Chapter 1: Chapter 1
The insistent sound of computer keys clacking filled the small office space. Lines upon lines of legal terms and quotes with scientific explanations occupied the backlit screen. A young woman, Korra Street, sat hunched over the desk, fingers flying across the keyboard as she spewed forth her thoughts. She hated writing grants. Hated the pomp and poised words she had to use, but this money could help a lot of people, and her area needed it. She paused as she reread the sentence she just finished, her brow furrowed in concentration over her word choice.
Absentmindedly, she reached for her mug of coffee, a small smile on her lips as she nodded in agreement to the word she’d initially chosen. She took a sip of her coffee, eager for the new caffeine rush. “Yuck.” She frowned into her now cold mug of coffee. With a sigh she glanced at the clock on the computer screen. Vigorously, she rubbed her face, then rolled her shoulders. She pushed her glasses firmly up her nose and began scrolling back through the document.
Her eyes flitted from one sentence to the next as she proofread. It was imperative this document be perfect. She nodded with satisfaction as she read, checking that the document weighed facts, potential outcomes, and addressed the impact this project could have in the future. A sharp knock at her door momentarily drew her attention.
She peered over the edge of her glasses to the officer standing in her doorway. She held up an index finger to indicate she needed a minute before finishing reading the paragraph she had been in the middle of. Quickly, she saved the document, and minimized the program before standing and striding across the room.
A large smile broke out across her face as she wrapped her arms around the officer in the doorway. “Hey you!” She pulled back and gestured for him to enter. She stood with her hand on the doorknob. “Are you here as Mako, or Officer Grayson?”
Mako offered a weak smile. “Officer Grayson.”
Korra shut the door behind her for privacy before maneuvering behind her desk. She dropped down into her chair and pulled a form from her files. “What do you have?”
“I got a call from Kya to do a Wellness check.” He eased his lanky frame into the seat across the desk from her. “I need you to go with me.”
Korra nodded in understanding, this was typical for her. She’d been on many Wellness checks with Mako and other officers, it was part of her job being contracted by the Department of Health and Senior Services. “What are they being seen for?”
He pulled a small notebook from his shirt pocket, flipped it open, and skimmed his notes searching for the answer. “Physical therapy, he’s recovering from a stroke.” He watched as Korra scribbled the information down. “Kya said he hasn’t been in for the last two scheduled appointments.”
“What else?” She glanced up as he read through his notes.
“Male, 73. Few other health conditions, nothing serious. Hasn’t been able to get him on the phone.”
“Where’s he live?” She considered this one of the more important questions. Depending on the neighborhood they were located near, it could give her some idea of what to expect.
“Southside, gated community. Usually upper crust class people.” Mako noted the way her brow creased in confusion.
Korra tapped her pen against her bottom lip. Very seldom did she ever have a call in this area, it was literally a once in a blue moon affair. “You got a name?”
Mako raised his hand and rapped his knuckles sharply against the face of the door. Korra stood nearby, both waiting. Mako gave her a glance before reaching out to press the button for the doorbell. “Well?” He turned to face her.
“Give me a minute.” She gave him a firm look and then ventured around the house. She peered into the windows, trying to see something through the tiny slits in the blinds. She hated this part. Protocol was not her friend. Perusal they needed probable cause to enter a residence, even for a Wellness check. She needed something to indicate there was a need for them to enter. A sound of distress, the smell of smoke, the sight of blood, anything to make it legal to enter the house.
She rounded the back of the house and stepped in front of the glass backdoor. There, on the kitchen floor, huddled in the fetal position, was her probable cause for entry. She cupped her hands around her mouth and yelled for Mako. Her fingers itched to try the door, to grab the rock near the flower bed and bust it in if it was locked, but again, protocol. Mako had to be the one to enter the house first.
Mako skidded to a stop beside her. A quick glance through the door had him reaching one hand for the handle, and the other to activate his radio. “This is Officer Grayson, I need a bus to 628 Carlson Street, Southside Community.” As the operator responded he tried to slide the door open, then pulled his gun when it turned out to be locked. Using the butt of the weapon he struck the glass and stepped inside, Korra rushing past once he’d cleared the doorway.
Korra was on her knees beside the man, making sure she avoided the puddle of urine on the floor. Cautiously she reached a hand out. “Mr. Sato?” She watched him tremble as her hand met his shoulder. “Mr. Sato can you tell me what happened?”
She watched as he opened and closed his mouth numerous times, no sound coming out. Tears began to slide down his cheeks. “It’s okay. I’m right here. I’m going to help you.” She quickly assessed him with her eyes, searching for bleeding and disfigurements. “Did you fall Mr. Sato?”
He nodded his head and she squeezed his arm gently. “Are you hurt?” Again, another nod in answer. “Can you point to where?”
With a trembling hand he pointed to his hip, the one he was currently laying on. Korra looked up to where Mako hovered over them. “Possible hip fracture, and he’s nonverbal right now. Could be shock, or side effect of the stroke. He’s severely dehydrated.”
Mako relayed the information to the operator as Korra turned her attention back to the man. “The ambulance is on the way. We’ll get you to the hospital soon.” She watched as embarrassment reflected in his eyes. She’d seen it enough times, on many faces, to recognize it. He’d fallen, couldn’t get up, and had held it as long as he could. She had no way of knowing how long he’d laid here, in his own filth.
A broken sob escaped his mouth, coming from down deep in his chest. Pain and embarrassment carried on it. Korra reached for his hand, clinging to his gnarled fingers. “Shh, it’s okay. It’ll be okay.” With her free hand she wiped the tears from his face. “I know you’re hurting right now, and embarrassed, but I need you to stay calm. It’ll help with the pain.” She lifted her head to look at Mako. “What’s the ETA?”
He checked his watch before answering. “Twenty minutes.”
She nodded and went back to comforting the man on the floor. She offered a soft smile as she spoke, keeping her voice soothing. “You know, you’re gonna have a wild woman waiting for you at the hospital.” She grinned when he rolled his eyes. “Now, from what I hear you had Miss Kya pretty worried. I bet you she’s there. I can see her now, standing there at the front doors, hands on hips, scowl on her face.” She watched as the corner of his mouth twitched in amusement. “I got on her bad side once when I was little, she switched my behind something awful. Couldn’t sit for a week. I did deserve it though, but it was worth it watching her run from the snake I’d put in her silverware drawer.”
She talked until the paramedics came. Held his hand while they lifted him and wheeled him to the ambulance. Once he was safely inside and on his way to the hospital, she began to make her way through the house, investigating the living conditions. Mako shadowed her as she entered each room, more protocol. A caution to make sure she stayed safe, and to protect the patient from someone taking advantage of the situation.
She documented everything. The dirty dishes, and empty food wrappers. A musty, dirty smell hung in the air. Piles of dirty clothes in the bedroom. Unfit living conditions around every corner.
“Why wasn’t anyone here helping him?” Mako asked as he looked around the rooms.
Korra shook her head and shrugged. “I’m guessing either he didn’t tell his kids how bad he’d gotten, or they didn’t care.” She stopped and stared at a cracked picture frame. “People don’t always want the responsibility of taking care of an ailing parent, and an ailing parent doesn’t want to feel like a burden.”
“I don’t know how you do this Korra.” He gave her a long, considering look. “I feel awful for that man.”
“It never gets any easier.” She gave him a glance as she walked down the hall, pausing outside the last room. “You do kind of get,” she searched for the right word, “numb to it I guess.”
He nodded in understanding, after awhile of seeing the same thing repeatedly, it stopped affecting you the same way. He had been told as much when he joined the force, the longer he was a cop, the more he saw. The more he saw, the less shocked he was by how evil society and people could be. “Let’s see what’s behind door number three here.”
Korra smiled as she turned the knob, giving it a gentle push. She stared in disbelief at the room. It was the cleanest in the entire house, only marred by a thick layer of dust that clung to everything. The room looked as if no one had been in it for years. She stepped inside, her eyes traveling over the walls of posters. Boy bands and actresses from TV smiled back at her. Trophies for the Spelling Bee, and Math and Science awards adorned the shelves.
“Wow.” Mako gazed around the room awestruck. “I haven’t seen some this stuff since I was in high school.” He pointed to a poster on the wall. “I remember these guys called it quits my sophomore year.”
“Looks like maybe his kid hasn’t been back since then.” Korra scribbled a few things on her forms. She eyed a picture on the dresser. A pretty, emerald eyed teen with braces was smiling back at the camera, decked out in a cheerleading outfit. Korra wiped a finger through the dust on the frame, then turned towards Mako. “I’m finished here.” She held the document out for him to read over. “As soon as you finalize and sign, I can Hotline it.”
In cases like this she had to Call the Elder Abuse and Neglect Hotline. The case would go through a system, and then another member of the department Korra worked for would be informed. It’d be up to them to do a follow up investigation.
Mako signed his name at the bottom and wrote in his badge number. He handed the clipboard back to Korra and led her outside. “I’m headed back to the office. Hoping I can get some contact information for his next of kin.” He walked her to her car and held the door open for her. “I’ve got a patrol arranged to keep an eye on things here until the door gets fixed.”
She climbed into the driver’s seat and started the car, rolling the window down as Mako closed the door. “Let me know what you find, I need to contact them as well. I’ll keep you informed if I find them first.” She offered a smile as he turned to walk back to his patrol car. “Be safe Officer Grayson.”
“Always Ms. Street.” He grinned and ducked into the car, following her out of the gated community.
A woman stood staring out the window of her office. Giant skyscrapers rising skyward around her own. She looked down on the traffic below, everything appearing small enough to be a child’s toy. A deep frown marred her face as she listened to the man on the other end of her call. With a clench of her jaw she started to pace. “No, you listen to me Mr. Varrick.” She pressed a finger against the ear piece, making sure it picked up every word she had to say.
“This is my business. You may sit on the advisory board, but I brought Future Industries up from the little Kickstarter it was. My last name, Sato, is the one on the back of everything this company makes.” She paused as she looked at the framed picture of the first one-dollar bill she had ever made in profit. “You will not tell me how to run my company. You may advise, and even then, your word is not set in stone.”
Her lips twitched up into a smile as she heard him begin to stammer out a reply. She nodded as he backtracked, tripping over his own tongue in the process. “Submit your proposal for the merger. I’ll have my lawyer look it over.” Without any further words to offer, she hung up. She turned and tossed the ear piece onto her desk, then went back to staring out the window.
Arms crossed, brow creased in thought, she didn’t hear her assistant enter the office. She sighed at the sound of her name being called, and forced a polite smile onto her face. “What can I do for you Millie?”
The woman held a hand up to stop her. “Millie, I’ve told you before, call me Asami.”
The petite blonde nodded and wrung her hands nervously. “Asami, I just received a call from my friend that works at the Neglect and Abuse hotline.” She took a step further into the office. “Your father came up in the database.”
Asami arched one perfectly manicured eyebrow. “You’re joking, right?”
With shaking hands Millie offered the papers she’d printed off. “Hiroshi Sato, age 73. My friend faxed these over.”
Asami snatched the papers away and began to read. On shaking knees, she crossed to her desk and slid into her chair. She reread the report, pausing over certain details. She shook her head. “No, no.” She slammed her palm against the desk. “Why didn’t he call? Why didn’t someone call me?”
She didn’t hear her assistant, too busy lost in her own thoughts. She hadn’t seen her father since she’d left, but when was the last time she’d spoken to her father? She’d spoken to him since she’d left home, hadn’t she? The fact she couldn’t answer, couldn’t even begin to guess how many years it had been, it was all she needed to shed light on to why she hadn’t received a call.
She jumped at the soft hand that came to rest on her shoulder. Blinking, pulling herself from her thoughts, she turned to look up into the concerned face of Millie.
“Ms. Sato, there’s an Officer Grayson on line one, says he needs to speak to you about your father.”
Asami nodded and reached for the phone, then grabbed Millie’s wrist. “Book a flight to Portland for me. First class, one way.” She took a deep breath and slid the ear piece in place, pressing a button to answer the waiting call. “This is Asami Sato.” As she listened to the man on the other end of the line she began to type up an email.
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
Korra sat in the parking lot of the hospital. She’d received a call from Kya that morning, the hospital’s report on Hiroshi was complete. As much as she hated these calls, she loved her job. For every call she had like this one, she had twenty more good ones. She loved being able to help people, and Seniors seemed to need it the most. She’d help Hiroshi too in the end, but for now she had to play the “bad guy.”
