigh, then up the back of it to her backside.

"Molly, please," the small woman whimpered, pulling Molly's hip closer.

Suddenly fingers were stroking the wetness between her legs from behind. Noelle's body trembled with arousal and anticipation.

"Tell me what you want, Noelle." Molly breathed hotly. "What do you want me to do?" She leaned in to once again suck the skin at Noelle's shoulders. When the other woman didn't answer immediately but instead just squirmed, Molly slid just the tip of her finger inside Noelle, reveling in the slick tightness that surrounded her. She stayed still; the only thing moving was her mouth as she spoke to Noelle.

She nipped the blond again, then she repeated the command softly. "Tell me what you want, sweetheart."

Noelle drew in a deep breath, the sound deep and shaky. "I want… you," she whispered raggedly, her desire overrunning any coherency.

"How? Tell me how you want me," Molly insisted. "All the way inside of you?" she asked as she slowly slid her finger all the way inside of the woman, the younger woman gasping at the feeling. "Or do you want me to touch you here?" she asked, withdrawing her finger from the wet heat and sliding it up to briefly stroke Noelle's sensitive clit.

Noelle just nodded, her hand searching for Molly's to bring it back where she wanted it.

Molly chuckled, her breath on the back of Noelle's neck making the small nipples almost painfully hard. "Where do you want me, Noe? It can be only one."

"You have… two hands," Noelle gasped.

"So I do. But my left is under my pillow," Molly informed her.

"Move it," the blond demanded raggedly.

Molly smiled at Noelle’s tenacity. Long fingers whispered down a thigh, the downy hair standing on end. Then sharp nails were dragged back up, stopping at springy curls. Again a finger lightly stroked the wet folds. "Do you know how much you turn me on? Seeing you like this, touching you like this, makes me so wet. You make me throb with wanting you, Noelle. I want your hands on my body so badly right now."

The words aroused Noelle even more, if that was possible. Her body throbbed, needing Molly's touch. She wanted this woman to ease the ache inside of her body. And she needed her to soothe the ache in her heart. She wanted to feel Molly inside of her heart and soul. But the overwhelming desire at that moment was the need to feel Molly inside of her body. Again she searched for the big hand, and again she dragged it around her stomach. Then lower. But the hand didn't stay there. It slid down her thigh, and Noelle pulled it back up again.

Molly grinned again at Noelle's determination, strangely proud of her. But she wasn't about to let her off that easily. "Inside or out, Noe?"

"Both," was the whispered reply.

"Uh-uh. Can't." A finger glided through the wet folds. Then it slid inside of Noelle, causing Noelle to push against Molly's hips. Molly rubbed her body against Noelle, making the other woman burn hotter. Molly slid a finger inside Noelle. "Inside?" Then the finger was pulled out and moved to her clit, touching it gently. "Or outside?"

"Stop teasing," Noelle hissed, wanting more of Molly's touch.

Molly laughed. "The little cat has teeth. I like teeth," she growled as she nipped the shoulder in front of her. "Okay now, how about this?" She reached for Noelle's hand and moved it between her own legs. "You stay here," she instructed, the words quickly sinking into Noelle's brain. "And do what you have to." Then Molly slid her hand behind Noelle, taking a moment to lightly scratch the firm backside before sliding boldly into the wetness. "While I stay here and do what I have to do," she whispered as she began to slowly move her finger.

"Ohhh… Molly," Noelle moaned. She moved her finger against her own body, the feelings racing toward a quick finish. When she felt Molly's hips moving against her, she began to move with the other woman.

"Talk to me," Molly whispered in her ear, her finger thrusting deeply inside of Noelle. "Tell me what you feel."

Noelle just shook her head, not answering the woman.

Molly moved faster and harder inside of Noelle. "Tell me," she growled in her ear, sensing that the other woman might not be right with her.

Noelle whimpered, a sound that was more fear than desire. "I'm… Molly, I'm afraid." She lay perfectly still, the only thing moving the rapid rise and fall of her chest.

Molly didn't stop; she just whispered reassuringly to her. "Don't be afraid, Noe. It's me. I'm not him. I love to be inside of you like this, loving you this way. I'm not him."

Noelle listened to the words and felt the hand on her body, knowing it would be all right. She felt the reassuring presence of the woman behind her. She gradually came back to Molly, her body once again straining for the peak.

"I love to do this with you," Molly growled again. "I love to be inside of you fast and hard like this. I think you like it, too."

