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Emily huffed around her apartment as she packed her bags for her trip to Texas. She was mad. In fact, she had never been mad at Gillian until that night. It had started out innocently. They talked about Emily's upcoming trip to Dallas for the Mahoney's anniversary party over their dinner. Emily had just mentioned Erin's offer to have her stay at the ranch when the doctor frowned, and the disagreement began. She asked that Emily stay at the hotel with the rest of the guests instead of at Erin's house. Even though it was what the blonde had intended, the fact that her girlfriend asked it of her made her feel as if Gillian didn't trust her. They argued about it, their voices escalating so much so that they started to gain attention at the restaurant where they had gone for a supposedly intimate meal before Emily left town. The attorney had left her girlfriend sitting there at the table and stormed out of the place. That had been a little over two hours ago.
Now Emily was packing and questioning if she could get over the hurt her lover had caused her. She wondered where Gillian was, because she hadn't come after her. Finishing with her bags, she flopped down onto her bed and stared at the ceiling. She felt bad even though she was still upset. If the roles had been reversed she thought she may have acted the same. Erin Mahoney was a magnet of sexual attraction, and not many were known to resist her. Single, married, gay, straight, it didn't seem to matter. People fell to her charms. Still Gillian had seemed more secure about Emily and Erin's relationship, past and present. It had never come between them before, so she wondered why this was different. She heard the front door to her apartment open downstairs. She sighed, knowing that it was Gillian. Getting off her bed, she started downstairs to find her girlfriend coming up. They met half way.
Gillian held a bouquet of flowers out to the blonde. "I'm sorry about earlier, Emily. I really do trust you. I never meant for it to sound otherwise. You can stay at Erin's house if you want. I trust your judgment implicitly."
"Thank you for saying that," she said taking her flowers. "It really hurt to think you didn't."
"I just want you to do what makes you comfortable. I don't want you to strain your friendship with Erin on my behalf. I know you have a unique situation because of your professional relationship. I want you to do what you think is best. If that's staying with her, then that's what I want you to do."
The blonde nodded, wrapping her arms around her lover's shoulders. She leaned in and kissed her gently. "Thank you for understanding. It means a lot to me, but I'm going to stay at the hotel."
The older woman gave a gentle smile. "Not because of me are you?"
"No. It's for the best."
"I'm glad you think so, too."
"You know, it's been almost a year since things ended with Erin, and I'm the one who ended them."
"I don't want her to come between us like this again."
"Neither do I. It was wrong of me to make you feel like I didn't trust you. I do. You have my heart, Em, so I have to trust you." They kissed again. "I brought your dinner home with me. Do you want me to heat it up for you?"
"No. I'm not hungry for that."
"Then what do you want?"
"You. Come upstairs and make love to me."
"With pleasure," Gillian replied, taking Emily by the hand. Together they made their way upstairs to the bedroom. Taking the lead between them, Gillian eased Emily's clothes from her body, all the while whispering how much she loved her. The blonde reciprocated in kind, helping her lover with her clothes until they stood naked at the foot of the bed. Gently edging the attorney down against the mattress, Gillian covered her frame with her own. They kissed slowly, just enjoying their closeness. "You are so lovely, Emily, so beautiful. I love you so much," the doctor murmured, taking in the blonde's neck with her lips as her hands caressed her sides before finding her breasts.
Emily moaned, gripping her lover's shoulders as she allowed the feelings to consume her. Gillian was always so good to her, always touching her the way she wanted. "Gillian," she whispered. Brown eyes met blue. The doctor gave a little smile before kissing her girlfriend's lips once again. Minutes passed with them just exchanging methodical kisses before the auburn-haired woman resumed her mission.
Traveling the length of Emily's body, she took in all the wonderment. No curve was left unexplored as Gillian's mouth and hands took in their fill. "You mean so much to me, Em. I don't ever want to fight with you again," she said, gently sliding into Emily's wetness.
Emily shook her head as she moaned. "Never again," she answered, clutching Gillian closer.
The couple made love for hours before drifting to sleep in each other's arms. The following day, the doctor took her girlfriend to the airport and sent her off with a loving kiss, reminding her of all she had waiting on her at home.
Emily thought about Gillian all the way to Texas. They had made up so tenderly. The attorney knew she had someone special in Gillian White. She felt incredibly loved and cared about. Idly she pondered their future together. They were nine-months old, and it had all been wonderful. She was exactly what Emily thought she wanted. Gillian made an effort to show she cared, and she loved her without reservation. There was no pretense between them. With Gillian what you saw was what you got. She was honest and real. She was unafraid of being vulnerable and sharing herself. In so many ways, she was perfect. There was only one problem. Erin, why do you vex me so? Why can't I get over you? I have the perfect girlfriend, but I can't help myself. I still want you, even as flawed as you are. It hurts so much to think of you with someone else. I can't stand that you're happy with Sahar. I wanted to be the one to make you happy.
The blonde knew it was too late. Erin was gone, lost to another. Whenever she thought about it, she couldn't help the pain that radiated from her chest. Tears flowed from her eyes at the idea of it. The anguish was still fresh, like it had happened yesterday. Her life had forever changed that night in the bar of The W Hotel, and seven months later it was still unbearable.
Upon her arrival at DFW airport, Emily went down to the baggage claim to retrieve her belongings. However, she was greeted by a surprise as she neared the baggage carousel. There was Erin holding a single pink rose and talking to some other people. She looked as she always did, the essence of casual sexiness. Her legs were encased in a pair of tight dark jeans that clung to every contour in the best way possible. She had on what appeared to be a new pair of brown boots. However, that day she wore a red knit short-sleeved shirt instead of a t-shirt as was her Texas attire. Her cowboy hat was missing, replaced with a Texas Rangers baseball cap, and the smile she wore as she spoke to those around her melted Emily's heart. Damn, you are impossible. Why do you have such a hold on me?
Just then dark eyes met Emily's and the smile grew wider as Erin came toward her. "Emily, hey. I'm so glad you made it," she greeted, bringing her into a hug. She pressed the rose into her hand without a word before looping her arm through the attorney's. "I want you to meet some people."
"I didn't expect to see you here," Emily voiced her surprise.
"Well, I was out here picking up some other people for the party close to the time you came in. I figured I have to take them to the hotel, so I might as well give you a lift, too. Unless you've made other arrangements."
"No. I was just going to get a cab."
"Then I'd be honored to drive you. Come on. Let me introduce you to these people, and then I'll get your bags."
Erin led her over to the small group and gave introductions before retrieving the blonde's belongings. Heading out to the parking lot, she put everyone's bags into her SUV while her passenger's settled themselves. Getting into the driver's seat, she was somewhat surprised to find Emily in the back seat sitting in the middle. However, secretly she was pleased, because it allowed her to steal looks at her through her rearview mirror as they drove the forty minutes to the hotel. Upon arrival, Erin proceeded to help everyone with their bags before turning her attentions to Emily once again.
"Listen, I don't know if you have plans tonight, but if you're free I'd like to invite you to a baseball game. The Rangers are playing, and the whole family is going. You're sort of the only one here without a date or family, and since Chuck and his partner aren't coming in until the morning, I thought you might be interested if you don't have other plans."
"That's a nice offer, but I don't want to intrude on the whole family thing."
"You won't. Daddy wants you to come. He asked me to make sure I invited you. Jared and I are both going to be there. You know several of us already. Tomorrow night you're seated with some of my cousins at the dinner. I just thought it might be nice to meet them tonight."
"If you're sure it's okay."
"Yeah, more than sure. We want you to come."