She had to be the one to make the Hotline call. The one that filed the necessary documents to get her organization involved. It was a necessary evil, so to speak, to get things moving in the right direction. Numerous times the people that yelled at her in the beginning, were singing her praises when things finally shifted.
With a heavy sigh she gathered her clipboard, ID badge, and the carry tray of coffee. When she came to the hospital for official medical reports she liked to bring the staff some coffee from the little coffee shop down the road. She quickly walked across the parking lot and paused in front of the door, a yellow cab pulling up to the curb.
Korra clipped her ID badge in place and adjusted her hold on the clipboard and coffee tray. She stepped to the door and held it open for the elderly couple that had shuffled up behind her, then waited for the passenger of the cab as well. She smiled at the long legged, curly haired woman that emerged, noting how tired she looked, the dark circles under her eyes a dead giveaway.
Asami smiled in kind to the dark-skinned woman holding the door. “Thank you.” She inhaled the invigorating scent of coffee as she walked past.
Korra stepped through the door behind her and pulled a coffee from the tray. “Hey, you look like you could use this.”
“Oh no, I couldn’t.” Asami eyed the coffee cup the woman extended towards her, fighting the urge to take it.
“I insist. I have plenty. I like to bring some for the staff on occasion, or anyone else that could use a pick me up.” Korra extended the cup further. She smiled as the woman’s fingers brushed her own as she took the cup. “You actually look like you could use an IV of it.”
Asami winced at the comment. “That bad?” She raised the cup to her lips and took a testing sip.
“Shit, sorry.” Korra felt her cheeks warm in embarrassment, she pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose and rubbed nervously at the back of her neck. “I didn’t mean that you looked horrible, you actually look quite nice, just,”
“Tired?” Asami’s eyes sparkled with humor as she watched the woman become flustered.
“Yeah.” Korra smiled sheepishly and shrugged her shoulders. “I should go, before I put my foot in my mouth again, and I have an appointment to keep. I hope whatever brought you here ends in good news.”
Asami smiled in turn. “Thank you, I appreciate the coffee.” She called after the retreating figure.
Korra spun around, walking backwards. “Anytime.” She gave a small wave before turning back around and hurrying to the nurse’s station where Kya waited for her.
Kya leaned casually against the counter of the nurse’s station, watching Korra interact with the woman. She offered Korra a sly grin when the woman finally reached her. “Look at you, making friends.”
Korra laughed at the silver haired woman and placed a cup of coffee in front of her. “Just being nice.”
Kya took a much-needed drink of the coffee. “Mmm, explains the flustered look you have. Doesn’t she have a flustered look Opal?” She asked the smiling woman behind the counter that reached for her own cup of coffee.
“Pfft,” Opal waved her hand towards Korra. “Korra gets flustered around all pretty women.” She joined Kya in laughing.
Korra groaned and rested her head against her arms on the desk top. “Can I just get my report, please?”
Kya rolled her eyes and slapped the woman on her shoulder with the file. “You’re no fun.”
“I don’t know why I bring you guys coffee.” Korra pouted as she clipped the file to her clipboard. “All you ever do is pick on me.”
“You bring us coffee because you love us.” Opal waved a hand to indicate herself and Kya. “I don’t know why you bring coffee for the others.”
“Because I’m nice.” Korra beamed, adjusted her glasses, and picked her clipboard up. “Thanks for the report guys. I’m hoping this one turns out good.”
“Us too.” Kya offered with a small smile. “His daughter is supposed to come in sometime. Mako called to let us know he’d spoken with her.”
“You happen to have her contact information? Mako hasn’t sent it over to me yet.” Korra hoped Kya would have it, it’d save a little time. She didn’t want to have to call Mako, or go down to the Police Department to get it.
“Already in the file.” Kya gave her a wink as she reached for her buzzing phone. “I got to go, see you guys later. Narook’s, seven?”
“Sounds good to me.” Korra nodded and waved as Kya ran for the elevator, then turned to Opal. “Think your aunt will ever make an honest woman of her?”
Opal snorted as she collected some papers from the printer. “Hell if I know. Look how long it took before she finally asked her out?”
Korra chuckled. “True.” She smiled at the memory of that night. Lin and Kya had been exchanging heart eyes with one another since high school, yet neither had made a move to do anything more. However, five years ago, with the aid of a large amount of liquor, Lin had asked Kya on a date.
Korra checked her watch, she had other appointments to keep today. “I got to go. Make sure Bo gets one of those.” She smiled as she turned to leave.
“Will do.” Opal nodded, knowing her husband would be thrilled. “Thanks again Korra.” She raised her cup of coffee in a salute before bringing it to her lips.
Asami stood outside the door of her father’s hospital room. It shouldn’t be so hard to just push the door open, and cross the threshold. Yet, here she was, still in the hallway. Was she ready to see her father like this? Especially with how she’d left? It wasn’t that she still hated him, no, she didn’t hate him, not anymore. She’d just, stopped caring at one point. Stopped letting him be a burden to her. Things hadn’t been all her fault though, he had been the one to cast the first stone. He had been the one to ultimately tear them apart, but neither of them had offered to help rebuild things in the years that had passed.
She chewed nervously at her lip, worried it between her teeth like she worried over the thought of seeing him again. Finally, she worked up the needed courage. She reached out, turned the doorknob, and stepped inside the room. The gentle buzz and beeps from the machines greeting her. She eased towards the side of the bed, the haggard appearance of her father drawing a gasp from her lips.
When had he gotten so old? When had he gotten so thin? The last time she’d seen her father he’d been a barrel chested healthy man. Cheeks rosy and eyes bright. Course the last time she’d seen him he’d also been angry with her, ashamed, disappointed. He’d called her horrible names, and had kicked her out of the house. Yet, it seemed that somewhere in the time since she’d been gone, time hadn’t been kind to her father.
She looked at his sunken cheeks, the wrinkles, the way his skin hung from his form. Tears burned behind her eyes as she looked at his sleeping face. She felt her chest grow tight, and she turned to flee. She shut the door behind her, and sunk down into the hallway floor. She gasped for air as the tears began to fall. She pulled her knees up to her chest, her back pressed against the door.
She couldn’t do this. She couldn’t see him like this. She hated herself. Hated that this had been the reason that had brought her home. She hadn’t come home to make peace, hadn’t come to celebrate the holidays, or even to visit like a normal functioning daughter would have. No, she needed the excuse of him being in the hospital to come home. She cursed herself for not doing something sooner, for letting him do this to them for so long. They had been so close before, she had been a daddy’s girl until the day he’d kicked her out, and then it had all ended.
She flinched, jerking her head up as she felt two large hands grab her shoulders. She looked up into the soft green eyes of a concerned looking man. She let him wrap her up into a hug as he sat down beside her. She clutched at the front of his green scrub top as she continued to cry.
“It’s going to be okay.” The man soothed, holding her close and running a hand over her hair. “Everything will be okay.”
He’d been on his way to the nurse’s station at the front of the hospital when he’d seen her. He had only stopped to make sure she was okay, but when he saw the agony in her eyes, he reached to comfort. Bolin Grayson had always been a compassionate man, which is why he had chosen nursing. He was good at providing comfort, at soothing the family. It was who he was, and it was why he found himself in the floor of the hallway, a woman clinging to his shirt as she cried.
At any point in time he could have excused himself, could have moved away and left her to cry on her own. Yet, he stayed. Whispering soothing words into her ear as she cried. Rubbing her back as the sobs tore through her. He stayed until she sniffled and sat up, and then he offered her a tissue from his pocket to wipe her face. “Are you going to be okay?”
Asami nodded as she wiped at her eyes. “I’m sorry, it’s just,” she gestured to the door behind her, “my father.”
Bolin nodded and took her hand between his, he gave it a squeeze. “It can be overwhelming at times. This can be difficult. You’re not alone though.” He offered a small smile as he patted her hand. “The staff here is really great to help anyway we can. Need advice, support, a shoulder to cry on? We’re here for you.” He stood and helped her to her feet.
“Thank you, Bolin.” She smiled at his nametag, and then her eyes widened as she saw the front of his scrub top. “Oh, I’m so sorry. I’ve ruined your top.”
Bolin chuckled as he looked down. “Nah, this is nothing. I have another I can change into.” He glanced at his watch. “I’m officially on break now, would you like to join me in the cafeteria, grab some food? You look like you could use a distraction, and some coffee.”
Asami nodded at the offer. “You wife isn’t the jealous type, is she?” She asked, spying the ring on his finger.
Bolin chortled and shook his head. “No, she’ll understand. I often eat with family members of some of my patients.”
“I appreciate this.” Asami fell into step beside him as they made their way down the hall to the cafeteria.
Surprisingly the food was pretty decent, she had been expecting something below edible for a hospital. Even more surprising was how easy she found it to speak to her companion about personal matters.
“Would you like to talk about why you broke down in the hallway?” Bolin asked before taking a bite of the sandwich he’d ordered.
“This is the first time I’ve been home since I left for college.” Asami rubbed at her brow as she did the math. “It’s been over two decades.”
Bolin nodded, chewing thoughtfully, then gestured for her to continue.
Asami took a gracious sip of the piping hot coffee. “My father.” She picked at her salad before stabbing a piece of lettuce. “I can’t remember the last time I spoke to him.” She looked up into his green eyes filled patience. “When I left it wasn’t on the best of terms. He’d kicked me out.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.” He laid a large hand over hers. “May I ask why?”
“He didn’t agree with the “lifestyle” I wanted to lead.” She added air quotations for an emphasis. She watched confusion spread across his face. “He kicked me out because I’m gay. Called me an abomination. Told me I was going to hell. It was a nasty fight.”
“Oh wow.” Bolin blinked in shock. He couldn’t imagine anyone throwing a child aside because of who their child loved. “I’ve heard stories of that happening, but, wow.”
“I left, went to college, graduated, started my own company, and lived my life. I thought I had cut him out, but today, seeing him laying there,” she shook her head as the tears stared to well up again.
“You’re having regrets?” Bolin tilted his head as he regarded her.
Asami nodded her head. “I just,” she sighed and rested her chin on her hand. “What if I’d reached out when I was younger? We could have mended our relationship. What if he’d died, and the last thing I ever heard him say to me was how much he hated me? I just feel like I should have tried to do something before now, and I feel guilty I didn’t try.”
“Did he?” Bolin watched her over the edge of his cup.
“Did he what?”
“Did he try? Did he reach out to you? Did he apologize? Did he try to fix things?” He gave her a hard stare as he leaned forward. “Then you can’t blame yourself. He could have reached out too. Do you think right now he isn’t regretting that? That he isn’t feeling guilty too?” He leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest. “I’d be really surprised if he isn’t. I’ve seen too many cases similar to this. The patient gets hit with a hard dose of reality when they end up here, and almost all of them have regrets and feel guilt about something. I say, if you want, treat this as a second chance. Try to make amends, patch things up. The choice is ultimately up to you.” He placed their trash on the plastic tray they’d carried their food on and stood.
Asami mulled his words over and nodded. “Thank you, Bolin. You have no idea how much I needed to hear that.” She walked with him as he dumped their tray.
“I’m glad I was able to help.” He smiled and held his arms open, drawing her into a tight hug. “Best of luck, and if you need me, ask for me at the nurse’s station.”
“I will, thanks again.” She offered him one last smile before she hurried off to her father’s room.
Bolin smiled after her, and then turned when heard someone clear their throat. He’s smile grew at the sight of his wife, arms crossed, eyebrow raised.
“Should I be worried?” She asked, then her face split into a grin as he tugged her into his arms.
“As if.” He placed a kiss on top of her head. “Just offering some of my sage wisdom to someone that needed it.”
Chapter 3: Chapter 3
Korra contemplated leaving, she’d just pulled up outside Narook’s, and already she wanted to leave. Her head fell back against the head rest of her seat as she mulled over going in. Her day had been long, and rough. She’d been yelled at, twice, had a dog chase her to her car, and almost got rear-ended by a teenager not pay attention. She’d completed a pile of paperwork, and then had two more piles dropped on her. She had four new cases to look at in the morning, and still had to call about the ones she hadn’t been able to get to today. Not to mention she needed to finish the grant proposal, and the deadline for it was rapidly approaching.
“I could go home, get a glass of wine, take a nice hot bath, and work on some stuff.” She thought out loud to herself. She smiled at that idea, and reached for the ignition.
She turned at the sound of her name, spotting Opal waving at her from a few cars over. Sighing she pushed her glasses up her nose and opened her car door. “Hey Ope!”