Instead of being shocked at the words, Noelle was even more turned on. And so close, so very close.


Molly bit her shoulder harder as she thrust deeply inside of Noelle. "Feels good, doesn't it? I'm fucking you, Noelle. And it feels good, babe. So good."

"Oh God… yeah…" Noelle moaned. "Feels so good… I'm so close… I need…"

"You want to come for me now, Noe? You ready to come?" Molly asked unnecessarily. When she felt the quick nod and the short gasp, Molly stopped moving.

"Now, Noelle. Come for me now," she commanded, her finger inside the woman’s body still.

At the words, and with only a few more strokes of her finger on her body, the tremors swept quickly through Noelle, spreading like wildfire to every part of her body. She bucked against the finger inside of her, her body gripping it tightly.

As soon as Molly felt Noelle’s body start to tighten even more, she thrust her finger again. She grinned in triumph when the spasms started around her finger.

"Oh, babe. You feel so good. You’re so tight; it feels so good," she whispered between nips and licks. "So good," she growled.

Noelle moaned low and long, the sound further incensing the dark woman. Gradually her body stilled, and she went completely limp against the woman behind her. She sighed tremulously and reached a hand back to bury it in Molly’s dark hair.

"Oh my."

Molly moved her finger inside of Noelle, the younger woman gasping.

"Molly, please," she pleaded. "You… I… oh hell, stop!" she squeaked. The sound turned into a low groan when Molly removed her finger. Then the blond exhaled and snuggled back into the bigger body, needing the security of Molly’s arms around her. "Thank you."

Molly shook her head as she wrapped her arm around Noelle, her dark hair moving against the flowered pillowcase. "Don’t thank me. You don’t need to thank me for something I want to do for you."

Noelle squirmed around until she was facing the other woman. She smiled gently at Molly. "I really like you," she whispered. "And I’ll thank you for everything you ever do for me. Now, I want to kiss you," she finished as she buried her hands in the dark hair.

Molly smiled in return as she leaned her head toward Noelle. "You bet I’ll kiss you." But just as her lips were about to brush Noelle’s, the other woman ducked her head and kissed the broad shoulder.

"I didn’t say there, Molly," she said sexily, a wicked gleam in her green eyes when she looked into blue.

Molly looked into those eyes and prayed she’d have the strength. Then Noelle grinned at her. Leered is more like it, she thought briefly. The last coherent sentence that she uttered was "Oh my."

***** ***** *****

It was dark when Molly got out of bed. She stepped into the bathroom and grabbed her robe from the hook on the door. After using the facilities, she padded to the kitchen to warm up the pizza and grab a couple of Coronas. The big woman stuck the pizza in the oven after turning it to 450*. That oughta take care of it. Leaving the pizza to heat up, Molly walked back into the bedroom to wake up the woman who held her heart.

The dark woman knelt on the bed and nuzzled Noelle’s neck. The warmth and scent of the small body stirred the embers once again. Knowing, though, that Noelle would be hungry, she banked the fire for later. As much as the woman wanted to love Noelle awake, she knew that particular method would require time. And she wanted to feed the woman in bed before the beast got out of control.

"Noelle," she whispered, kissing her on the cheek. "Noe, come on, babe," she coaxed. "Let’s get something to eat."

Noelle mumbled something, but Molly couldn’t make out the words. "What’d you say, honey?"

"Lie with me," the sleepy woman repeated, not opening her eyes.

Molly complied immediately, her long body sprawled on top of the bedclothes. She lay on her side, one hand pillowing her head, the other playing absently with Noelle’s hair. "Aren’t you hungry?"

Still without opening her eyes, Noelle’s hands found their way unerringly into Molly’s robe to caress the warm skin of her belly and sides.

"Kiss me," she commanded softly.

Molly leaned in to kiss the other woman, her lips brushing Noelle’s tenderly.

Noelle deepened the kiss, burying her hand in the dark hair and holding Molly still. She flicked Molly’s lips until they opened slightly for her, then she slid her tongue inside to tangle with Molly’s. Her other hand she moved to cup Molly’s full breast, her thumb tracing circles around the hardening nipple. Noelle broke the kiss, moving her mouth to Molly’s neck. Both hands touched Molly, teasing and caressing the bigger body.

Molly made a soft sound of arousal that quickly turned into a gasp when a warm, wet mouth closed over her nipple. She arched into that mouth, silently asking for more.