"Well, all right. What time?"
"Actually, soon. As soon as you check in, I need to take you over to my parents' house. We're all caravanning from there."
"All right. Let me check in. I'm not sure I have anything suitable for a baseball game. It's awfully hot. I didn't think I'd be outside that much."
"I'm going like this. We have a box that's air conditioned, so it's not going to be that hot. You look great just as you are," she complimented.
Both of them walked up to the front desk with Emily's luggage. The blonde checked herself into her room, and then Erin took her bags upstairs. She lingered in the doorway of the suite after she had put the bags on the bed. Emily took a few minutes to freshen up and change into more comfortable attire in her bathroom.
As Emily stood in the bathroom primping in the mirror, she sighed. What have I gotten myself into? I'm not even here two hours, and I'm already being swept up in her charms. So much for that quiet night alone relaxing in my robe and watching movies. Her eyes drifted to the pink rose she had placed on the granite counter top. All it takes is something so small for me to get lost in you. I can't do this. I can't let myself be moved this way. What about Gillian? You love her, and she loves you. Erin doesn't love you. She loves Sahar. Don't be foolish, Em. Don't read anything into this. You'll only get hurt. She brought the rose to her nose to smell its scent. The softness of the petals brushed over her lips. Still I can't help but wonder what you're thinking at times, Erin. What do you mean by this gesture? I wish you would just tell me. I wish I knew how to read you.
When she had finished changing, she made her way back out into her sitting area where Erin was. The brunette smiled. "You look nice."
"Thank you." Nervously she ran her hands over the khaki pants she had on. It was all she had that seemed suitable for outside activities. "Are you sure I'm not going to be hot?"
"You'll be fine. I like those sandals," she mentioned. "You have exceptionally pretty feet. I used to hate girls like you at the pageants," she joked.
Emily felt a blush rise to her cheeks as she looked at her own sandal-clad feet. Her toenails had been polished in a stylish French pedicure, and her spray-on tanner gave her skin a healthy glow. "Thanks."
"You know if I had feet like that, I'd wear sandals all the time. Mine are so huge. I'm embarrassed to have them seen in anything but boots. When I had to wear high heels, I felt like they were just mammoth."
"Your feet aren't that big. They're proportional to your height," she said as they left the room. Erin shrugged. They made their way to the car in silence. The Texan opened the door for her passenger. "Thanks," the blonde said as she got up into the front seat.
"Anything for you," Erin commented with a smile as she shut the door. Moving to her side, she asked, "Have you ever been to my parents' house?"
"I can't say that I have. Why?"
"Just wondering. They make my place look like a doll house. It's the most ostentatious thing I've ever seen. Borders on tacky, but my mother things it's elegant. I have half a mind to take all those pictures of the two of us off the walls. No one wants to see a bunch of has-been beauty queens."
"Oh, this should be fun. I haven't seen many photos of you in drag," Emily teased.
Erin laughed. "You'll see plenty over the next few days. Jared had a professional photographer make a video of stills from my parents' marriage. There are plenty of embarrassing ones of me in dresses."
"Speaking of dresses, what are you wearing tomorrow night to the party? Are you going to wear a dress?"
Erin scoffed at the idea. "You will never see me in a dress. If I never wore one again, it would be too soon. No, I had Jared and Daddy's tailor make me a tux. It's not like people don't already know about my transformation from queen to butch. It was Daddy's idea actually. I was worried about the best thing to wear, and he said he wanted me to wear a tux, because he knew I'd feel most comfortable in that. Mama's not thrilled, but I stopped listening to her a long time ago."
"I bet you're going to look so sexy. Is the rest of your family as accepting as your father and brother?" Emily questioned. They had never spoken about each other's family in much detail, so she was curious.
"Yeah. Most of our closest relatives are from California, L.A. and San Fran. They are much more open-minded. We're actually the only Mahoneys left in Texas, and we're only there because of the business. If we weren't into oil, I'm sure we'd all live on the West Coast. It's much more our style. Besides, I have a bunch of flaming queens for cousins, well, at least one of them. And then of course, there's my cousin Seamus, the transvestite. I'm tame compared to those guys. Talk about drag. They look better dressed as women than they do men. Don't be surprised if they show up tomorrow in make-up." There was a pause. "What about your family? I assume they know about you."
"Oh, yeah. They've always been supportive. My father was a bit upset at first, because he thought I would never get married or have children. It took awhile to convince him I could still have all those things if I wanted them. He's just old-fashioned about some things. He didn't want me to suffer the way he and Bob did. I think he thought he was going to miss his chance to plan my wedding," she joked lightly.
Erin turned quizzical eyes to her. "Who's Bob?"
"My father's partner. They've been together for twenty-five years."
"What? Wait a minute. You're telling me your father is gay? Where is your mom in this picture?"
The blonde shrugged. "I have no idea. I haven't seen her since I was little. I lived with her when I was young, but she gave me to Dad and Bob when I was seven, and I never saw her again."
"So your father and Bob raised you?"
"Was that tough, having gay parents?"
"Sometimes but I always knew they loved me. Looking back, I was much better off with Dad and Bob than my mother. She was in an unhealthy relationship with this guy. Even as a kid, he creeped me out. He was mean, violent temper. He didn't like me at all."
"Did he ever hurt you?"
Emily shook her head. "He beat up my mom a few times, though. When I saw Sahar that night at The W, I knew just by looking at her that she had been in an abusive relationship. It's good she got out. Sometimes I wonder if my mom ever did."
"Do you even know where she is? Have you ever tried to contact her?"
"No. She gave up her parental rights, so I've always just assumed she didn't want anything to do with me. When I was little, she always treated me like an inconvenience. She used to tell me that I ruined her life."
"That's an awful thing to say to a child," Erin said, sliding her hand over Emily's to lend support.
"Well, thankfully for me, Dad and Bob went out of their way to make me feel loved. It was hard to watch people discriminate against them. Even though we lived in New York City, I could still see it at times. I just couldn't understand it as a kid how people could hate someone they didn't even know simply because of who they loved. I used to think it was so stupid. It was so obvious to me that they loved each other. I never doubted that or their love for me. I grew up always hoping that I might someday have a relationship like theirs."
"When did you tell them about you?"
"I was in college. I had known a long time before then, but I was scared."
"Because I didn't want to disappoint them. I didn't want them to think they had failed me in some way. All my gay friends would tell me their coming out stories, and all their parents always thought they had screwed up their kids somehow. I didn't want them to think that about me. If anything I wanted them to know what a stable influence they were. They were the perfect example of what a loving relationship should be. I still remember that night. The three of us were having dinner at home, and I just sort of blurted it out over dessert. The first thing Bob asked was if it was because of them. It took a lot of talks for them to realize, it had nothing to do with them. It was about me. It was my life, and I was happy. They accept that."
"That's good. Have they met Gillian?"
"We've had dinner a few times together."
"And what is their opinion of her?"
"They like her just fine." Emily didn't really want to comment further even though she knew there was more to be said on that subject. "Tell me about how you came out to your family."
"Oh, well, I sort of did that in stages. Jared caught me with a girl when I was in high school. I made him swear not to tell our parents, but he let me know he was okay with whatever made me happy. My daddy was next. Again I was caught. That time it was freshman year of college. He's a cool guy, though. He sat me down, and we talked about it. He assured me he loved me all the same. My mama was the last to know, but that was only because we all knew she was going to have a problem with it, and she did. To this day, she still does in some respects, but she knows she's outnumbered. Personally I think she dreads the day I settle down. I think secretly she still hopes I'll find my way back to the straight and narrow, but she's never voiced that. She won't ever say anything against me, because the one time she tried it, Daddy put her in her place so fast. He made it clear I was to be accepted as I was. She had put me through enough with all that beauty pageant shit. She's been forced to accept the fact that this is the real me, but there are definitely times when I think she still hasn't. I think she leaves all those pictures of me at the house as a way of holding on to a dream that will never truly be. Whenever someone new comes over, she always likes to point them out and go on an on about how pretty I used to be. Don't be surprised if she drags you into it."