“Glad to see I’m not the only one running late.” Opal smiled and then pulled her friend into a hug.
Korra returned the embrace and glanced towards Opal’s car. “No Bolin?”
Opal shook her head as they started for the doors of the Sports Bar. “He got pulled into a case right before his shift ended. Not sure how long he’ll be.”
Korra nodded in understanding, her friends were often late, or had to cancel plans because of their workload. Not that she wasn’t guilty of the same thing. “Hope he gets to join us.”
“Me too, he really looks forward to all of us being able to get together like this.” Opal smiled and scanned the bar for the rest of their friends. She spotted the waving hand of Kya and together they made their way to the table.
“Hey guys.” Korra greeted, pulling Kya into a hug, and then Lin. “Just us?”
“Mako went to the bathroom.” Lin answered as she flagged their waitress down. “I’m guessing Bolin got pulled into that call for the auto accident?”
Opal nodded as she took her seat. “Yeah, heard it was a bad one.”
Kya nodded in agreement, looking up over her menu. “Possible DOA.”
“I don’t know how you guys do it.” Korra mused, placing an order for a beer.
“Didn’t I just say the same about you the other day?” Mako dropped into the chair beside her, leaned back, and threw his arm across the back of her chair.
“I think we’re all able to see how each other’s jobs can be difficult.” Lin wrapped her arm around Kya and pulled her into her side. “We each have certain things that makes our job, unappealing to someone outside of it, but each of us wouldn’t trade our job for someone else’s, because we know we make a difference at our job.”
Kya turned and blinked at her girlfriend. “Well said my love.” She placed a chaste kiss to Lin’s cheek.
“Wow Chief. Who knew you could be so philosophical?” Mako grinned at his boss across the table.
“Watch it Rook.” Lin growled out.
Mako rolled his eye as he took a sip of his beer. “You do know you’ve hired like four more officers since you hired me, right? I’m not the rookie anymore.”
Lin snorted as she grabbed a handful of pretzels from the basket on the table. “Still a rookie to me.”
Mako opened his mouth to argue, but stopped when Korra softly slapped her hand to his chest. He grinned and pulled her in for a hug, letting her snuggle into his side. “Rough day?”
“You have no idea.” She said into his chest as she sank into his warm embrace, his arms settling around her.
Opal eyed her and waved for the waitress. “We need stronger drinks then.”
Korra peeked at her over Mako’s arm. “You are not getting me drunk, again.”
Opal feigned innocence as she placed an order for double shots of Crown for all of them. “No idea what you’re talking about.”
“Sure.” Korra sighed, gave Mako a final squeeze, and then sat up.
“Better?” He smiled and scooted her bottle of beer closer to her.
“Much. Thanks.” She smiled and took a big gulp of her drink.
“You get to call on our patient from this morning?” Kya asked from her spot nestled against Lin’s side.
Korra shook her head as she drained her beer. “Nope. Got swamped with stuff this afternoon.” She took a couple pretzels and popped one into her mouth. “She come by today?”
Opal nodded and helped the waitress pass out the shots. “Bolin said she did. He was assigned to that wing today. We didn’t get to talk much about it before he got called away.”
“Maybe I can get a meeting with her tomorrow, find out what’s going on.” Korra lifted her shot glass, touching it to the others with a soft clink before throwing it back. “Why do I let you talk me into such things?”
Lin chuckled and signaled for another round. “I really haven’t seen that it’s taken much talking Korra.”
Korra chortled and nodded in agreement. “It never does.”
Asami tipped her cab driver as she climbed from the backseat. She’d taken Bolin’s recommendation for a good place to unwind, good drinks, and caught a cab to Narook’s. She needed to relax a little. She could feel the tension in her shoulders and down her back as she entered the Sports Bar. After spending most of the day watching her father sleep, and speaking to a few of his doctors, she had retreated to her hotel room for a much-needed shower and nap. Now she found herself in need of something strong to drink, and food.
She took an empty stool at the bar and placed her order with the bartender. “Whiskey Sour and a menu please.” She smiled as the bartender placed a napkin and menu in front of her. While she waited she watched the people, scanning couples and groups, looking. Not that she was actively looking for someone, though if she found someone that struck her interest, she certainly had some ideas for working out her tension.
“Here ya go ma’am, Whiskey Sour. Can I get you anything else?” The bartender leaned against the counter.
Asami smiled as she looked at the menu. “A Southwest Chicken Sandwich would be great.”
He offered a smile in return as he jotted the order down. “Sure thing.”
Asami sipped at her drink, and pulled her phone from her pocket. She read through a few emails from her advisory board, one from Millie, and ignored the one from Varrick. Before she knew it, her food was placed in front of her. She offered a muttered, “thanks,” to the bartender and shoved her phone back into her pocket.
Kya smirked when she saw the woman at the bar. By the look of her almost empty plate of food she had been there for a while, blocked from sight by the group at the table between them. “Hey Korra?”
Korra looked up from her plate of Fajita Nachos. “Hmm?” She shoved another chip loaded with grilled chicken and all the fixings into her mouth.
“What’d you think of that woman from this morning?”
Mako raised an eyebrow in interest. “What woman from this morning?”
Korra shook her head and waved her hands in front of her as she hurriedly swallowed her mouthful of food. “It was nothing.”
“She gave coffee to this woman at the hospital today.” Kya gave a shrug of her shoulders as she raised a forkful of mac and cheese to her mouth. “Rather plain looking.”
Korra whipped her head towards Kya in shock. “Plain? You think that woman was plain looking?” She scoffed, shaking her head animatedly as she reached for the Margarita she’d ordered with her meal. “You need your eyes checked Kya.” She took a long pull of her drink.
Mako tilted his head as he watched her, then caught the exchanged look between Opal and Kya. He smirked in understanding. “So, you’re saying she wasn’t plain looking?”
Korra slammed the empty mug down on the table and turned towards him, missing Lin refilling the mug from the pitcher in the middle of the table. “Fuck no she wasn’t.” She sighed and sank back into her chair. “You should have seen her Mako. Gorgeous doesn’t even begin to describe her. She had legs for miles, she rocked the shit out of that business suit. Ruby red lips, luscious black waves of hair.” She groaned and sank down into her seat a little. “Her smile was amazing, but she looked exhausted though.” She reached for her mug and took a drink.
“She doesn’t look tired now.” Lin stated, eyeing first the woman at the bar, and then Korra.
Korra jerked up in her seat, immediately at attention. “What? Where?”
Opal and Mako turned in their seats, craning their necks to see where Lin pointed behind them to the bar. Korra turned as well, her eyes instantly landing on the woman from this morning. “Oh spirits.” She took another large drink from her mug then turned back around. “She looks even better. How is that possible? How does someone already perfect look better than before?” She threw her head into her hands.
Kya chuckled and reached out to pat her arm. “You could go say hi?”
Korra shook her head, it was still buried in her hands.
Lin flagged their waitress down. “Our friend here,” she gestured to Korra, who still had her face buried in her hands, “would love to order the lady at the bar in the tight red t-shirt another drink, whatever she’s having.”
The waitress nodded and started to turn to leave. “Wait,” Mako called, stopping the waitress as he dug for his wallet. “And our friend would like to cover her ticket.” He pressed a fifty into the waitress’s hand. “Keep the change.”
Korra lurched forward and grabbed him by the shirt. “What are you doing?” She gave him a slight shake, her glasses sliding down her nose.
Mako fought the urge to laugh as he reached out and pushed her glasses back in place. “Helping you out.”
“Guys, hey!” Opal smacked Korra’s arm. “The waitress is approaching her.”
“Excuse me Miss.” The waitress smiled at Asami, set a new Whiskey Sour down in front of her and collected the previous two empty glasses.
Asami lifted her head, pulled her attention away from her phone. She cleared her throat before she spoke. “Yes?”
“Your ticket for this evening has been paid for, and this drink has been ordered for you.”
Asami blinked and shook her head. “I’m sorry?”
The waitress chuckled. “Someone bought your dinner, and paid for your drinks tonight.” She turned and pointed towards Korra. “That’s her.” She turned back to Asami. “Pretty cute if you ask me, and adorable when she’s blushing.” She smiled as she collected Asami’s empty plate.
Asami locked eyes with the woman from this morning. She smiled and lifted her glass, then motioned for the woman to join her.
“Shit, shit, shit.” Korra spun back around. “She wants me to come over. What do I do?”
“Oh my god.” Lin shook her head, leaned forward, reached across the table, and flicked Korra in the forehead. “Go over there.”
Korra blinked a few times, processing, working up the courage. It sounded like a good idea, she could do this. She took another drink from her mug, which somehow, magically kept refilling. “Good idea Lin.” She turned to Kya, and smiled broadly. “I see why you date her.”
Opal and Mako fought not to laugh as Korra surged to her feet, almost knocking her chair over in the process. “I’m going over there.” She announced to the table, and half the bar. She pushed her glasses back up her nose.
Mako schooled his features, hiding his laughter behind a serious scowl. “Go get her tiger.”
“I will!” Korra turned, unsteadily, and marched to the bar, mug in hand.
“Do any of you feel bad about getting her drunk then sending her over to possibly get laid?” Opal leaned forward to ask the table. She looked them all in the eye.
“No.” They all answered at once.
“I consider it a great service.” Lin added, raising her glass in a salute to Korra’s retreating form.
“Hey.” Korra smiled as she stepped beside the woman.
Asami smiled and turned on the stool, flipping her hair over her shoulder. “Seems I owe you another thanks.”
Korra rubbed at the back of her neck, then gestured her mug towards the empty stool next to her. “May I?”
“Please do.” Asami moved her drink to the side, watched the woman take her seat, her eyes giving her a once over. “So, do you buy dinner and drinks for everyone you give coffee to?”
Korra laughed and shook her head. “No, I don’t.” She sighed and took a sip from her drink. “Honestly, I didn’t buy your dinner and drinks tonight. My friend did.” She jutted her chin in the direction of the table she’d been at.
Asami flicked her eyes in that direction, watching as four sets of eyes quickly found something else to look at. She smiled and leaned in, placing her hand on the woman’s knee. “Why would your friend do that?”
The alcohol gave her a great boost in confidence, and dulled her filtered. “Probably because I rambled about how gorgeous you are, and they knew I wouldn’t come over here on my own.” Korra’s face colored at the admission. “Oh spirits.” She rubbed at the back of her neck again, warmth spreading through her, and she wasn’t sure if it was from the alcohol, or the finger drawing little designs on her thigh.
Asami giggled and shifted a little closer, her interest unquestionably piqued by the woman. “The waitress was right, you’re adorable when you blush.”
Korra grinned and ducked her head, her glasses slipping down her nose. “Sorry, I’m a bit of a mess.”
“And I’m not?” Asami reached over and tipped her head up with a gentle brush of her fingers.
“If you are, you’re a beautiful mess.” Korra’s gaze flicked to those ruby red lips, a slow buzzing building in her ears as she felt her body lean forward. “I’m Korra by the way.”
“Asami.” She smiled as Korra leaned in, catching movement from the corner of her eye. “Your friends are watching us.”
Korra grinned, and stopped. “Sorry.” She whispered, hesitating, unsure whether to continue or pull back.
Asami reached out, her fingers curling into Korra’s shirt. “Good thing I’m a bit of an exhibitionist.” She tugged Korra forward, guiding her to close the distance.
Their lips met slowly, a soft press of warm contact. Then Korra’s hand slid behind Asami’s neck, pulling her in, deepening the kiss. Asami smiled into it, ran a testing swipe of her tongue against Korra’s plump bottom lip. Korra opened gladly, extending her own in a greeting, feeling her tongue slide gently against Asami’s. A loud whistle broke the fog that had started to settle into Korra’s brain. Asami pulled back at the sound of yell.
Both Korra and her turned towards the noise. Korra’s face colored at the sight of her friends, clapping, and cheering. She groaned and rested her forehead against Asami’s. She watched Asami’s lips turn up into a smile, then she sat up, and gave her friends the finger.
“Do you want to get out of here?” Asami asked, one hand stroking idly at a well-muscled bicep, the other pulling her phone from her pocket.
Korra grinned and nodded. “I’d like that.”
Asami stood, pressing a button to order an Uber. “My hotel is just a few blocks away.”
Korra grabbed her hand, linked their fingers together, and tugged her towards the door. “What are we waiting for then?”
Chapter 4: Chapter 4
This chapter contains smut and squirting.