And Noelle gave her more. She sucked gently at first, then with increasing strength, her teeth scraping sensitive flesh. She swirled her tongue around the nipple before sucking again.

"On, Noelle," Molly sighed, her hands rubbing the slender back.

Encouraged by the tone of Molly’s deep voice, Noelle slid a hand down a well-muscled thigh, her fingers firm on the skin. Her hand came back up to join the other in untying the knot of the robe’s belt. Slowly she pushed the cloth aside, revealing what was hidden beneath. As she moved lower, kissing skin as she went, Noelle heard a strange sound. She tried to ignore it, but it got louder, sounding almost as if it was right outside the bedroom. Between kisses and licks, Noelle mentioned it.

"You know, Molly," she began softly. "I’ve heard of people seeing stars," she licked around an exposed nipple, "at a time like this." A warm mouth again closed on hard flesh. "But I never heard of hearing beeps," she finished after a few delicious seconds pleasuring the bigger woman.

"Hearing beeps?" Molly asked in confusion. "What bee- Oh shit!" she yelped, shoving Noelle off of her. "The pizza!" Molly rolled off the bed and hit the floor at a sprint, her loosened robe flapping around her legs.

Noelle lay in stunned silence. What exactly just happened here? When she heard swearing and pans banging, she grew a bit worried. And the yelp of pain, accompanied by a loud bang, finally got her out of bed. Noelle slipped into Molly’s long-sleeved shirt, the garment falling mid-thigh, and walked in to the hall. The closer she got to the kitchen, the stronger the smell became of something burning. She stood in the doorway, watching as smoke plumed from the stove. Walking to where Molly stood at the sink, Noelle placed a small hand on the woman’s back and peeked around a broad shoulder.

"Uh, Molly? You burned something," she informed her needlessly.

Molly rolled her eyes and continued running cold water over her burned fingertips. "Thanks for sharing, Sport," she answered sarcastically, the humor apparent in her eyes and posture.

"No problem. Did you hurt yourself, poor baby?" she asked, inspecting the injured digits.

Molly shook her dark head. "Singed the tips some, that’s all. It’ll smart for a while, but nothing that’ll incapacitate me for long."

Noelle dropped the hand. "Good." She started to turn away to peruse the damage done to the pizza when she thought of something. She gasped, wide green eyes snapping to narrowed blue. "Those aren’t… those fingers, are they?" she asked in a horrified whisper.

A wicked grin washed over Molly’s face. She stepped closer to the smaller woman, pushing her back against the counter. She cupped Noelle’s firm backside and inserted a thigh between her legs, then she slid a hand around to stroke Noelle intimately. "No, they’re not those fingers," she whispered in Noelle’s ear. Feeling her get more aroused, she kissed her roughly, taking Noelle’s mouth hard. "You turn me on so much," she growled. "When I feel how hot and wet you are, I want to be so deep inside of you."

Noelle looked into smoldering blue eyes. "Yeah?" she asked seductively. She moved her hips against the hand touching her. "You want some of this?" she whispered, nipping Molly’s shoulder where the robe slid off. "You want me?"

Molly nodded, wanting Noelle very much.

Suddenly she was pushed away. She looked at Noelle in much confusion. "Huh?"

"Too bad for you, big girl. I’m hungry, damn it, and you burned what was probably the only food in this entire house," Noelle complained, waving her hands in mock frustration. "Je-SUS. Now what?"

Molly narrowed her eyes again and moved closer to Noelle. "I’m hungr-"

She was interrupted by a finger poking her in the nose.

"Forget it, pal. You ain’t gettin’ none a this," Noelle told her, gesturing to her body, "until you feed it." She leaned against the counter and folded her arms belligerently. The look in her eyes brooked no argument. "No… way," she emphasized.

A dark eyebrow raised. "Is that right?" Molly asked, folding her own arms.

"Damn straig… uh, hell yeah, that’s right. Now feed me, woman," Noelle ordered. "Right now." Seeing the other woman not moving fast enough for her liking, Noelle continued. "Now. Now. Now." With each word, she stamped her foot.

The dark woman just looked at her. "Bossy little shit, aren’t you?"

"Now, Cartwright, or you’ll be sorry you ever saw the likes of me."

"I like the likes of you, Potter," she growled playfully before stepping close again.

Noelle raised a hand. "Stop," she said haughtily. "Come no further. Get me food, woman."

Molly just raised her eyebrow again. "And if I don’t?" she asked.

Noelle sneered at her and bared her teeth. "You’ll be sorry."