"You were pretty, Erin, but I happen to like you better this way," the blonde said, squeezing the hand that was still on top of her own.
Erin smiled. The two kept holding hands through the rest of their drive. When they arrived, Erin led her into the chaos of the house. Instantly Liam Mahoney spotted them and came over. "Emily, it's wonderful to see you, dear," he greeted with a hug and kiss to her cheek.
"Thank you for having me, Mr. Mahoney."
He smiled at his daughter before turning his dark eyes to Emily's blue ones. "Are you ever going to start calling me Liam? You're family to us, you know. It's about time you started to act like it."
"Thank you, Liam. That's nice of you to say."
He curved his arm around her shoulders. Looking at Erin he asked, "You don't mind if I steal her from you for a bit, do you? I want to show her around and introduce her to the rest of the Mahoney clan."
"Not at all, Daddy. Go ahead."
Emily cast a look at Erin as she was led into a crowd of people. She was slightly overwhelmed by the rowdiness of the fairly young crowd. It was like walking into a room of nothing but Jareds and Erins. All of the Mahoneys possessed the same quintessence of sexual allure in looks and personalities. They all had the same dark or auburn hair and sparkling brown eyes. Their smiles were the same, and they all greeted Emily with the warmness she had known with Erin, Jared, and Liam.
Erin followed behind her father and the blonde. She couldn't help the feeling she had seeing Emily with the rest of her family. All her relatives were gracious, greeting her like a member of the family already. She knew why, though. She had never brought anyone to any family function, and her family was assuming she and Emily were a serious couple. Even more, her father had made his wishful thinking known on that subject in front of all their relatives the night before at dinner, causing her entire family to wonder about the blonde attorney. It wasn't an unpleasant thought by any means. After all, she had thought about it a great deal over the last several months, but she knew the blonde could never truly be hers. She had found love in her doctor. It was tough for Erin to accept, but she knew she had to. Erin never wanted to get in the way of Emily's true happiness, and it meant she couldn't have her, even as much as she wished in her thoughts for it.
A little later that evening once they were at the ball game, Emily was just standing at the windows of the box watching the game in progress when she felt a presence next to her. She looked up and smiled. "Seamus, isn't it?" she questioned.
He nodded. "Are you into baseball?" he asked, lifting his sunglasses off his face and placing them on top of his highlighted hair, so he could look her directly in the eyes.
"Not really. I was just thinking."
"Actually I was."
"How long have you two been together?"
The blonde shook her head. "Oh, we're not together. We're just friends."
He chuckled. "Yeah, right."
He looked at his cousin and then back at her. "Then why on earth aren't you a couple? It's obvious to everyone here that there is something between you. I can see it in the way you look at each other when you think the other isn't looking."
The blonde shook her head. She didn't like being read that easily. "She already has a girlfriend."
"Well, I don't see her here. I see you here. That says it all to me."
"Sahar isn't here, because she's in Paris. I'm sure if she were in town, Erin would have invited her."
Seamus paused. "What does this girl have that you don't?"
"I have no idea," Emily sighed, looking out the window again.
"You can win her, you know. All you have to do is try."
Emily smiled to force her uneasiness away. "Why am I even listening to you? Aren't you the huge queen? What do you know about women?"
"Actually, Sean's the queen. I'm the transvestite. Trust me. I know plenty about women. I do like them after all."
Interested at the comment the attorney asked, "Could I ask you something personal?"
"I've never met a transvestite before, so you'll have to forgive me if I sound naive. Why do you wear make-up and women's clothes? Are the women you date comfortable with that?"
He looked out over the field for a moment before asking, "Have you ever looked at what Erin wears? She wears men's jeans, men's shirts, even men's boots."
"Yeah, I've noticed. She looks good, though."
"She dresses that way, because it makes her comfortable in her own skin. It's who she is. It's the same for me. Putting on women's clothes and make-up is like putting on my own skin. It's just who I am. The women I date understand that. It takes a special woman to be with me."
Emily smiled at him. "That makes sense, and Erin's right. You do look hot," she complimented.
He grinned the infamous Mahoney smile. "Well, thank you. You're a sexy little thing yourself. In fact, if Erin wasn't so obviously interested, I'd make a play for you. I'd give you the ride of a lifetime," he whispered, stepping closer.
The blonde chuckled. "Jared already offered."
"Of course he did. That man can't keep his pants on. Humping and pumping is Jared's talent in life. Erin's too from what I hear." Emily could feel the blush creep into her face at that comment. Seamus laughed. "So you agree?" he teased. She said nothing. "You've taken a ride on the Erin Express, haven't you?" he pushed playfully. "How was it?"
The woman just shook her head. Trying to change the subject, she asked, "How do you get your eye make-up to stay on in this heat? I feel like mine is all over the place."
"Avoiding question, are we?"
"No, I'm serious. Your eye make-up is perfect. How do you do that?"
Erin looked up from the conversation she was in with some of her family to search for Emily in the gathering. She smiled when she saw her with Seamus. He was by far her favorite cousin. She watched them for a few minutes. It was obvious by their hand gestures they were talking about make-up. The brunette continued to observe them as Emily dug into her purse and pulled out a tube of mascara before handing it to Seamus. The tall man stepped closer to the blonde and raised the sunglasses off her face before intently began to work on her lashes.
Deciding to break in, she walked over to them. "You know, Em, you're going to turn him on if you let him to do that to you," she joked, taking a swig of her beer.
"Get lost, Erin. Don't infringe of my seduction," Seamus answered, throwing a wink at the attorney. He pulled lip liner from her purse and proceeded to apply it to Emily's lips. Erin watched as he painted the slightly puckered pale full lips with the liner and then pink lipstick. Not even turning to his cousin, he stated, "It looks like I'm not the only one getting turned on."
Emily looked between the two of them. She could tell she was having an affect on Seamus, but Erin looked stoic as usual. When her stylist was finished, she dug out her mirror and looked at herself. "Wow. You do a fantastic job. Do you think you could do my make-up for the party tomorrow night?"
"I'd be delighted to... for a small price of course." He grinned wickedly.
"I'm afraid to ask what that might be."
He paused. "Save a few dances for me at the party tomorrow. I want to be seen with the most beautiful woman there."
She blushed. "Deal." Leaning up, she brushed her body into his as she kissed his cheek. "You're the best, Seamus. Excuse me while I go get a drink."
Erin and Seamus both watched her walk across the room to the bar. "Damn, she has soft lips. I bet they'd feel so good on my..."
"Don't even think it. Keep it in your capris, Seamus," Erin growled, cutting him off. She knew what he was about to say. "Men. That's all you ever think about. She's not going to blow you, and she's certainly not going to fuck you."
"A man can dream, can't he?" he asked with a laugh. "Don't tell me you don't fantasize about that piece of ass. I know you, Erin. You look at her like you want to rip her clothes off and ravage her."
"I do not."
"Yes, you do. Is she really that good?"
"I wouldn't know."