They stumbled into the hotel room, Asami reaching behind her to insert her key card as Korra pressed her into the door. They almost fell as the door swung open, inviting them into the darkened room. Asami fumbled along the wall, her fingers flicking the little entry light on. Her lips were pressed to Korra’s, her tongue teasing as her fingers tugged at the button on Korra’s jeans.
Korra’s hands slid under Asami’s shirt as she walked her backwards towards the bed. She pulled it up and over her head, tossing the garment towards the corner. Her hands slid over smooth, ivory skin and brushed against black lace. She kissed along Asami’s jaw, down her neck, nibbling, feeling the erratic rhythm of Asami’s pulse beneath her tongue. She inwardly cursed as her glasses slipped down her nose, but she didn’t dare remove a hand from Asami’s body to push them back up.
Asami moaned at the hot tongue that flicked against her skin, she rolled her hips forward, pressing them against Korra. Spirits, she was burning up. She felt an electric buzz coursing through her, radiating from her core, each press of lips, and caress of fingers caused it to throb with need. She all but shouted in triumph as she gained entry to Korra’s jeans, shoving her hand past denim, and damp cotton underwear. She slid her fingers through slick heat, her skilled fingers pressing instantly against Korra’s clit.
At the first press of fingers Korra groaned, trembling at the contact, her head falling weakly against Asami’s shoulder as her hips bucked forward, asking for more. She buried her nose in the crook of Asami’s slender neck, the scent of vanilla clinging there. She gasped at the feeling of a finger circling her entrance, her head growing foggy, as she was lost to the sensation, to the pleasure and stretch of the two fingers that entered her. She focused on meeting the shallow thrusts, on pressing her hips greedily into the palm that rubbed so enticingly against her clit. She clung to Asami, her knees trembling as her pleasure mounted, her fingers pressing into supple flesh. It was like nothing she had ever felt before, as her orgasm came to a head, spilling over, her mind went completely blank, her eyes shot wide, and she bit down on a delicate collar bone to keep from screaming.
Asami hissed at the pain, her free hand snaking up to grab Korra by the hair, she gave a sharp tug, and captured the woman’s lips with her own, all the while milking ever tremor she could from the woman. She maneuvered Korra around, letting her practically melt into a puddle on the mattress. She watched Korra’s chest heave, saw her body shake, and gave her a minute to recover. She shimmied out of her jeans, taking her time working them down her hips, feeling bright blue eyes on her as she did. She left them in a heap on the floor, reached behind her to undo her bra, and let it slide to the ground.
Korra sucked a desperate lungful of air in, the sight of Asami’s all but naked form kicking her brain back into gear. She felt a new surge of energy. She wiggled out of her jeans and underwear, catching the upward and approving twist of Asami’s lips. She grabbed her shirt by the hem, lifted it up over head, feeling fingers trail up her sides in the process. She let Asami remove her bra, let her press her down into the mattress, settling over her, their bodies pressed together.
Asami giggled, looking down into Korra’s face, seeing her glasses skewed, and this ridiculous smile on her lips. She reached up and slowly pulled Korra’s glasses away.
“I can’t see without those.” Korra protested, reaching out, her strong grip on Asami’s wrist.
Asami ducked her head, pressed a kiss to swollen lips. “Baby, all you need to do is feel.” Her voice was thick with desire as she pressed her thigh against Korra’s already sensitive core.
Korra moaned, her grip loosening, deciding her hands fit better on ample hips. She wasn’t completely blind without her glasses, everything was just blurry. She could see enough that when Asami shifted forward, stretching to lay the glasses on the nightstand, her chest in Korra’s face, Korra craned her neck and captured a perfect little pink nipple with her mouth. She rolled her tongue over it as she gave a hardy suck, her teeth pinching and scraping as Asami’s hand came around behind her neck, pulling her closer.
Asami bit at her bottom lip as she pressed down against Korra’s firm thigh, her panties rubbing delightedly. It wasn’t what she wanted though, she wanted something more, no, she needed it. She rolled, Korra following, switching her places. She tugged her in for a fierce kiss, clashing teeth as she nipped at Korra’s bottom lip, then soothing it with her tongue.
“Touch me.” She demanded, lifting her hips, letting Korra jerk the last garment down.
Korra was in a frenzy, her heart and mind raced. She clamped down on her thoughts before they got out of hand, given the chance she knew she’d second guess herself, second guess this whole situation. She didn’t need her brain for this, it was sex, something she’d done before, she didn’t need to think, just feel. Or rather, taste. She smirked as she felt Asami jump at the first swipe of her tongue. She took a second one, a long, slow stroke with her tongue pressed flat, pressing hard, dragging each little, individual taste bud over a hot core, and then a twitching clit. She stopped there, ravishing the sensitive bundle of nerves with licks and flicks. She swirled her tongue against it, pulling it into her mouth for a gentle suck.
Asami weaved her fingers into Korra’s hair, fisting it, holding her in place as the woman worked her devilish tongue over her. She moaned and twisted against the sheets, it felt so good, god it was blissful. She didn’t want it to end, but at the same time, she wanted that delicious, staggering wave to wash over her.
“Fingers.” She growled out, her hips bucking up into Korra’s mouth as two fingers slid into her entrance. She shuddered at the fullness, rocked her hips to meet the first stretching thrust and the next. Yes, this was closer to what she wanted, that beautiful feeling of those fingers curling up, hooking at just the right angle. Her breath caught for a moment, a choked and broken moan pouring forth into the night. She reached behind her, her palm flattening against the headboard as she used it for leverage, pushing her hips and clit eagerly against Korra’s hand and face.
Excitement coursed through Korra, the pricks of pain from Asami pulling her hair, the way the woman roughly bucked her hips. All of it, it egged her on, encouraged her. She hooked her fingers up with a sharp movement, then pumped them back in. She scrapped her teeth against the inside of Asami’s thigh, fastened her hot mouth against the spot, and sucked, knowing she’d leave a mark when she finished. Oh, the sounds she pulled from that perfect mouth as she coaxed the vixen beneath her over the edge.
Asami opened her mouth as the first wave steam rolled her, no sound escaped her throat. She trembled, and shook, her muscles clenching and fluttering around the fingers that continued to work her over. She moaned at the feeling of teeth on her hipbone, fingers scratching against her stomach. Her back arched off the bed, another wave of insurmountable pleasure coursing through her.
“Fuck!” She yelled as warm hands kneaded at her ass, pushing her pelvis up, a hot tongue replacing the pumping fingers. “Oh, fucking hell!” She felt the sudden rush of wetness, felt a spike of both fear and embarrassment at what her body had just done.
Korra felt the flood hit her lips, and spill down her chin. She eased up with her movements, but didn’t stop them completely until she felt Asami’s hand grow lax in her hair. She placed a kiss to a hip bone, another above her navel, and again to a creamy white breast. She panted as she wiggled her way up Asami’s body, being pulled up and into a pair of lips.
Asami’s tongue darted out, tasting herself on Korra’s mouth. With a sigh she pulled back, letting Korra settle against her. She steadied her breathing as best she could, but could do nothing for the way her heart hammered in her chest. “I am so sorry. I didn’t know that would happen.” She cringed in embarrassment.
“I’m not sorry it happened.” Korra propped her head up on her hand and shrugged, wiping her mouth with the back of her free hand. “So, I take it that was your first time?” She paused, and then clarified. “Squirting I mean.”
Asami felt the color rise in her cheeks, and she almost didn’t answer. “Yes.” She studied Korra’s face, watching as her lips tugged up into a smug grin. “Okay, wow, and rude.” She pushed gently at her shoulder, relief washing over her.
“Well, I mean, I’ve never caused someone to do that before, so yeah, I’m feeling kind of,” she searched for the right word and came up short. “I feel weird saying proud.”
Asami giggled and shook her head. “After that, you should feel proud, cause holy fuck.” She stretched, reaching her arms way over her head, curling her toes as her back arched off the bed. “Mmm, I feel so good right now.”
Korra chuckled and tentatively rested her free hand on Asami’s stomach. “Well, I’d hope so.” She smoothed her thumb slowly, back and forth over the soft skin.
Asami felt a familiar stir between her legs at the contact and reached out to lay her hand over Korra’s. Her voice was low, almost dangerous sounding as she quietly warned her bedmate. “Don’t start something if you don’t plan on finishing it.”
Korra shivered at the words, and leaned in, her mouth skimming over Asami’s ear. “Trust me, I always finish what I start.” That was all it took to have Asami pushing her flat against her back, straddling her, and jerking her hands over her head for another round.
Korra woke all at once, sitting straight up in bed, the covers pooling around her waist. She clutched at her head and fought a wave of nausea. She reached blindly for the nightstand, finding her glasses on the second pass. She groaned as she rubbed at her temples, hoping to ease the headache. She was hungover, she wanted coffee, aspirin, and food. She wanted more sleep, but more than anything, she desperately wanted some water.
She eased herself from bed, careful not to disturb the woman next to her. A goofy grin spread across her face at the sight of the woman’s bare back and mess of hair. She padded quietly into the bathroom, turned the facet on, and used her hand for a cup. Water had never tasted so good, she gulped it down, and splashed some on her face.
She rolled her shoulders, and twisted, her back popping from the motion. She gave a content sigh as she headed back to the bed, fully intent on morning snuggles. She spied her jeans on the floor, halfway under the bed. She fished her phone from her pocket as it buzzed, announcing the arrival of a text.
“Shit.” She whispered as she saw the numerous missed calls from Opal, and Mako. Then her brain registered the time. “Oh, fuck, fuck, fuck.” She hastily grabbed her clothes and shoved them on, she was late for work. She looked around, making sure she had everything, and hurried out of the room, ordering an Uber along the way. She sent Mako a text when she hit the lobby, thankful today of all days, was his day off.
Asami stretched when she woke, a full body stretch, reaching her hands way over her head and pressing her feet into the bed. She settled back into the sheets with a smile, her tension from yesterday was gone, she really felt amazing. She rolled to her side, expecting to find the sleeping form of Korra next to her. She frowned at the emptiness of the bed, cold sheets greeted her fingers. She sat up, clutching the sheet to her chest, only her clothes were still on the floor. She wasn’t sure what to think, no note, leaving abruptly. She shook her head, it didn’t matter, she’d done one-night stands before, noted none of them had left without at least saying goodbye.
She found the nerve to leave the warmth and comfortable nest of the sheets. She needed to shower. She needed to go back to the hospital, check on her father. With a sigh she turned the water on, letting it heat up while she retrieved her phone. She plugged it into the charger after seeing she didn’t have any messages of importance, then went back to the bathroom for her shower.
Chapter 5: Chapter 5
Korra hurried to her office, a few of her coworkers giving her an odd look as she went by. Her hair was still wet from her rushed shower, and she wasn’t even positive her shoes matched. She pushed her glasses up her nose as she rounded the corner, a familiar form leaning against her door. She smiled at the sight of the takeout bag and coffee cups, praising the heavens above she had such an amazing friend.
“Thank you, you really are the best.” Korra gushed as she unlocked her office door, motioning for Mako to join her.
He smirked as he sat her cup down on her desk, and dug out the burrito he’d brought her. “No worries.” He tossed her car keys onto her desk.
“I was starting to panic about those.” Korra admitted sheepishly as she sank into her seat, booting her computer up as she reached for the cup of coffee.
He gave her a wink as he sprawled lazily in the seat across from her. “I always have your back.” He took a large bite of his breakfast burrito, and chewed thoughtfully, watching Korra boot up her computer. “So, how was last night?”
Korra fought the blush and heat that crept up her face. “Uh, it was good.” She smiled shyly as she took a healthy bite of her own breakfast burrito.
“Just good?” Mako tilted his head, studying her, chewing thoughtfully on his food. “Almost an hour late for work, wearing two different shoes, your shirt inside out, and all you have to say about last night is ‘it was good?’”
Korra dropped her burrito, and shoved back from her desk. She looked down, sure enough, two different shoes, and her shirt was wrong side out. She groaned as she stood and stepped into her closet. “I don’t know what you want me to say.” She pulled her shirt off, turned it right side out, and gave it a good shake. “It was amazing. Her body was spectacular.” She tugged her shirt on and stepped out of the closet. “The way she kissed,” she groaned at the thought of those ruby red lips on hers, “and shit Mako, she wanted it rough. I have bruises.” She lifted the hem of her shirt to show one, then slid back into her office chair.
Mako shook his head, a large smile on his face. “Did you get her number? Name?”
“No, I,” she paused, what was her name? She knew the woman had said it at the bar. She wracked her brain for it, for anything close, even the first letter. “Shit.” She rubbed at her face, pushing her glasses up to her forehead. She let her head fall forward against the desktop.