Molly wiggled her fingers at Noelle. "Ooooh… I’m scared."

Suddenly Noelle dropped her eyes, and her voice was barely above a whisper. "Molly, please. I’m really hungry."

"Save it, toots," Molly growled.

Then Noelle was laughing when a long finger poked her in the side. "Ack! Molly, stop!" she laughed loudly. "Stop!" Noelle turned sparkling green eyes to the other woman. "Cut it out, you big goof."

Molly was totally enraptured by the woman in front of her. Her big shirt swallowed Noelle, emphasizing her smaller stature. The blond hair was sleep-tossed, and her skin flushed prettily. Noelle looked so very happy to Molly.

She smiled and gently shoved the blond toward the island in the middle of the kitchen. "Sit down. I’ll find you something to eat."

After she seated herself, Noelle rested her chin in her hands and watched Molly. "Don’t you want something to eat?"

The dark woman turned wicked blue eyes to Noelle for a moment before answering. "I do. But what I want will have to wait." She watched in delight as the blush crept across the fair skin.

Not moving from her position, Noelle just blinked at Molly. "I walked right into that, didn’t I?"

With a grin, Molly nodded. "Mmhm, you sure did."

"Thought so."

Molly laughed then, the feelings for this woman coursing through her. "I like you, Potter."

"Good. I like you, too," Noelle answered with a grin.

It wasn’t long before both women were seated and eating chicken noodle soup and crackers.

"Hey," Noelle said between spoonfuls of the hot liquid. "Got any plans for Thursday? Want to have dinner with us? It’ll be the usual Thanksgiving fare, nothing special. Mary wanted me to ask you to come."

Without looking at the dark woman, she finished, "Not one word, hon. Not one."

Molly chuckled. "You’re getting good at this. And I’d love to spend the holiday with you and Mary."

Noelle got up to put her things in the sink, the shirt lifting with her movements, providing Molly with tantalizing glimpses of firm flesh. After running water in the bowl, and over her hands, Noelle walked to stand behind Molly. Her hands once again untied the knot at Molly’s waist. Her cold hands found firm breasts and cupped them, the cold, and the touch itself, causing the dark woman to gasp.

When Molly felt thumbs caressing her nipples, making them hard, she let her breath out in a groan. She placed her hands flat on the table and closed her eyes. Her breathing got heavier when Noelle’s tongue traced the ridges of her ear. She tilted her head to allow better access for Noelle’s mouth when she felt the tongue snaking down her neck. A voice whispered in her ear.

"Of course I’m good."

Noelle stepped back abruptly. "Let’s see what’s on TV." Then she left the room.

My God, Molly thought. "You’re going to kill me, Noelle Potter!" she yelled after the departing woman.

Noelle poked her head back around the doorframe. "Yeah, but what a way to go," she replied with a big grin.

Molly followed the other woman into the living room. "You’re evil, you know?"

Noelle shook her head. "I prefer wicked, thank you very much. Now sit with me."

Both women sat on the couch, their feet propped side by side on the coffee table. They sat in companionable silence for some time, watching whatever it is the remote landed on and one of them liked.

"Hey, Noe?" Molly asked. She waited for the other woman to acknowledge the question.

"Hmm?" Noelle replied, clearly distracted by the TV.

"Why’d you want to come here today?" Molly turned to the other woman. "Did something upset you at school this afternoon?"

Noelle sighed, her attention no longer on the TV. "I… it was… nothing."

"I don’t believe you," Molly challenged softly. "You sounded funny on the phone this afternoon. Want to talk about it?"

"I said it was nothing. Now let it go," Noelle snapped, not wanting to discuss anything with the other woman.

"Noelle. Talk to me. Tell me what’s going through your mind."

The woman got up and began to pace. "I said to drop it, Molly."

The dark woman dropped her feet to the floor and leaned forward. "I don’t want to argue with you tonight, Noe. But I… I worry about you, sweetheart. You can’t keep it all inside. It’s not good for you."

There was a long pause. So long, in fact, that Molly began to wonder if Noelle was going to respond. Just when she was about to give up the waiting, the blond woman started talking.

She was standing at the front window, just staring out into the darkness. When she spoke, it was as if she was thinking aloud rather than engaging in a conversation with another person.

"Sometimes I wonder why I teach. Or maybe why I do more than teach. I wonder why I care what these kids think or feel, or what happens outside of school. I mean, my freaking job is to teach them literature and grammar. Nothing more, nothing less. So why do I care what goes on at home?"