"Liar. Don't hold out on your favorite cousin now. Give me the dirt." Erin sighed and turned away from their topic of conversation. Seamus grew more serious as he put a hand on her shoulder. "Erin, I was just kidding with you."
"I know. It's just difficult to think about is all."
"She has a serious girlfriend. It doesn't matter how I feel. She's not interested."
"Oh, I don't know about that. I've seen her looking at you tonight. She likes what she sees, you know. You could put the moves on her. She'd come willingly, I think."
"I can't. I have to respect that she has someone else. Besides, I also have a girlfriend these days. I can't be sleeping around. I promised Sahar I would try to be monogamous."
"Sahar? What kind of a name is that? What's she like?"
"It's Arabic. She's a beautiful young woman. I care about her deeply."
"But you love Emily. That's obvious to me. I think it's obvious to everyone."
"Except her," she grumbled.
Seamus put his arms around her. "It'll be all right. You'll see. The right thing will happen. You have to believe that."
"Who even knows what the right thing is?" she questioned taking another sip of her drink.
That night after the game was over Erin took Emily back to the hotel before returning her rambunctious relatives to Jared's. In her hotel room, Emily laid in bed thinking about the night as she idly flipped through TV channels. Why did that feel like I was the girlfriend being introduced to the family for the first time? Did you even know that was going to happen, Erin? And if you did, why didn't you say anything to me about it? Well, today I think I understand you better than I ever have. You're family is so wild. They make you look tame. Your family is so great. I can see how loving and accepting all of you are of each other. It must be nice to have that much support. Even as an outsider, I could feel it. They treated me as one of you. It was nice. Emily sighed. It was more than nice.
Truth be told, she felt incredible being with Erin's family. They were wonderful people, much better than Gillian's. Her girlfriend's parents were so studious and quiet that Emily wasn't quite sure what they thought of her, even though Gillian had assured her they thought highly of her. She couldn't feel that warmth from them that she instantly felt with the Mahoney clan. Gillian's siblings were much the same. With Gillian being the youngest of her five siblings, the age difference between Emily and the rest of them showed greatly, Gillian's eldest brother being more than twenty years her senior. She had felt like such a child at the White family gathering, because some of Gillian's nieces and nephews were in their mid-twenties, only a handful of years younger than her. With the Mahoneys, Jared and Erin were the oldest, and Emily felt one of the most mature of the bunch.
Her thoughts turned toward her fathers. I wonder what you two would think of Erin if I ever brought her home. I think she is more what you thought I would end up with than Gillian. Sure, you like Gillian well enough, but I could see the look in your eyes the first time you met her. You were surprised that I was with someone that much older, someone who wasn't very spontaneous. Your eyes told the concern you would never say, but I saw it anyway. You were nice to her, but I could tell Bob had reservations. All you kept saying when I asked you what you thought was that you were happy for me if I was happy. Not a stellar response. I wonder what it is about her you two don't like. I wish you would tell me.
The following day the blonde slept in and then worked out at the hotel. She had a few hours to kill before the party, so she opted to read a book she had been working on. Grabbing her bikini from her bag, she changed into it and headed for the pool. Settling down in a lounger out in the sun, she put on her sunglasses and lost herself in her book.
Erin, Jared, and some of her cousins were at the hotel early that day to help prepare for the party. She had put Seamus in charge of finalizing the seating groups and putting out place cards while she and Jared spoke to the florists about the arrangements as they came in. Erin was so busy with preparation that she missed Seamus calling her name. However, after a few minutes she realized the room had grown quiet around her. Looking up, she saw her brother, Seamus, and all her male cousins standing at the window that overlooked the pool. Curious as to what drew their interest, she joined them. She felt her heart start to hammer wildly at the sight before her. She had never seen Emily in the daylight in so little. She wore a blue bikini that, even though was considered decent, bared so many features of Erin's imagination. She was struck completely mute as she leaned with a hand on the glass.
"Go on. Go talk to her," Seamus encouraged. "You know you want to." Erin stood still another moment just looking before shaking her head. "Go or else I'm going," he threatened.
Knowing she didn't want to watch her cousin brazenly flirt with the blonde, she nodded. She knew they were all watching as she moved to the glass door and made her way outside. She took a deep breath, trying to control the racing of her heart. It was so difficult to see Emily that way. Closing the distance to her, she wondered what she was going to say, but just as she reached the attorney's chair, Emily looked up and noticed her.
"Erin, hey. What are you doing here?"
"We were just setting up for the party. I hope you put on some sunscreen. The sun is deceiving out here. You can get burned easily."
Emily nodded. "I put some on. I couldn't get my back well, though, so I can't turn over. The last thing I need is a burned back."
"Well, I'll put it on you if you want," she offered casually, much more than she felt.
"That would be great. Thanks."
As the blonde turned onto her stomach, Erin risked a glance back at the windows where she knew her family was watching. They were all cheering her on behind the glass. Kneeling onto one knee, she took the bottle of sunscreen on the ground and poured some into her hands. She looked at the blonde's fair back. Instantly her mind thought about kissing the skin lightly. She wanted to so much, but she knew she had to refrain. Instead she just put her hands on the shoulders and gently massaged them, rubbing in the white lotion. She repeated the process several times to cover the back.
Emily did everything she could to control herself from moaning at the contact. Jesus, this feels good, Erin. I love the way it feels when you touch me. Even just the faintest, most innocent caresses can set me on fire. I don't want to feel this way, but by God, I do. I want you so badly, even though I know I can't have you. We both belong to other people, but none of that matters when you touch me. I want so much for you to love me. Why can't you love me? Why don't you? What do I lack? All too soon the rubbing stopped. Emily was disappointed, but she didn't say so as she looked at the brunette kneeling beside her. She wanted to keep Erin there beside her, but she didn't know how. Saying the first thing that came to her mind, she asked, "What time is it?"
"It's four o'clock."
"I have to get going soon. Seamus is coming over at six to do my hair and make-up."
"I know. He's already mentioned it about a million times today. You be careful with him. I think he has a crush on you," she teased.
"He's a great guy."
"Yeah, he is. Of all my cousins, he's my favorite. We're a lot alike actually."
"I can see that. He cares a great deal about you."
"And I care about him." Erin glanced over her shoulder. She saw the Mahoney men still at the window.
So did Emily. "Why are they are standing there staring at us?"
Erin grinned as she turned her eyes back to blue. "They're a bunch of pervs. They were enjoying the show you were unknowingly giving them. I did always say that you had a set of bodacious tatas. They all seem to agree with me. Now you're giving them the hot ass show. I'm never going to get them out of here. Look at them. They're practically foaming at the mouth, not that I blame them." Emily's heart thudded. She flushed lightly but said nothing. "I have to go. I'll see you in a few hours."
Moving back inside, Erin shook her head at her relatives. "Shameless. You're all shameless. Come on. Back to work. We need to get going soon."
At seven that evening, people began to arrive for the party. Being that Jared and Erin were the hosts for the evening, they stood close to the door welcoming their guests. Erin felt good seeing her parents happy as they entered the ballroom. Her father smiled at his children and brought both of them into a hug for a moment before continuing inside. As the rest of the party-goers trickled in, Erin began to wonder where Seamus and Emily were. They had yet to appear. Even though she knew it was a ridiculous notion, she briefly wondered if he had in fact managed to lure her to him. She knew he wouldn't do that, even as much as he may have wanted to, but he would certainly flirt with her endlessly, and the idea of Emily enjoying anyone else's attention still didn't settle well with her. Stepping out into the hallway that led to the ballroom, her eyes became glued to the end of the corridor.
Suddenly she heard her brother step up next to her. "Breathe, Erin," he whispered.