“You didn’t get any of it?” He leaned forward, peering worriedly at his friend.
“She told me her name at the bar, and I can’t remember it!”
“Wow.” Mako laughed, then leaned back in his chair, and tossed his wrapper away. “Must have been all that alcohol you had.”
Korra lifted her head, and glared at him. “Fuck you.”
He chuckled and stood. “I got to go. Hope you have a great day.”
She waved him away from her desk. “Yeah, yeah. Go, be free.” She smiled as he opened the office door. “Mako, thanks again.”
“No problem Kor.”
She settled into a steady rhythm as the day wore on. She completed reports, faxed forms, answered emails, and worked on her grant. Today hadn’t been too bad, considering this morning. She’d even had a chance to go over the extra files that had been dumped on her from yesterday. Yes, today was a good day.
She hummed along to the station playing on Spotify as she straightened her desk, sorting through files that were still active, and those that needed to be filed away. She froze as she saw the corner of one sticking out from under a binder full of state forms. She tugged it out, Sato, H. was written in bold letters along the top. She wanted to bounce her head off the wall, she’d completely forgotten, and it was a case that had to be taken care of within a certain time frame.
She eyed the clock, looked like she’d be making up that hour she’d missed this morning. She reached for the pone and dialed the number Kya had written on the sticky note inside. She let it ring, and ring, expecting voicemail to pick up at any time. Instead, she got a breathy, “hello?”
“Hi, I’m looking for Ms. Asami Sato, daughter of Hiroshi Sato. Would this be her?” She wrote down the date and time of the call on the form in the file.
“This is she. What can I do for you?”
“Ms. Sato, I’m Ms. Street, I’m contracted by the Department of Health and Senior Services. I need to set up an appointment to speak with you about the recent case we have that concerns your father. When is a good day and time for you?” Korra’s pen hovered over the paper as she waited for an answer.
“Are you the one that called the Hotline on my father?”
Korra gritted her teeth at the sound of anger in the woman’s voice, she wasn’t surprised by it though. She was used to being the one blamed. “Yes ma’am, I am. Which is why I need to speak with you.”
“I can meet today, I’d very much love to speak with you, and your supervisor.”
Korra smirked at the sarcasm and shook her head. “I’m sorry, that would have to be arranged for another day, my supervisor is actually on vacation this week.” She could hear the irritation in the woman’s breaths.
“I suppose you’ll do. I’ll be there at four. What’s the address?”
Korra rambled off the address. “Sounds great Ms. Sato. I’ll see you then. You have a great day.” She sighed as she hung up the phone, and hoped, just in case, there would be someone else in the office around four.
Asami angrily shoved the phone back into her pocket. She couldn’t wait to speak to this Ms. Street. How dare she make such a call on her father! She clenched and unclenched her fists at the steady thrum of anger. She had a few choice words for this woman.
The sound of a groan drew her attention back to her father. She watched as his brow furrowed in his sleep, and she stood, stepping to stand beside the bed. She brushed her fingers against his forehead. According to the nurse he’d just fallen back asleep when she’d arrived this morning. He tended to sleep a few hours, then wake just in time for his pain shot to be administered, and then he was asleep again.
She was anxious for him to wake. Once he woke she could find out what happened. What made him fall? Did he trip, was he dizzy? She wanted to know what had happened. Why had he lost so much weight? Why was he so frail? What could she do to help?
All these questions and more ran through her mind, and she couldn’t answer them. The nurses she asked didn’t know. Her father had to wake so she could find out what was wrong, but most importantly he needed to wake so she could have a chance at mending things.
She’d thought a lot about Bolin’s words, and it may have taken over twenty years for her to finally realize she could have another chance with her father, but at least she had a chance. She could try, instead of just wondering what if. She leaned down and pressed a small kiss to his forehead, careful not to wake him.
A soft knock came from the door, she looked up to see Bolin smiling at her. He jerked his head, asking her to step out into the hall. She squeezed her father’s hand, and went to join him.
“Hey, what’s up?” She smiled at the bright-eyed man.
“Layla said you’ve been here since this morning. I came to take you for a walk.” He smiled and offered her his arm.
“Bolin I’m fine.” She shook her head and waved her hand at him.
He sighed, his face taking a serious expression. “Look, I know you want to be here for your dad, but you have to take care of yourself. Shutting yourself up in his room doesn’t do you any good, especially not right now when you can’t talk to him.” He reached out and gave her shoulder a gentle squeeze. “Please, go for a walk with me, once around the floor?”
She reached up and patted the hand on her shoulder. “Okay.”
He smiled brightly and offered her his arm again. He led her down the hall, and around the corner. “Have you eaten today?”
She nodded and smiled at his concern. “Yes, and I brought granola to snack on while I wait. If I get hungry I know where the cafeteria is.”
“Hey, hey now. I’m just checking on you.” He stopped outside a large glass window, peered inside, a wistful smile forming on his face.
Asami followed his gaze, and she found herself smiling as well. They had stopped outside the Maternity Ward. She looked at the rows of babies, swaddled in blue, green, and pink blankets. “You have any kids?”
Bolin shook his head. “No, not yet anyway. We’re trying though, might try adopting. Opal would make such a great mom.” His face brightened at the thought. “This is one of my favorite places to come. They’re always so cute. I often wonder what its going to be like to look in here at my own kid.” He smiled and turned to look at Asami. “What about you?”
She sighed and shook her head. “No. Never really gave it much thought. I’ve always been so driven and focused on my company.”
He nodded in understanding as they started walking again. “That happens, and it’s okay. You do you Asami Sato.”
She chuckled and nodded. “I usually do. I’m often seen as stubborn and bitchy because of it.”
Bolin shook his head and frowned. “I never understood that. To me,” he glanced at her, made sure she was listening, “powerful women have always been sexy. Never understood why most men thought of it as a bad thing.” He gestured to her. “You, you’re powerful, business tycoon, kickass boss lady. It’s hot. My wife, head nurse. Saves lives, gives orders, powerful, and there’s not a damn thing wrong with it. Not a damn thing wrong with either of you. Yet, because some man somewhere found a powerful woman intimidating, there’s this negative connotation about it.”
She couldn’t help the smile that spread across her face. “Your wife is a lucky lady to have you.”
“You know, I happen to think the same thing.” He grinned, leading them around another corner.
Asami stepped from the back of the Lyft she’d taken from the hotel. She ran a hand down the front of her blouse to smooth it, checked her black slacks for any stray lent, then squared her shoulders and started for the doors of the building. She had arrived a little early for her meeting with Ms. Street, but a lot less angry. Her walk with Bolin had done her more good than she’d realized.
During the walk she had let her anger with the woman she was about to meet subside, and slip away. Now, taking the elevator to the third floor, she was doing a great job of not letting it build back up. She needed to go into this with a calm attitude, needed to hear her out, because in the end, this was about her father.
She took a deep breath as she exited the elevator and strode to the little reception area. She smiled at the elderly woman behind the desk. “I have a meeting with Ms. Street.”
The woman smiled back and nodded. “Sure, let me page her and she’ll be right out.”
Asami gave another winning smile and turned to read over some pamphlets on the desk.
Korra jumped as her desk phone beeped. “Yes?”
“Ms. Street, your four o’clock is here.”
“Thanks Janice, I’ll be right up.” Korra stood, and gave herself a quick brush over with her hands, her eyes landing on her mismatched shoes. “Shit.” She thought for a moment, then pressed the button for the receptionist.
“Yes Ms. Street?”
“I’m sorry Janice, but could you send her back instead?” Korra knew it was unprofessional to not meet the woman up front, but she knew she wouldn’t be able to handle the embarrassment of being caught wearing two different shoes.
Asami turned to the woman at the desk.
“She’s gotten got caught up with something, if you don’t mind heading on back, second hallway on the right, third office on the left.”
“Thank you.” Asami gave a polite smile and started down the hall. She paused outside the office, reading the emblazoned plate, K. Street. She knocked gently at the door, drawing the attention of the dark-skinned woman at the desk, head down as she read over forms.
Korra raised her head and stood, all in one motion, she froze at the sight of the woman in front of her. “Uh, how did you know I worked here?”
Asami stepped into the office, her brow creased with confusion. “I didn’t, I have an appointment.” Her eyes shot wide. “Ms. Street, K. Street. Korra, I have an appointment with you!”
“No, that’s,” Korra picked the file up in front of her. “I have an appointment with,” she trailed off, the memory of last night at the bar coming back to her. Exchanging first names before being pulled against those lips. She sighed and strode forward, stepped around Asami, shut the door, and then motioned for her to take a seat. “I’m sorry, I have to apologize,”
“Did you know before you slept with me?” Asami leaned forward in the seat, cutting her off, stared the woman across from her down. “Is this why you left without a word this morning? Do you make this a habit, sleeping with the family members of the people you Hotline? Is this some ploy to get money from me?”
Korra shook her head, a look of bewilderment on her face. “No, I had no idea who you were.” She took her glasses off, set them on her desk, and pinched the bridge of her nose. “First time I ever saw you was when I gave you the coffee at the hospital,” she slid her glasses back in place. “Then I saw you at the bar, and this morning I couldn’t remember your name. I saw what time it was, I panicked because I was late, and I left.”
Asami worked her jaw as she took her words in. “Why Hotline my father for falling?”
Korra shook her head and slipped her glasses back in place. “I didn’t Hotline him for falling. I got asked to perform a Wellness check with Officer Grayson,” she opened the file and looked it over for review as she spoke. “We were alerted that he’d missed some of his scheduled physical therapy appointments to help him recover from his stroke. His nurse was,” she paused as she saw the look of surprise on Asami’s face. “You didn’t know?”
Asami shook her head as she sank back into the chair. Her father had had a stroke. He’d had a stroke and she didn’t know, hadn’t been called. “I haven’t spoken to my father since college.” Her voice cracked, and her throat burned, she felt sick. She pressed a hand to her stomach, hoping to calm it.
“He had a massive stroke five months ago. According to his nurse, Kya, he had to learn how to walk again. They thought that was why he fell, he was still unsteady on his feet, he could have lost his balance, but after further studies they discovered he’d had another stroke.” Korra watched her over the edge of the file. “He didn’t call you? The hospital didn’t call you?”
“No. First call I got was from Officer Grayson the day he was taken to the hospital.” Asami swallowed hard, fighting the bile that rose in her throat. She definitely felt sick. “Do you have a trashcan I can have?”
Korra surged to her feet, trashcan in hand. She hurriedly sat it in front of Asami and disappeared out the door. She returned quickly, water and peppermints in hand. She sat them on the edge of her desk, then eased herself into the seat next to Asami. “Is there someone else you want here? Do you want to do this at another time?”
Asami looked up into her blue eyes, she saw the sadness in them, empathy, and a touch of pity. She shook her head and sat up, popped a peppermint in her mouth, and took a drink of water. “No. Continue.”
Korra bristled at the sudden switch to the all business attitude. She reached across her desk and grabbed the file. “Your father’s nurse for physical therapy requested the Wellness check. Officer Grayson and I found him in the kitchen, he’d had another stroke, fallen, broke his hip. We aren’t sure how long he was there.”
“What do you mean by that?” Asami spat, anger starting to push to the surface.
“Ms. Sato, he missed two appointments. He has one every three days. He laid there, on his kitchen floor for that long, and that’s if he fell the night before the first missed appointment.” Korra reached out, her fingers resting gently on Asami’s arm.
“But he could have fallen after the last one he attended?” The last of the color drained from her face. The thought of her father, in pain, scared, alone, thirsty, hungry, laying there, no one coming to help him, her gut twisted. She grabbed the trashcan and emptied her stomach contents into it.
Korra grabbed the mass of hair from Asami’s face. Gathered it back in one hand and rubbed her trembling back with the other. “Shhh, it’s okay. It’s alright.”
Asami shook her head, she sniffled, and wiped at her nose. She took the offered tissue, wiped her mouth, and then retched again into the trashcan. Hot tears flowed down her cheeks. No, it wasn’t okay. She was a horrible daughter. She hadn’t been there for her father. She should have. She should have reached out long ago. Maybe if she had, this wouldn’t have happened.
“Ms. Sato?” Korra rubbed gently at her back, spoke her name twice more, finally drawing her from wherever her mind had wandered. She sighed at the look in those emerald eyes, she recognized it, hell she’d felt it herself, regret. “This isn’t your fault. Don’t think that, don’t you blame yourself. No one else does.”