Noelle shook her head and sighed, a sound both frustrated and desolate. A sound that came from the deepest part of her heart.

Molly said nothing, fearing any interruption would cause Noelle to stop talking. And she didn’t want her to stop.

Noelle audibly swallowed, her arms folded against her chest. Then she continued. "Hell, I don’t get paid to give a shit if any of them are getting beat up by their fathers. I don’t get paid to care if any of them are being abused by their boyfriends. I don’t get paid to do anything but teach. We’re not supposed to care what happens outside of school. We’re supposed to keep them safe when they’re in the building with us and teach them what we can. That’s it. We’re not supposed to care if they don’t get enough to eat. We’re not supposed to care."

Again Noelle paused, lost in her own thoughts. Molly scooted to the edge of the couch, ready to catch Noelle, both physically and emotionally, should she fall.

"It’s not my damned job to worry about them or care about them. It’s not in my contract to teach them morals and ethics. It’s not," Noelle whispered fiercely. "And from now on, I’m not doing it. I’m not. Leave it to the preachers and parents. Not me."

At that, at the tone of her voice, Molly stood and walked to stand behind Noelle. She didn’t touch her, but she wanted the other woman to know that she was right there for her.

"You can’t not care. I know you, Noelle Potter. You teach because you care. You care so you teach. Those kids, they need that. They need to know that, even though no one at home gives a shit, you care. You care." Molly didn’t know what more she could say to the teacher. She didn’t like the tone in Noelle’s voice one bit. It was so… empty.

"From now on," Noelle repeated, "I stop caring. It’s not my job to care. I’m teaching my subject, and that’s it."

Molly reached out and rubbed Noelle’s upper arms. "But you do care. That’s why it hurts so much. It’s because you care, love. And I don't think it's something you can just shut off."

"Yeah, well not anymore, damn it! I’m done caring," Noelle snapped. "Fuck it all. I don’t care what happens to them outside of my classroom, outside of the building. I’m teaching grammar and literature and that is it!" When she drew in a breath, it shook with anger and pain. "What the hell do I get out of it? What’s in it for me?" she asked. "It’s not like I’ll ever make a goddamned difference, anyway. What the hell can one stupid person do?" Not bothering to wait, Noelle answered her own question. "Not a fucking thing. So forget it."

Molly moved slightly closer, letting Noelle take strength from her presence. "Ah, Noe. I know you’re upset about Tom and Jilly. I know that. But don’t do that. Don’t give up." Pausing to gather her thoughts, Molly shook her head. "There is so much that one person, that you can do. Sometimes just knowing someone does care is enough for these kids."

"Please," Noelle said, the scorn clear in her words. She turned to face the other woman. "Do you honestly think people in other professions do more than is in their contract? Do you really think they go above and beyond? You’re deluding yourself if you think that, Molly." The blond practically sneered at the woman in front of her. "Get a clue. I don’t get paid to care. It’s not my job to care. Let the parents care. I’m finished."

The anger in the green eyes was almost startling to Molly. But instead of answering right away, she just opened her arms to Noelle and waited for her.

The look in those amazing blue eyes, the look on that face was enough to get through. After a few minutes of just looking at Molly, Noelle stepped into the waiting arms and held on for all she was worth. She buried her face in Molly’s chest, wanting to just forget it all for one night.

"Just one night," she whispered.

Molly rubbed her back soothingly. "One night for what, Noe?"

"I just want to stop feeling. I just want to forget." Noelle held tighter to Molly. "Just one night."

"One night of not hurting, right?" Molly asked softly.

The blond head nodded.

Molly kissed the golden hair. "Come on, babe. Let me hold you while you sleep. Let me watch over you." She led Noelle into the bedroom, stopping beside the big bed. When she reached for the hem of the shirt to lift it off the other woman, she was stopped by small hands on her.

"Please leave it," came the whispered request.

Molly nodded and looked into Noelle’s eyes, eyes that were full of pain and helplessness. She turned to the bed but was once again stopped by small hands on hers.

"I… please, I want to feel you."

The dark woman smiled and quickly untied the robe, letting it slip to the floor. She lay on the bed and held out a hand to Noelle. "Come lie with me."

When the blond was settled next to her, Molly wrapped her arms around her and held her close. "It's okay, Noe," she said softly, feeling the body gradually begin to relax.

"It’ll be okay."

Continued part 15

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