She couldn't. It was impossible. There was Seamus escorting Emily. Erin didn't even notice how handsome her cousin looked in his dark suit. She only had eyes for the woman on his arm. The blonde was more elegant that she had ever seen her in a black sequined dress that nearly brushed the floor and was seductively cut to expose the cleavage Erin had come to secretly long for so many nights. The long blonde hair was loosely curled and hung freely around her mostly bare shoulders, and her blue eyes shimmered with brilliance. For a brief moment Erin thought whatever Seamus had done to the blonde had worked wonders, because she had never seen her so beautiful.
"Now there's a woman in love," Seamus mumbled to his charge as they neared Erin and Jared. "Look at how she looks at you. She's utterly mesmerized, Emily."
Emily didn't comment. She couldn't even formulate words as she looked at Erin. The tall dark-haired woman looked so sexy in her tuxedo. The black pants and jacket fit her perfectly, and the black vest looked wonderful against the stark white shirt with the pearl buttons. However, the thing that did it for the blonde was the bowtie. She had always thought Erin was one of the most attractive women she had ever known, but just then she knew she was the sexiest women to ever walk the earth in her eyes. She felt her legs go weak as she was blinded by the mega-watt Mahoney smiles that Erin and Jared gave her. Oh, dear God. How badly I long for you to just reach out and touch me, Erin. You look incredible, so sexy, so captivating, so sophisticated. I want so much to feel you against me, to feel you inside of me. How am I going to make it through this night? Okay. Breathe, Emily. Just breathe.
"Emily, you look beautiful tonight," Jared complimented. "You look good too, Seamus."
"Thank you," she answered, still only looking at Erin, who said absolutely nothing, only stared. She just smiled at Erin before Seamus led her into the ballroom.
Erin exhaled deeply as she saw the back of the dress, or lack thereof. Emily's entire back was on graceful display. "Lord, help me," she muttered.
Her brother laughed, obviously having heard her plea. "She looks amazing. You can't let this one get away, sis. If you do Seamus is going to sweep in and carry her off for good."
Erin said nothing to the comment. She was still trying to recover from her momentary haze. Trying to refocus on the task at hand, she finished greeting all the guests before she and her brother went inside to join the party. Knowing she had to play the part of hostess, she mingled with all the guests, chatting and laughing with everyone, but every few minutes she sought out the blonde with her eyes. Emily appeared to be having a good time with the Mahoney family.
For the meal Erin hadn't placed Emily at her table, but she had a perfect view of her sitting there with Seamus. She could see the blonde laughing and enjoying herself. Turning to the guest next to her, Chuck Johnston, she said, "Thanks for coming all the way down here, Chuck. You have always been a great friend of my daddy's."
"It was a pleasure. Emily and I both glad to be here. She has put so much effort into the Mahoney accounts over the years. I'm appreciative that you all treat her as one of your own."
"Daddy thinks of her as family. She's definitely paid her dues. You have someone special there. Johnston Brown is better for having her."
He nodded. Both of them looked at the topic of their discussion. "She looks beautiful tonight, don't you think?" he asked. "She's such an angel." Erin nodded in agreement, even though she thought it odd that Chuck, being Emily's boss, would make such a comment. "You know I feel strongly for her, Erin. She's almost like another granddaughter to me. I want to see her happy and settled. She deserves it."
"Yes, she does. She seems pretty happy to me these days, though. Must be Gillian's influence," she mumbled into her bourbon on the rocks.
"Gillian White," he sighed.
"What's the sigh for? Have you met her?"
He nodded. "Emily brought her to a company party."
"Were you not impressed?"
He shrugged. "Don't get me wrong. Gillian seems nice. She seems to care about Emily. She seems successful."
"I hear a but coming."
"She's all wrong for Emily. She's too old, too stable. Emily likes taking risks. She likes adventure. Gillian doesn't strike me as the type that does."
"Sometimes opposites attract."
"I know, but it isn't often they stay attracted. Without things in common, a relationship can't sustain itself. Sex can only get you so far. No, Emily needs someone more like her."
"And I suppose you know who that might be?"
"I'm looking right at her," he stated, holding her eyes.
Erin shook her head. "You think I'm the perfect woman for Emily? I don't think so. She's not interested."
"I beg to differ. She's definitely interested."
"What makes you so sure?"
"Do you know the only account Emily is responsible for is yours? She doesn't even have your father's or Jared's. We had to pass them off to another associate, because she just couldn't handle the workload any more. You are the only one, Erin. She specifically asked me to keep yours. I think she uses it as an excuse to be closer to you. If she didn't have your accounts, she'd have no reason to even talk to you, except under special situations. Now I've obliged her, because I can see how much she wants to be with you and vice versa, even though I think we all know you'd be better off with another associate at this point. Her schedule is too demanding to give you the service you truly deserve. I just don't understand why the two of you play this game. One of you should just be woman enough to say what's in your heart. The other feels the same. I'm sure of it."
Erin shook her head again. "I don't know, Chuck. If there ever was a chance for the two of us, it's already passed. She loves Gillian."
"Do you love her, Erin?" he asked pointedly. Erin looked at Emily for a moment before turning back to the blonde's boss. "Do you?" he repeated with a softer tone. She stared at her plate. "If you can't say it to me, how do you ever expect to be able to say it to her?"
Erin didn't respond to the question. Instead her eyes simply found Emily again. Once the formal dinner was finished, the dance floor opened with music from a small orchestra. Erin stayed at her table just chatting for a little while, but she noticed the blonde in her cousin's arms on the floor. Seamus was up to his usual tricks. It was obvious his intentions were on Emily, even though most assumed she was with Erin. The attorney was passed through the Mahoney men dance after dance. She appeared to be having a grand time. Wanting to get in on the action the rest of her family seemed to be enjoying, Erin got up and made her way to the floor.
Jared was leading Emily as she approached. Tapping her brother on the shoulder, she smiled at him. "May I cut in?" He smiled and nodded his head, placing Emily's hand in his sister's. The two women looked at each other. Erin easily began to lead them through the waltz that was playing. "Are you having fun?" Erin asked politely.
"This is a great party. You and Jared out did yourselves. Your parents look so happy."
"I hope so. This was all for them. All the Mahoney men have taken to you as well as I expected they would. You're a hot commodity on the dance floor tonight. Must be those feet of yours," she teased, bringing back the joke from the previous day.
"You have some nice footwork yourself. I didn't know you knew how to waltz. You put your cousins to shame."
"Jared and I both took lessons just for this occasion. I had hoped for a chance to dance with the prettiest girl here, but my family has been monopolizing you."
"Well, I'm all yours now," Emily said with a smile. Oh, how I wish that were true in every sense. There isn't anything about you I dislike these days, Erin Mahoney. You've changed for the better in the last few months.
"I'm honored, Emily, truly," Erin whispered in reply.
For the rest of the evening, neither woman left each other. They danced and talked. When they tired, they moved to the open bar, where Emily consumed champagne and Erin bourbon. Afterwards, it was back to the dance floor again. No one dared cut in to dance with the blonde once she was coupled with Erin. The Texan figured that was just part of her family's meddling with the two of them without trying to seem obvious. For the rest of the night, the two women were inseparable, dancing, drinking, and laughing together.
Finally when it was late, the blonde mentioned, "I should probably be retiring. I have to fly back to New York tomorrow, and I think I've had a bit too much champagne."
"Let me walk you to your room. I couldn't have you getting lost in your state. Seamus would never forgive me," Erin joked.
The attorney laughed. "We couldn't have that."