Asami let her words slide past her, she didn’t take them in. “What else happened, with my father?”
“We can do this another time, we can talk about it in pieces. You don’t have to,”
“What else happened with my father?” Asami spat the words, all but growled with each one.
Korra clenched her jaw and sat back in her seat, pulling the file from her lap. “After the paramedics took him to the hospital I looked through the home, Officer Grayson escorted me. We found the living conditions to be deplorable. Because of the condition of the house, and the fact he’d fallen I had to make a Hotline call.”
“I want to see the house.” Asami pushed herself to her feet, started for the door.
Korra grabbed her by the arm. “Asami, I don’t advise you do that at this time.”
Asami let out a deep, and twisted sounding chuckle. “Now you remember my name.” She pressed her lips together and turned towards Korra, jerked her arm free from her hold. “I’m seeing my father’s house.”
Korra nodded and grabbed her car keys from her desk. “Very well, let me drive you, please?”
Asami nodded, and gestured for her to lead the way, if only so Korra wouldn’t see her knees shake.
Korra sent Mako a text message as she walked to the car. She prayed he’d be there. The drive was quick, and silent. As soon as she pulled up outside Asami was stepping out. Korra hesitated, unsure if she should go with her or not. “I can’t let her do this alone.”
Asami found the front door unlocked, and stepped inside. She clamped a hand over her nose as she was assaulted by the harsh stench of rotting food. She took in the sight of the trash, piled in heaps in every corner. Dishes were scattered about, bugs crawling through half eaten food. She didn’t even want to know what was smeared on the walls. It was like her father had just stopped caring about the house. Stopped taking care of it, of himself too apparently.
She didn’t recognize her childhood home, the home she’d made so many happy memories in. Sure, she had some bad ones, but those memories with her mother and her father outweighed the others. “I don’t understand.” She turned in a slow circle, not sure what she should be feeling right now.
“The whole house is like this, except one room.” Korra stepped beside her, placed her hand on the small of Asami’s back, then jerked it way when Asami flinched. “I’m guessing your room is down at the end of the hallway.”
Asami nodded and picked her way through the house to her old room. Just as Korra had said, it was the only room that wasn’t a deplorable mess. It was exactly as she had left it. “What does this mean?” She shook her head at the ridiculousness of it all.
“Some part of him knew this room was important.” Korra offered as she stood in the doorway. “Asami, the tests the doctors ran,” she waited for Asami to look at her. “They show deterioration in Hiroshi’s brain.”
“That’s absurd. My father is the smartest man I know. He can’t, that isn’t,” she ground her teeth together.
“I’m sorry.” Korra could think of nothing else to say, what else was there for her to say?
Asami closed her eyes, head bowed. “Why didn’t the doctor or nurses tell me any of this?”
“Procedure. I had to talk to you before any other information could be released. I apologize it took so long.”
“Do you know, is there a company I can hire to clean this?” Asami looked up from the carpet, and regretted it when she saw the pity in Korra’s eyes. She hated that the most. She could take hate, and sadness, but not pity, especially not now.
Korra nodded and fished her phone from her pocket. “Yeah, I have one.”
Asami held her phone out for Korra to take, watching her enter the number, then shoving her phone back into her pocket. “Do we have anything more to discuss Ms. Street?”
Korra’s shoulders hunched forward at the tone. “No ma’am.” She had her answers as to why Hiroshi was living as he was. Asami didn’t know anything had been wrong. She couldn’t have, they hadn’t spoken for twenty years. Korra made a few more notes in her file as she walked back through the house. “Would you like me to give you a ride somewhere? Back to your hotel?”
“I’ve already made arrangements.” Asami didn’t even give her a backward look as she walked past, head down.
Mako stepped to stand beside Korra, having parked next to her car. “Isn’t that the girl from last night?”
Korra nodded as they watched Asami get into the yellow cab. “Yep, and Hiroshi Sato’s daughter.”
Chapter 6: Chapter 6
I really wasn't sure how this story would go over when I started posting it. I'm thrilled it's being received so well. Thank you all for the feedback and the encouraging words, I really do appreciate them and all of you.
Saturday morning Korra found herself sitting at the kitchen table at Opal and Bolin’s house. She stared absentmindedly into her coffee, stirring some sugar into it. She didn’t pay any attention to the others around her, her mind lost to thoughts of Asami and Hiroshi. She wore a deep frown on her face, and carried a heavy sadness with her since their meeting. She blinked as a plate of food was slid in front of her.
She slowly looked up, blinking into the many faces staring back at her. She cleared her throat and sat up. “I’m sorry. What were we talking about?”
Kya exchanged a look with Lin, a small smile on her face. “We were wondering when you’d give us details about your hook up?”
Of course, Mako hadn’t told anyone anything, leaving it to Korra, as it was her business. “It was fun, good times, don’t think I’ll see her again.” She sipped at her coffee and pushed her plate aside.
“There’s something you aren’t telling us.” Opal tapped a finger against her chin as she looked her friend over. “Was she horrible in bed?”
“Have a weird fetish?” Lin chuckled and shoved a forkful of pancakes into her mouth.
“Oh, I know, did she have an extra toe?” Bolin asked, peeking over the top of the fridge as he looked for milk.
Korra shook her head, and shrugged her shoulders. “What the hell, not like it matters anyway.” She pointed to Kya and Opal. “You two remember that file I had to pick up, she’s the daughter.”
“What? You’re kidding?” Kya leaned forward, her eyes wide in shock, then turned towards Lin. “The Wellness Check you sent Mako on.”
“Ooh, what are the odds of that?” Lin shook her head and went back to eating.
“I hate it when you guys talk conspiratorially.” Bolin slid into the chair at the head of the table.
“We’ve told you before Bo, sometimes we have the same patients, clients, and we’re able to talk about them without actually talking about them.” Korra gave him a look. All of them were under a Privacy Protection Agreement. They couldn’t discuss a case outside of work, but like all things, there were loop holes. No patient/client names mentioned, no personal details, no policies broken.
“I know, I know. Still be nice if I knew what you were talking about.” He smiled and turned to Opal. “Hey babe, if you don’t have plans tonight, I was thinking you could swing by before my shift starts. I want to introduce you to one of my patient’s daughters.”
“Sure, I can do that, but why?” Opal gave him a confused look.
“I just think you and her would hit it off, she’s dealing with stuff right now, got some upsetting news about her dad a few days ago. She barely leaves the room. I’m worried. Asami might benefit from having someone to talk to other than the regular nursing staff.” Bolin took a drink of his milk.
Korra looked at him. “Asami? Fucking hell. This gets better and better.”
“Care to fill us in kid?” Lin could see she was growing agitated.
“Kya’s Wellness Check, turned into my Hotline call.” She waved towards Bolin. “Which became Bolin’s patient. He’s becoming best friends with the woman who hates my guts, and thinks I fucked her because I had to Hotline her father!” She was standing now, and yelling. She hadn’t realized how much she’d let this whole thing bother her. She’d had worse cases, cases she’d taken home and cried over, they haunted her less than this one did.
She pushed her chair under the table, and grabbed her jacket from the back of it. “I need to go.” She ignored the protests of her friends and left, pointing her car towards the hospital.
Asami had dark bags under her eyes again, she hadn’t slept much since the meeting with Korra. She couldn’t bring herself to do so, she kept imagining what her father had gone through. Each time she closed her eyes she pictured the worse, and it progressed from there, it went from worst case scenario to the worst-case scenario. The one question that kept floating around in her head, what if Korra hadn’t found him when she did?
She spent most of her time in her father’s room, waiting for those brief few minutes he was lucid. The doctor had ordered his pain meds to be backed down, which meant when he woke today, there was a chance she’d actually have time to talk to him before he fell asleep again.
She reclined in the chair next to his bed. Her hand laid over his, a gesture more for her own comfort than his. The steady rhythm of the machines lulled her. She never even knew when her chin fell forward against her chest, and her eyes closed.
Korra eased the door to Hiroshi’s room open, and slipped inside. The nurses had told her he was asleep, and she didn’t want to disturb him. She spotted Asami in the chair next to his bed, also sleeping. Korra noticed the circles under her eyes, and frowned, Bolin was right, she didn’t seem to be taking care of herself. She crossed to the small table next to the chair Asami slept in. Quietly she placed the vase of flowers on it, and a card. She wanted to let Asami know she was there to help, if the woman would let her.
She looked at Asami’s sleeping form, something she wished she’d had the chance to do before. She reached out and brushed a strand of hair away from Asami’s face, and smiled when the woman mumbled in her sleep. She turned to leave, giving a glance in Hiroshi’s direction as she turned. She paused and looked back, his hazel eyes, appearing almost violet, watched her carefully.
“Mr. Sato,” she stepped towards the bed, “do you remember me?”
Hiroshi scanned her face, a small, sleepy smile forming on his cracked lips. He nodded, and lifted a trembling hand, searching for hers. “Thank… you.” His voice was rough, and he said the words slowly, like it was a chore to get them to roll off his tongue.
Korra took his hand in her own. “Would you like me to get your nurse? Or to wake your daughter?”
Hiroshi’s eyes flashed from happy to sad, so fast, Korra wasn’t positive she had seen the change. His face contorted as he fought to remain composed, but the tear sliding down his cheek released the flood gate. He tried to raise his hands to wipe at his face, but was too weak to do so.
“Here, I got you Mr. Sato.” Korra grabbed a Kleenex from the side table. She dabbed gently at his face. “Shhh, it’s okay. She’s right here, she’s sleeping. She came a long way to see you.” She smiled at him and took a step towards Asami. Korra knelt down beside her and gently grabbed her shoulder.
Asami smiled in her sleep, her name floated into her dreams on the voice of an angel. Blazing sapphire eyes formed in her head, then a nose, and upturned lips. She liked that face, liked the wicked things those lips had done to her. She felt a tightness grow in her stomach. Suddenly, she jolted awake, and turned her attention to the woman, literally, of her dreams. “Korra?”
“Hey, sorry to wake you, but your dad is awake.” Korra beamed at her, and stepped back to the hospital bed. “She’s awake, give her a minute.”
Asami scrambled to her feet, and flew to her father’s bedside. She peered down into his soft eyes, they were crinkled at the corners as he smiled up at her. “Daddy?” Her voice broke with emotion. “I’m so sorry. I should have come sooner.”
Hiroshi shook his head, finding the strength to raise his hand, and press it against his daughter’s porcelain cheek. “I should have,” he cleared his throat, wishing he had water, “apologized sooner.”
Korra stepped back, eased herself to the door, and slipped back out. This was an exchange that needed to be done in private. She drew a deep breath once she was in the hallway, willing her own emotions to settle. Then walked happily down the hall, feeling lighter than she had that morning.
Asami and her father talked and shared tears together. She hugged him, careful of the wires and his hip, then stepped aside for the nurse that had entered to examine him. It felt good to have this start with him, to have a chance at more. She resumed her occupancy of the chair, the nurse fussing over her father. With a small smile on her lips she turned towards the bright arrangement of flowers. She looked around the room, she hadn’t realized Korra had left. Then a thought occurred to her, had it not been for Korra, she may not have gotten a second chance with her father. She had the opportunity to let a grudge go, forgive, and move on. Perhaps she needed to do the same with Korra?
Chapter 7: Chapter 7
Started working on Chapter 9 today, and it's going so swimmingly I thought I'd upload another chapter for self motivation.
She lied to herself again, as she usually did on Saturday evenings. She swore she wouldn’t come into the office, crossed her heart, scouts honor. Yet, here she was, six o’clock on a Saturday night, glasses slipping down her nose, shoulders hunched over the keyboard, luke-warm cup of coffee in her hand.
Korra skimmed through her grant proposal, tweaking things here and there. She needed it to be perfect. This was like a child, her child, a part of her. She’d literally put sweat, blood, and tears into this. Sweat from the days she’d spent jogging back and forth to the library down the block, retrieving articles for research. Tears from crying in frustration when she’d thought for one horrifying day she’d somehow deleted all her work. Blood from that unfortunate mishap with a box knife when she’d unboxed the book she’d had to special order.
The pressure she put on herself was unfathomable. A lesser person would have crumbled beneath it, but not Korra. No, she didn’t crumble, she just didn’t sleep, or eat, or socialize much, but she didn’t crumble. With an exasperated sigh she flopped back into her chair, and slouched down. Her mind raced with everything, too much for her to process, too much for her to think, to work, she needed it quiet.