Taking Emily by the hand, Erin looked around the ball room to find that almost all of the guests were gone, leaving just a few straggling family members, so she felt safe in leaving. She let Emily take the lead between them toward the elevators. The couple still held hands as they quietly rode to Emily's floor. No words were spoken as they walked down the corridor and paused at the blonde's room. Blue eyes stared into dark ones quietly for a few moments.
"Well, here we are," the brunette whispered, propping one hand up on the wall next to the door as she leaned in toward her guest slightly.
"Thank you for coming, Emily. I'm so glad you were here and that you had a good time. I'm also thrilled I could introduce Seamus to his future wife," Erin said with a smile.
The shorter woman laughed at the joke. However, it faded when she saw brown eyes turn a wanton gaze on her. It made her breath leave her. Dear God. What you can do to me with just a look.
With a voice Erin didn't even recognize as her own, she whispered, "You have such a beautiful laugh. I've missed it." Her left hand reached towards Emily's cheek, caressing it gently before tucking a piece of blonde hair behind her ear. She stepped even closer. In reaction, Emily's hands came up to the lapels on Erin's jacket. The oil heiress murmured, "I've missed you, Emily."
"Erin," breathed the blonde.
A moment passed with them standing there closely, gazes transfixed on each other. Finally Erin offered, "I should go." Emily nodded in agreement. Neither woman moved. Erin eased her left hand to the back of the blonde head and leaned down to plant a sweet kiss on Emily's forehead. They just stood there together for a moment, Erin brushing the blonde's forehead with slow faint kisses. However a noise broke them apart. "That sounds like one of my cousins," she said at the loud voice getting off the elevator. "If they find me up here, I'll never hear the end of it. Hide me." The attorney nodded, quickly opening her door and pulling Erin into the room. Neither bothered with the lights as the door closed on its own with a loud click. Erin peered out the peephole to see if one of her cousins passed by the door, however, the thought was instantly gone when she felt hands pull her by the jacket. Erin's body met Emily's again, squeezing the attorney between her own frame and the wall next to the door.
"Anybody out there?" Emily whispered into her ear.
"No one. Sounded like one of them, though. Although I have had a lot to drink. Their voices start to sound the same," she admitted.
"I've had way too much champagne," Emily whispered, wrapping her arms tighter around Erin's back.
There was a pause in conversation before Erin whispered again, "I really should go." Emily said nothing. "Good night, Emily," she said, leaning down and kissing the blonde's left cheek. She kissed it a second time, but on the third attempt, she found the blonde's mouth.
Emily moaned deeply at the feeling of Erin kissing her. It's even better than I remember. Jesus, Erin. Please. I want so much more. "Erin," she exhaled when they broke.
The taller woman said nothing, instead meeting her lips again. The kisses were soft and temperate at first, but they soon became deeper with each exchange. There was no urgency, simply the connection of two people. "Oh, Emily," Erin whispered, kissing her ear. "I've missed you so much. I've missed everything about you. Your eyes?your laugh? your smile? your temper? your wit. You are as smart as you are beautiful, and I could just get lost in you."
"Erin," Emily mumbled. She thought she had died and gone to heaven. I can't believe after all this time you are saying all the things I ever wanted from you. You make it impossible for me not to love you, not to want you.
Erin brushed her neck with light kisses. "I never knew how much you meant to me until you were gone. I love you, Emily, and I want to make slow sweet love to you desperately. I want to touch you? and kiss you? and hold you. I want to bring you so much pleasure if you'll have me. I just want to love you. Please. Will you let me love you?"
The blonde's brain completely shut down at hearing those sentiments. Erin had just said in a few words all Emily ever wanted to hear. Feeling the slender shoulder straps of her dress being lowered, she responded in kind. Her hands worked off the suit jacket, letting it fall to the floor as their mouths connected once again. Next she gently worked open the knot of Erin's bowtie, letting it dangle from the shirt collar as she started to ease open the pearl buttons. All the while Erin kissed her and caressed her, whispering words better than anything she had imagined in any fantasy. Just as she felt her dress slither to the floor a loud bang on her door disturbed them. Erin pulled back a little. "Ignore it," Emily pleaded. Erin did as directed, but it continued followed by a voice.
"Erin, Erin, I know you're in there. Open the door. Please. It's important," Seamus stated loudly.
"Don't," Emily pressed. Erin complied.
The banging continued. "Erin, please. Open the door. Sean's been hurt. I need your help."
The heiress couldn't ignore it then, even as much as she wanted to. Cracking the door just enough to peek through it, she growled, "What do you mean Sean's been hurt?"
"In the bar. Some rednecks picked a fight with him. Then all the cousins jumped in and beat this guy senseless. There was a brawl. The bar's a mess. The cops are here, and management is pissed. Now please. Sean's hurt, and the hotel wants to talk to you and Jared."
She nodded her head, knowing there was no way she could avoid going. Closing the door, she turned to the blonde in the dark. "I'm so sorry. I have to go."
"Can we hold this thought until I get back?"
"I promise to come back as soon as I can."
"I'll be here."
"And I'll be dreaming of you," Erin whispered, kissing her one last time before grabbing her jacket from the floor and exiting the room. Buttoning her shirt as they rushed toward the elevator, she hoped her cousin wasn't too badly hurt.
"I'm so sorry I had to get you. I had hoped you'd be in Emily's room getting what both of you so obviously wanted."
"I know it was unavoidable. How's Sean look?"
"I think his nose might be broken, but other than that, he seems all right. Those guys were picking on him because of his make-up. The cousins all jumped these cowboys. They didn't stand a chance, but stuff is broken all over that bar."
"Great," she grumbled.
When they got downstairs, Erin immediately went to her cousin to ensure he was all right. Her brother Jared and the rest of her male cousins were talking to the police as the other patrons in question were on the other side of the bar doing the same thing. Erin spotted the manager of the hotel in the middle talking to his employees. When he spotted Erin, he marched toward her.
"Ms. Mahoney, your family has destroyed hotel property," he stated firmly.
"I can see that. My apologies. If you send me a bill for the damage, my brother and I will pay for it. I am more concerned about my cousins at this point. One of them was assaulted in the bar."
"I am sorry that happened. My employees told me that the other patrons started it, but it was your family that created this mess. Those men have been permanently banned for their behavior. Seeing that your family is a generous benefactor of this establishment, I can look over a small infraction such as this as long as we have an understanding that it is not to happen again."
"You have my assurance. Just send me the bill. Now if you will excuse me, I want to see to my family." Erin joined her family as they spoke to the police.
Back upstairs in the attorney's room, Emily hung up her dress as she thought about what had just happened. I never imagined she would say all those wonderful things. Oh, Erin, how I've wanted just that. She sighed. There's just one problem. I'm already with someone else. How soon I could forget that looking into your eyes. Gillian is going to kill me. I can't believe I did this. This was exactly why she was afraid, even though she never said it. Could she tell the feelings were still there? What do I do? What do I tell her? We just kissed. That's all, but she's supposed to be coming back for so much more. If I stop now, it won't be so bad. I can just say it was a mistake, that I had too much to drink. Or I could just not say anything at all. Nothing serious happened yet. But if she comes back, something will happen. I want it so much, but it would be so wrong. I can't do this to Gillian. She loves me, and I love her, but I also love Erin. Now I know she feels the same, too. Oh, God. What do I do? Plopping down on her bed in her robe, she fought with her emotions. She was torn between Gillian and Erin. Gillian was the perfect girlfriend, responsible, caring, and attentive. Erin, on the other hand, was wild, passionate, and freeing. She loved so much about each of them. But whenever I daydream about a lover it's Erin that comes to mind. She's my fantasy, and she said all the right things this time. Although the question still remains between us whether or not she can allow me to reciprocate. Even if she loves me, if she can't let me touch her, I can't be with her. I want all of her, not just what she chooses to share. And Gillian always gives me all of her. She's always open and vulnerable. That's part of what makes her so wonderful. She sighed once again. I can't do this. I can break Gillian's trust this way. No, when Erin comes back, I just have to tell her that I can't do this while I'm with Gillian. If she's serious, we can wait for a better time. I want a relationship, not another one-night stand. I so don't want to do that, but it's the right thing to do. Knowing that was the only choice she could make in which she could live with herself, she fortified her courage to do the right thing when her biggest weakness returned.