There was only one thing that Korra had found to quiet her mind, exercise. She shoved herself out of her chair and stepped into her closet. She exchanged her casual wear for a blue tank top, and running shorts. She slipped into a pair of well-worn tennis shoes. Then placed her glasses on the corner of her desk. The good thing about Saturdays in the office, there wasn’t anyone to yell at her for what she was about to do.
She turned her workout playlist up high, and swung her arms, stretching as she walked to her office doorway. She reached up, curled her fingers over the smooth metal lip of the door frame, and lifted her body. She pulled herself up, angling herself so her chin became level with the top of the doorframe before beginning to slowly lower herself back down. One song bled into two, and her skin was damp with sweat. She let go and moved to the middle of her small office, shoving the chairs to the side, and laying flat on the floor.
She had a routine worked out, pull-ups, planks, sit-ups, pushups, and squats. Some days it took a little more for her brain to stop all the clatter, others she could focus by the time she finished a set of sit-ups. Today wasn’t that day though, today she was deep into her third circuit. The night was pushing nine o’clock and she was just starting her third set of sit-ups. Her clothes clung to her, sweat sliding down her body in thin rivulets. Her skin was hot and flushed, her hair matted to her forehead, and the back of her neck. Her arms trembled and practically screamed at her as she settled into her pushups, even threatening to give out as she lowered herself for the twentieth time.
That’s how Asami found her. She’d bribed the janitor to let her in, had followed the music back to the small office, and then she found herself rooted to the spot. She stood, transfixed, as she watched Korra lower herself to the ground, and then push herself back up. She watched the way those sculpted arms moved, how the skin rippled with the flow of each muscles movement. The whole scene brought back flashes of the night they’d shared, and she found herself pressing her thighs together.
She willed the thoughts away, she’d come here to apologize, nothing more. She owed Korra that. She ran over the words she had to say again. The carefully crafted apology she had written in her head on the drive over here. She knew exactly what she wanted to say, what she needed to say to fix this whole mess. Yet, she found those carefully crafted words disappearing, sinking to the back of her mind as she watched Korra stand, her tongue wetting her suddenly very dry lips.
Korra pushed herself to her feet and grabbed the hem of her tank top, she pulled it up and wiped her face, clearing the sweat from her eyes. She froze as she noticed the figure in her doorway dropping her shirttail as she came to attention. She pressed a button on her phone to silence the music and fumbled for her glasses. “Asami, what are you doing here?”
Asami’s gaze flicked away from Korra’s stomach, her face going red. She cleared her throat and stepped into the office. “The janitor let me in,” she watched a droplet of sweat snake its way down Korra’s chest, “I came to, uh, I wanted to,” she brought her eyes back up to meet Korra’s, “talk.”
Korra motioned for Asami to take a seat as she leaned back against her desk. “How did you know I was here?”
Asami slipped into the chair, perched herself on the edge, and sat up straight. “Opal assured me you’d be here.”
“Why not make an appointment for Monday?” Korra lifted her shirt tail to wipe at her face again, adjusting her glasses back in place.
Asami willed herself not to look, and prided herself on this display of strength. “I felt it couldn’t wait till then.” She offered a small smile as Korra nodded for her to continue. “I need to apologize to you, I owe you an apology for the things I said during our meeting.”
Korra held up a hand to stop her. “Already forgiven.”
“You’re kidding?” Asami leaned forward. “I accused you of,” she stopped talking as Korra knelt in front of her.
“I know, and it’s okay. Asami, this job, I’m not always the most liked. Over the years I’ve learned not to take what everyone says to heart, so I forgive easily, and quickly.” Korra shrugged and stood, offering Asami a lopsided smile.
“Wow.” Asami flopped against the back of the chair and laughed. “I had this whole big speech ready to go, and you didn’t even let me get started.”
“You would have a speech prepared.” Korra snorted then stepped into her closet, shoving her discarded clothes into a gym a bag. “Oh, I called one of the companies we typically use for house cleaning,” she stepped out, patting at her arms and legs with a towel, “they’ll stop by your father’s house Monday morning, and a repair man was supposed to be out today to fix the door. Don’t worry, it’s taken care of.”
“Korra, you didn’t need to do that. Let me repay you.” She fished around for her wallet, stopping when two warm hands settled on hers.
Korra smiled down at her and shook her head. “It’s taken care of.”
Asami huffed, blowing a strand of hair out of her face. “Let me do something to show my gratitude.”
Korra opened her mouth to protest, her stomach giving a loud rumble to cut her off. She smiled, and rubbed at the back of her neck. “Buy me dinner?”
“Done.” Asami shoved herself to her feet. “Where would you like to go?”
Korra grinned and started out of her office. “I know the perfect place.”
“I agree to buy you dinner and you pick a food cart on the corner?” Asami eyed first Korra and then the street cart in front of them.
“Trust me on this, best thing you’ll eat, ever.” Korra smiled and stepped forward.
The short, potbellied man behind the cart smiled. “My favorite customer! Want your usual Kor?”
“Times two Frank.” Korra watched excitedly as he placed thin strips of meat on a tortilla.
Frank glanced up, his eyes flicking from Asami to Korra. “You know there’s classier places to take a dame Kor. I thought your mother raised you betta?”
Korra shook her head and smiled. “And here I was, just bragging about your food, doing my civic duty to spread the word about your little setup.”
He snorted as he layered the veggies and cheese on top. “Yeah yeah.” He ladled sauce over everything and started wrapping it all up in the tortilla. “Say, what’s a dame like you see in a broad like her?” Frank gave Asami a considering look as he lowered the wraps into the fryer.
“Frank,” Korra rolled her eyes and glanced at Asami. “She’s a friend. We’re just getting dinner.”
He shook his head again and pulled the now golden-brown wraps from the grease. He let the excess grease drip off before taking a seasoning shaker over them. “Whatever you say doll.” He smiled and wrapped the food in tinfoil before handing it over.
Asami stepped forward, pulling a twenty from her wallet. “How much?”
Frank waved his hand at her. “Nah, don’t worry ‘bout it. I’ll just charge her double next time.”
Asami looked at Korra, who only shrugged in answer. She folded the twenty up and shoved it into the tip jar. “Thank you.”
Frank grinned as he fished the money out and shoved it in his pocket. “Hey, I like this one Kor. Bring her ‘round more often.”
Korra shook her head as she waited for Asami. She handed her order of food over. “So, he doesn’t really have a name for this thing, but it is amazing.” They walked slowly down the sidewalk as Korra explained. “He marinates the beef, slow roasts it, shaves it. Piles it with onions, peppers, tomatoes, and cheese. Sauce is some family recipe. Then he deep fries the whole thing, melts the cheese, and gives it a nice crunch. It’s like a burrito and gyro in one.” She took a big bite, smiling as she chewed.
Asami took a small testing bite, wiping at the sauce on the corner of her mouth. The flavor exploded across her tongue, and she hummed in approval. “Okay, better than I was expecting.”
“But not the best thing you’ve tasted?” Korra chewed and watched her from the corner of her eye.
Asami shook her head as she thought. “No, but it’s hard to beat authentic Italian, and Chinese. Best street cart food I’ve ever tasted though.” She smirked and nudged Korra’s shoulder.
“I don’t imagine you’ve had much of that.”
Asami dabbed at her mouth with her napkin. “Just a few places. Hotdog cart in New York, pizza in Chicago, and mystery meat in Taiwan.”
“I’m not even going to ask on that last one.” Korra shoved a hearty bite into her mouth, finishing her food in record time, and tossed her wrapper into a trash can.
“You always workout in your office?” Asami smiled and took another bite of the food.
Korra hefted the gym bag up on her shoulder. “Only when I’m working, and I can’t think.” She tilted her head in thought. “So, yeah, always.” She offered a smile and they walked a bit in silence. “How’s your dad?”
Asami nodded, chewing the last of her food before answering. “Seems to be doing okay, turns out his hip is in better shape than they originally thought. He just has a small hairline fracture, no surgery needed. Doctor said he could go home in a few days, he’ll have to take it easy, and take a calcium supplement to help it heal.”
“That’s great Asami.” Korra smiled broadly at her.
“We still have a bit to talk about, he didn’t stay awake long this afternoon, but I still have a few days with him.” Asami kicked at a rock on the concrete, sending it skipping away from them.
Korra reached out and grabbed her hand, gave it a tight squeeze. “There’s always time to work things out with family, and I’ll do anything I can to help you and your father.” She squeezed Asami’s hand one more time, before letting it go.
Asami frowned at the absence of the contact. “I’ll remember that, and thank you.”
Korra stopped outside an apartment building and fished a card out of her bag. “Here.” She held the card out for Asami to see. “This is my office, and work cell.” She pointed to two numbers printed on the front before flipping it over, displaying a number scrawled across the back. “This one here is my personal cell.”
“You give all your client’s daughters your personal number?” Asami cocked an eyebrow and smirked at her.
Korra pushed her glasses back up her nose and shook her head. “Just the ones that buy me dinner.”
“Technically I didn’t buy dinner. Frank said he’d charge you for that.” Asami ducked her head and took a small step forward.
“Okay fine, then I only give it to the one’s that walk me home.” Korra jerked a thumb over her shoulder to the apartment building. “Thanks for coming by, I’d probably still be in the office if you hadn’t.”
“My pleasure.” Asami said the words quietly, having realized how closely to each other they stood. Her decree from earlier about just coming to apologize had slowly started to dissolve when they left the office. Now, standing outside Korra’s apartment, the night heavy with possibilities, she found it completely gone.
Korra cleared her throat as she tilted her chin up, feeling like she was being tugged forward by an invisible force. “I should go.” The words came out barely audible, just above a whisper.
Asami brushed her lips softly against Korra’s. “I could come up?” She pressed their lips more firmly together, her hand coming to rest on Korra’s hip.
Korra hummed in approval as she parted her lips. “Yes, that’s a,” the little voice in the back of Korra’s head went off, reminding her that through Hiroshi, Asami was considered a client. Her personal policy against getting too involved with clients sprang to the forefront of her mind. Korra pulled back, placed her hand against Asami’s chest, gave a gentle push, and shook her head. “I’m sorry, I can’t. I’m supposed to help your father, this,” she motioned to the space between them, “cannot happen again.” She stepped back, put more distance between them. “Call me if I can help, and thanks again for dinner.”
She turned and hurried into the apartment building, taking the steps two at a time as she bound up the stairs to her apartment. She slammed the door behind her, pressed her back to it, her head thudding hard against it as she let it fall. “Fuck,” she slid down to the floor, “of all the women in all the bars.” She murmured bemusedly, then raised a finger to her tingling lips.
Chapter 8: Chapter 8
Crushed Chapter 9 and working on 10, I like a chapter or two in my pocket. Don't get used to this many updates all at once. Sometimes I have time to write like I have today and sometimes I don't. Today is a good day for writing for me. Enjoy.
Asami sat in a little office located one floor, below her father’s room. She tapped her fingers against the arm rest, her eyes darting around the room. Books on holistic healing, and natural medicines lined one shelf, while thick volumes of medical textbooks lined another. She took in the arrangement of pictures, the smiling faces, the beautiful scenery. She jumped at the sound of the door opening, turning to see a dark-skinned woman with long silver hair, and light blue eyes smiling at her.
“Hello Ms. Sato. Sorry to keep you waiting.” She extended her hand, giving Asami’s a gentle squeeze in greeting. “I’m Kya, I’m your father’s physical therapist.”
“Please call me Asami.”
Kya nodded and eased herself into her chair behind her desk. “I was helping your father recover from his initial stroke and I wanted to discuss some treatment plans with you. Is now a good time to do that?”
Asami nodded and leaned forward in her seat, her nervousness from earlier gone, replaced now with studious concentration.
“First let me start by asking, what do you plan on doing with your father once he’s released?” Kya smiled and flipped a file in front of her open, pen poised over the paper.
“I’m going to take him home.”
“His home or yours?”
“His. Ms. Street made arrangement to have his house cleaned up, its back to livable conditions.” Asami couldn’t believe the work the company had done in just a few days; the house was spotless.
“Will you be staying with him, or hiring a service to take care of him?” Kya waited patiently for Asami’s answer.
“I can’t stay with him, I need to get back to work. I could hire someone to check in on him from time to time.”
Kya shook her head as she set her pen down and leaned forward on her elbows. “Asami, your father needs someone with him twenty-four seven. I know you’ve been made aware of the fact that your father’s brain is deteriorating.”
“Yes, but no one has taken the time to explain that to me.” Asami picked at the hem of her shirt. “I’m a fairly intelligent woman, but I’m not sure what you mean by deteriorating.”