It took awhile for the mess at the bar to be settled, but it appeared that neither side was interested in pressing charges, so after all the statements were taken, everyone was allowed to leave quietly. The ambulance that had arrived with the police had deemed Sean's nose not broken, which was good news to all. Since Erin's family was still interested in partying, she got them a room and made sure they were all in it before continuing with their drinking fest. Once they were settled, she consulted her watch. It had been three hours since she had left Emily.
"You know you want to go back," Seamus mentioned to her.
She nodded. "I shouldn't."
"Are you going to let that stop you?"
She shook her head, knowing her family was expecting her to go after what she wanted. After all, that's what the old Erin would have done, but she had changed. She wasn't that woman anymore. Nevertheless, instead of trying to explain that to her family, she just said, "Wish me luck."
"Not that you're going to need it."
Leaving the room, she quietly made her way to the elevator to go to Emily's floor. The whole way there she thought about what she was doing. She had promised Sahar that she would be monogamous, and she was about to break that vow. Emily was her dream woman, and she wanted her so badly. In the past, it wouldn't have mattered, but just then she felt some moral obligation to her relationship with Sahar, even though it wasn't serious. A few moments later she arrived at Emily's door. She stood there just staring at it. She knew if she knocked, she would be received willingly and openly. However, she had doubts about being able to be so assailable to the blonde. She had been working on it with Sahar for months, but her girlfriend was someone she truly trusted never to hurt her. With Emily there were no guarantees. She did have a girlfriend after all. No matter what happened that night, she would go home to Gillian White the next day. Erin knew she didn't want that nor did she want Emily to regret anything that happened between them. Staring at the number on the door, she thought about how good it would feel to be in the attorney's embrace. It was what she had wanted for almost a year, and if she knocked, it could be reality. Raising her hand to knock, she paused once again. A thought occurred to her. In the heat of the moment, in her alcohol-induced haze, she had confessed her truest feelings. "I told her I loved her," she mumbled to herself. "And she never said anything." She dropped her hand instantly. Her heart felt broken. She had made herself as vulnerable as she had ever been emotionally, and she didn't get the response she was hoping for. She had wanted Emily to respond with her own declaration, and she hadn't. It left her confused. The blonde had admitted to being drunk, and there was her relationship with Gillian to consider. Never in her life had she considered herself on the other side of a one-night stand. She wondered if she had done this to women. She questioned if they had felt something more for her, but she only filled them with false hopes. She wanted Emily more than she wanted anyone else in life, but she refused to give into her feelings if they weren't returned. Both of them would regret it, and they could possibly destroy their relationships with the respective girlfriends with the behavior. She knew at this point all she had to confess to Sahar was a drunken make-out session. It would be painful, but it would be better than admitting she had sex with Emily. With a final sigh, Erin made her decision, the hardest one she had ever made. She walked away.
The following morning Emily didn't wake until after ten. Her head hurt as she sat up, but she noticed she was still in her robe from the night before. She never came back. Why didn't you come back, Erin? I hope everything was all right. Rising off the bed, the blonde slowly went about getting dressed. After all, she was catching a plane back to New York that afternoon and needed to get ready. The clock next to the bed alerted her that she had only four hours before her flight. Fighting the pain in her head, she made it to the bathroom to shower and dress. Then she packed her bags. Expecting her bill for the hotel to be under the door, she went to retrieve it to add it to her bag, but there was another piece of paper with it. Curiously she opened it. The handwriting was Erin's.
"Dear Emily, it was late by the time I settled everything down at the bar, and I didn't want to risk waking you. I know you have a flight in the afternoon and needed to rest. I wanted to thank you once again for coming to my parents' anniversary party. You are a special person to my daddy, and it pleased him greatly you were able to attend. I feel I must apologize to you for my behavior when we got back to your room. It was wrong of me to think that you might be interested in continuing our night much in the same fashion we used to years ago. The fact is, even as much as I want to be with you intimately, we are both different people now. You are with Gillian, and I am with Sahar. I know you love her, Emily, and I love Sahar. Because of that, it would have been wrong to be together. It was best that we were interrupted before either of us did something we would regret later. It's easier for me to go back to Sahar with this than to admit to more. I hope I have not done permanent damage to your relationship with Gillian. It was not my intention. I only want your happiness, and you seem to have found it with her. I apologize for not being a stronger person last night. For just a few moments it felt like it used to, but it's time we both let the past go and embrace the new lives with have created for ourselves. You need to be free to live your life and so do I. I hope you have a safe flight back to New York. I'm not sure when I will be up there again, however, whenever I do get around to coming up, I hope that you and might be able to see each other as the friends I know we can be. Until such time, take care of yourself. You are a precious gem, and Gillian is a lucky woman to have you. Fondly, Erin."
Well, I guess that says it all, doesn't it? Last night was just a fluke brought on by alcohol. You're right, Erin. It's for the best. I do love Gillian, and I just don't know if you're capable of being everything I need, even with as strongly as I feel for you. I just wish this didn't hurt so much. Why does it always hurt so much with you? Doing her best to hold back her tears, Emily stuffed her bill and the note into her bag and then called the front desk for a ride to the airport. For the rest of the afternoon, she thought about what had taken place between the wild Texan and herself. She knew she had to let Erin go for good, but the pain of it was so great. Staring out the window of the plane, she cried all the way home.
Upon her arrival she found Gillian waiting there for her. Her girlfriend smiled pleasantly as she embraced her in a hug and kissed her cheek. "It's so good to have you back. I missed you."
"I missed you, too," she responded, clutching Gillian tighter.
"Are you all right?"
"I'm fine. It was just a long few days. I'm ready to be at home in my own bed."
The doctor nodded. "Well, in that case, let's get going. I'll take you home and fix you a nice dinner. Then you can go to bed a little bit early tonight." Emily nodded in agreement, and the couple went home and did just that. After dinner the blonde went straight to bed in hopes of getting the sleep she had lost the previous night. Gillian claimed she wasn't tired yet but encouraged her lover to take care of herself. Tucking her into bed, she gave her a soft kiss good night before leaving the room. In exhaustion Emily fell straight to sleep.
The next day when she awoke at the sound of her alarm she sat up to find herself alone. The other side of the bed had never even been touched, which was odd, considering the fact that Gillian almost always stayed the night. Hearing noise downstairs, she rose to investigate. Her girlfriend was in the kitchen, fully dressed for the day, and making a cup of coffee.
"You're up early," Emily mentioned. Gillian nodded, not meeting the blonde's eyes. "Are you okay? I noticed you didn't come to bed last night."
"I couldn't. I was too upset," Gillian grumbled.
"Upset? What has you upset?"
The doctor looked at her. "I'm upset with you, Emily."
"Me? What did I do?"
Turning back to the counter, the doctor picked up a piece of paper Emily hadn't noticed until just then. Gillian thrust it at her. The attorney's heart sank when she saw what it was, Erin's note from her bag. "You tell me," Gillian demanded.
"How did you get this? Were you looking through my stuff?" Emily yelled. She wasn't prepared to talk to her girlfriend about this. She had made up her mind not to say anything, because she knew it would only hurt her, and it was never going to happen again.
"No, I wasn't. You were tired, and I thought I would do something nice for you and unpack your stuff. I wasn't snooping, and I certainly wasn't expecting to find anything."
The blonde dropped her head. The tears started to flow. This was the worst thing that could have happened. "You have to believe me, Gillian. I never meant for anything to happen between Erin and me. We both were drunk, and she walked me back to my room. She kissed me."
"And you let her?"
"I wasn't thinking. It was wrong. I know, and I'm terribly sorry. I hate the fact that I've done something that could hurt you. It was stupid. Had I not had that much to drink, I would have had the foresight to stop her. Gillian, I feel terrible about it. I'm so sorry."
"Do you still have feelings for her?"
"I love you, Gillian. I want to be with you."
"That doesn't answer my question."
Emily dropped her head. "I'm not dead. I do have feelings for other women. Isn't that natural?"
"Of course but when you're in a relationship, you don't act on them! That's what commitment is about, Emily! You've broken my trust, and you've hurt me beyond what I thought possible."
"I know, and I'll do anything to make it right. Please, Gillian. I'm begging you. I want things to be right between us again."
The doctor shook her head. "I just don't know if I can trust you again, Em. I know it was just a momentary lapse in judgment, but it hurts me more than I can even explain. I love you. This doesn't stop me from loving you, but right now I hurt. I need some time to deal with that," she said. Going to the living room, she picked up her bag. Turning back to her girlfriend, she sighed. "I love you, Emily. I do. I just need some time to work through this."
The blonde nodded. She knew there was really nothing she could say at the moment to help the situation. "All right. I understand. Take all the time you need."
"Just remember that I love you, though, Gillian. I want to be with you. I know what I did was wrong, but if I didn't care about you, I'd probably still be in Texas right now with her. I made my choice. My choice is you. You are the one I love and want. She could never be what I needed. You are everything I need. I don't want this to be over. I want us to be together."
The auburn-haired woman nodded her head. "I love you, too, Emily. I have to go. There is a lot to think about."
Emily watched her girlfriend leave her apartment. She knew there was nothing she could do just then to make it right with Gillian. The blonde knew it would hurt her if she found out, which is why she wanted to just put it behind her. You were right, Erin. This has to end. We're different people now. Going back upstairs she decided to get dressed and go to work. She hadn't planned to go in that day, but in light of what had happened with Gillian, she needed some distraction.
When she arrived at her job, people greeted her as they always did, asking if she had a pleasant trip. She said she did but didn't elaborate. Instead she headed into her office and closed the door. Booting up the computer, she opened her emails, surprised when she saw one from Chuck asking to see her when she arrived back in the office. She buzzed him. He asked to see her right away, so she went down to his office.
Knocking on his open door, she stuck her head into the room. "You wanted to see me, Chuck?" she questioned. She had never been called into his office before without knowing why, so she was confused as to what was going on.
"Yes, Emily. Come in and shut the door, please." She did as instructed. "Have a seat," he said, gesturing to the one across from his desk. When she was seated, he moved to the vacant chair next to her.
"Is something the matter?" she asked in panic. She had never seen such a look on his face.
He sighed. "Emily, from the moment you came to Johnston Brown you have been an asset to this company. Clients loved you for your professionalism and enthusiasm. You had the admiration of the rest of the staff for your knowledge and attitude. You were our go-to girl. We knew we could always count on you. No one ever made a complaint about you, and I knew I could trust you with any account, especially sensitive ones."
"Chuck, what's going on? Am I getting fired or something? Has someone complained? Am I not performing up to standard?"
"No, you're not getting fired."
"Then what is it?"
He sighed again. "Yesterday I had breakfast with Erin Mahoney. She has requested that her accounts be reassigned to someone else."
"She said she wanted to get more attention. She said she understood how busy you were and that you didn't really deal with accounts anymore. She feels she is not being treated with the attention she deserves."
"But, Chuck, you know I do everything I can for her."
"I know you do, but I happen to agree with her. I'm sorry, Emily. I agreed to move her accounts. Effectively immediately Erin Mahoney's accounts are not yours."
"Chuck, I've worked incredibly hard on those accounts. I've forfeited parts of my life for her. You can't do this to me."
"I'm sorry, Emily. Erin is the client. She wants new representation. Now if you feel that strongly I will allow you to consult with the new person assigned to them, but they are to have the contact with Erin."
"Who's the new person?"
"I don't know yet. For the time being, I've agreed to take her accounts until I can find someone suitable."
"Chuck, you know outside of you, I'm the most suitable to service Erin's accounts."
"I know that, but you have other duties, and she wishes to be reassigned. This is not open for discussion. You're off the accounts," he stated, leaving no room for more deliberation.
The blonde dropped her head. She couldn't believe this day. First, she was at risk of losing Gillian, and now Erin was being taken from her. Emily closed her eyes and took deep breaths, desperately trying to keep all her emotions inside of herself. "Is there anything I can say to change your mind?" she whispered, not looking up to his eyes. The words were difficult to get out of her throat.
"I'm sorry," he simply replied. The blonde didn't respond. Instead she covered her face with her hands as the tears began to cascade down her cheeks, even as much as she tried to stop them. It was just impossible. Feeling a hand on her back, she whimpered. "Emily, do you want to tell me what's going on with you and Erin? I sensed this was personal on her part. I saw the way you two were with each other at the party. Everyone saw it. You can't deny what was so obvious. The two of you have feelings for each other."
"It wasn't supposed to be this way, Chuck," she mumbled, leaning toward him.
He wrapped her in his arms. "You know I care about you, Emily. I want you to be happy. Did Erin hurt you?" She shook her head. "Then what happened?"
She looked at him with watery eyes. Chuck was more than just her boss. He was her friend, a father figure. He was a man she dearly trusted. "I lost Erin, and I might lose Gillian, too."
"What do you mean?"
"Erin and I... we've been together off and on for a couple of years. Then Gillian came along, and I thought I was over her. I really did."
"But you found out in Texas that you weren't?" he supplied.
She nodded. "We didn't do anything horrible, but we did kiss, and Gillian found out about it. She's hurt, and I feel terrible. I know I can never have Erin, but I can't let her go," she sobbed.
"Why do you think you can never have her?"
"She won't let me in. She's refuses to let anyone in except for her girlfriend."
"So she's with someone else, too?"
"Yeah, someone she says she loves. I have to get over her. Gillian means everything to me. I love her. I just can't..." Her tears stopped her from going further.
Chuck held her closely, rubbing her back soothingly as he rocked her slightly. "It's going to be all right."
Will it? Erin, how could you leave me like this? You tell me you love me and then run away scared. This just proves that you will never be what I need. You can't deal with your feelings. You can't embrace them. But, God, I don't want to lose Gillian, too. She's everything you're not. She's stable and strong. She loves me. I know she does, and I love her. Why can't I get you out of my heart for good before you destroy everything? It's over. My head knows that, but my heart just refuses to accept it. Get out of my heart, Super Dyke. You have to or else I'll surely perish. I have to make amends with Gillian. It's the only way. I have to focus on my love for her. It just has to work. I have to make it work with her. She's my life now, not you, Erin, not you.