Kya smiled politely. “We both know you are far more than fairly intelligent, but I understand what you’re getting at.” She pulled two papers from the file on her desk, and set them side by side to reveal a comparison photo. “This picture is your father’s brain after his first stroke.” She pointed to the picture on the left. “The white or light gray areas indicate normal functions. As you can see, perfectly healthy, even after the first stroke. Now, here,” she pointed to the second picture, two dark spots, each the size of a dime grabbed Asami’s attention. “These are the areas that are deteriorating, meaning the neurons are dying.”
Kya pointed to the areas again. “Before you ask, no we can’t treat it. It’s like a diseased area, if we could remove it, it’d stop the spread. Unfortunately, we can’t do that. This will spread.”
Asami nodded in understanding, her eyes darting back and forth between the two pictures. “What does this mean for my father?”
“It means as it progresses he’s going to start forgetting, unlearning things. It most usually starts with words; some people can’t think of the word brush when shown a picture of one. Others will see a brush and say another word instead. He’ll forget how to tie his shoes, work a phone, things he’s done every day, for years. In some cases, one might forget how to feed themselves but retain the information to play a complicated piece on the piano.” Kya watched the war of emotion play across Asami’s face. “There’s things to help, exercises mentally and physically, but he needs the right care.”
“What do you suggest?” Asami met her gaze, her own almost pleading for an answer.
Kya considered for a moment, opened a drawer and withdrew a few pamphlets. “You could consider these. I rotate my time between these three, so I know the staff, he’ll be in good hands.”
Asami skimmed the pages for the nursing homes. “Is there one you would recommend over the other?”
“No, all three have skilled nursing staff on hand. These three are always in the top, they jostle back and forth in their ranking, but they’re always the top three.”
Asami nodded as she skimmed through the pamphlets. “May I keep these?”
“Oh of course. Take your time. This isn’t a decision made over night.” Kya smiled warmly at her and then handed her a business card. “If you need anything, please don’t hesitate to call.”
Asami placed the pamphlets and card in her handbag. “Thank you, I really appreciate this.” After a few brief parting words, she left. She had much to think about, to consider, and as she climbed into the back of the cab she had the intention of going back to the hotel to mull this all over. Yet, when she pulled the pamphlets out again, she felt the sudden urge for a strong drink.
The cab dropped her off in front of Narook’s Sports Bar. She imagined there were other places in town one could go to for a drink, but she supposed Narook’s would serve her best. She took a seat in a small corner booth, a waitress appearing beside her table as soon as she sat down. Asami placed an order for a, “whiskey, neat.” As she waited for the drink to arrive she fanned the pamphlets out in front of her.
She sipped thoughtfully at her first drink of the evening and considered the pros and cons of Shadyvale Housing. Her father would have access to a state of the art rehabilitation center to help him recover from his strokes. His food would be provided to him based on a nutritional analysis of his current diet and a physical. And, according to the little section written on the back in fine print, Shadyvale only accepted visitors twos days a week. She frowned as she reread that little passage.
She didn’t like the idea of being told she could only visit her father during certain times. It made her wonder just what took place at Shadyvale outside of those visiting hours. She pushed her glass to the end of the table, her fingers wrapping around the refill the waitress had just set down. She sipped at it as she considered the next pamphlet, finding it was just as pretentious as the first.
Her father didn’t need access to an Olympic sized swimming pool to get better. He didn’t a “specialized team of nurses and doctors contracted solely” for his personalized care. He certainly didn’t need to have the option of taking a special monthly trip to the casino a few towns over. He needed someone to help him, that was a given, but he didn’t need all these bells and whistles.
She drained her glass and tossed the pamphlets aside. She wondered how many people signed their parents up for Shadyvale and never went to visit. How easy would that be? To hand her father over for someone else to worry about, it made her stomach turn. She’d just gotten him back, just managed to feel like she could have a relationship with him. Yet, here were all these options that would make it entirely way too easy to push his needs off on someone else.
She tossed back the drink the waitress handed her. “Bring me the bottle.” Asami pressed a crisp hundred into the waitress’s hand. She glared at the pamphlets and pulled them back towards her. As the bottle of whiskey was set in front of her she started reading through the pamphlets again.
Korra sighed as she pulled into the parking lot. She wished she’d gone grocery shopping the day before. However, since she hadn’t, it was either grab dinner at Narook’s on her own, or take her chances with the Chinese takeout that had been in the fridge for far too long to even remember when she’d bought it.
Her initial reaction to entering the Sports Bar was that someone was having entirely way too much fun. She eyed the small group of men gathered around the jukebox as she took a seat at the bar. She studied the menu, her attention being drawn occasionally to the loud howl of laughter and occasional cat call coming from the group. She jerked her chin in their direction as the waitress approached. “What’s going on there?”
The waitress rolled her eyes and tapped her pencil on her pad. “Some lady couldn’t hold her drink. She’s been dancing with anyone she can get hands on for the last hour.”
Korra’s brow furrowed in concern at her words. “That sounds to me, like a group of men passing a drunk woman around for their own amusement.”
The waitress smacked her gum and shrugged. “I’m not a babysitter. You gonna order or what?”
Korra slammed her menu down on the bar. “No, I’m not.” She pushed her glasses up her nose and scanned the woman’s name tag. “I’ll be contacting your manager, Teresa.”
Korra stomped past the wide eyed waitress, and headed for the rowdy group of men. She shouldered past the jostling bodies, and stepped into the small opening in the center. Her jaw hit the floor at she spied Asami, her hands over her head as she swayed to the music. Korra’s astonishment didn’t last long though, her brain registering the lecherous man with his hands on Asami’s hips.
Korra stepped towards him and grabbed him by the shoulder. “That’s enough.” She tugged for him to back off.
“Hands off bitch.” He sneered and shoved her away.
Korra clenched her fists, shoved her glasses back up her nose, and stepped towards him. “I said that’s enough.” She clapped a hand around his wrist and started squeezing. “I suggest you let my friend go, and back the fuck off.”
The man took a step towards her, leaving someone else to slide into his place with Asami. Korra squeezed and quickly bent his wrist down, applying hard enough pressure that the man instantly fell to his knees. She leveled a glare at the men standing around. “Let her go, or I break his wrist, and then I kick your ass.” She applied more pressure to the man’s wrist, his screams of pain causing some of the others to disperse.
She shoved the man away and stepped towards Asami. “Asami, hey, it’s Korra. Come on, let’s get you out of here.”
Asami smiled at Korra. “You’re so cute.” She threw her arms around Korra’s shoulders, nuzzled her nose into her neck. “Why don’t you want to sleep with me again?”
“Not a good time for that.” Korra grimaced as she tried to maneuver Asami to the doors.
Asami grabbed her face in her hands, and planted her lips on Korra’s. She moaned as she licked into Korra’s mouth, her hands sliding down to squeeze at Korra’s backside. She pouted as Korra tugged away from her. “Hey, come back!”
Korra groaned and shook her head as she adjusted her glasses. “Stop it.” She grabbed Asami’s hands to hold them still. “Can you walk?”
Asami grinned and nodded. Then jerked her hands from Korra’s grasp and proceeded to attempt to walk to the bar. She made it three steps before stumbling and falling. She laid on the bar floor, tears stinging her eyes.
Korra knelt beside her, her hands reaching for her shoulders. “Are you okay?”
Asami sniffed and nodded. “I fell.”
“I can see that.” Korra gave her a weak smile and helped her sit up. “I’m going to take you home okay?” She watched Asami nod, and she reached up to brush the hair from her face. “I need to get you to my car though, can you hang on to me while I carry you?”
Asami nodded and gave a small giggle when Korra hefted her from the ground. She wrapped her arms around Korra’s neck, and leaned in. “You’re warm.” She snuggled into the warmth, her lips pressing a small kiss to Korra’s neck.
Korra clamped her teeth together at the feel of those lips, and increased her speed across the parking lot. With some difficulty she managed to get the passenger door open and eased Asami inside. She buckled her in before jogging around to the driver’s side and getting in the car.
She didn’t know where else to take her, she couldn’t remember the name of the hotel Asami was staying at. Based on the lack of a purse she was guessing Asami didn’t have a room key with her anyway. Korra did the only thing that came to mind. She drove Asami to her apartment, maneuvered her out of the car, and carried her upstairs.
“How about I put you to bed?” Korra grunted as she kicked the front door behind her closed.
Asami nodded enthusiastically at that idea. “Bed sounds good.” She placed another kiss to Korra’s neck.
“Stop doing that.” Korra chided as she sat Asami gently down on the bed. “Let me find you something to sleep in.” She turned her back to dig in her dresser. With a pair of pajama pants, and an oversized t-shirt in her hands, Korra turned back around, her cheeks instantly coloring.
With great ease Asami had stripped out of her clothes. She sat, leaning back on her heels, waiting for Korra, a smile on her face.
Korra cleared her throat and looked at the wall above Asami’s head. “You should put these on.”
Asami sat up, rising to her knees, and wrapped her arms around Korra’s neck. “You’re very adorable when you blush.” She pressed a kiss to the corner of Korra’s mouth. Trailed kisses down Korra’s neck, and then up to her ear.
The clothes fell out of Korra’s grasp, her hands gravitating to Asami’s waist. The skin beneath her hands burned. She felt it scorch her palms as she slid them up Asami’s ribs, and around to stroke at her back. She tilted her head to the side, letting Asami kiss and lick a trail of fire. She leaned eagerly into the kiss Asami pressed to her lips, her body responding to the touches and caresses.
She felt a tug at the button of her jeans, her brain overriding the desires of her body. Korra hissed and jerked back, her hands gripping Asami’s wrists. “We can’t, not now. Not like this.” She drew a ragged breath through her teeth. “You’re drunk, and I let this get out of hand, for that I’m sorry.” She took three steps back, bumping into the dresser as she reached behind her for the bedroom door. “Put those on,” she pointed to the pajamas, “I’ll order us a pizza.”
She hurried from the room, shutting the door behind her.
Chapter 9: Chapter 9
Asami groaned and rubbed her face as she blinked the sleep from her eyes. She frowned at the lingering taste on her tongue. “What the hell happened?” She pushed herself into a sitting position, her eyes widening as she became aware of her lack of clothing. “Oh, no.” She glanced around the unfamiliar room, her fear growing as she heard the echo of footsteps approaching the bedroom door. She clutched the bedsheet to her chest, a gentle knock sounding before the door slowly eased open a couple inches.
She watched as someone slowly peeked around the corner, a surge of relief coursed through her as she recognized Korra. That feeling didn’t last long though. A flash of her pulling Korra against her last night came to mind. She groaned at the memory.
Korra shuffled in, her eyes fixed firmly on Asami’s face. “Good to see you’re awake.” She rubbed at the back of her neck as she stopped at the foot of the bed. “How are you feeling?”
Korra gave an understanding nod. “I would imagine. I found you at Narook’s, you’d had a few too many.”
Under the covers Asami pulled her knees up to her chest and rested her chin on them. “I was going over some pamphlets, trying to choose a nursing home for my dad. Obviously, didn’t handle the stress of that too well.”
Korra offered a weak smile. “We deal with stress in different ways.”
Asami sighed and nodded. “I know, but I shouldn’t have let it get to me like it did.” She looked up from staring at the sheet in front of her, locking eyes with Korra. “Why did you bring me to your apartment?”
Korra rubbed at the back of her neck and blushed. “I couldn’t remember the name of the hotel you were staying at.”
Asami took a minute to absorb that. “What else happened?”
Korra took a step towards her, then stopped, thinking better of it. “I was trying to find clothes for you to change into, and you,” she gestured to Asami’s clothes in the corner. “You stripped down.” Her cheeks held a rosy tinge.
Asami shifted, the covers falling slightly. “Did we?” She gestured to the bed.
Korra cleared her throat, and shook her head, her blush deepening. She adjusted her glasses before speaking. “You kissed me, well we kissed, and, uh.”
“But we didn’t have sex?”
“No, absolutely not. You were drunk.” Korra gave her a firm look.
Asami nodded in understanding, a small smile on her lips. “Thank you, and I’m sorry you had to deal with drunk Asami.”
Korra smiled in turn. “Drunk Asami wasn’t that bad. You were a little handsy, but you fell asleep while I ordered pizza.” She picked up the outfit she’d found for Asami to wear last night and handed them over. “These probably won’t fit great, but they’re clean.”
Asami tucked the sheet under her arms and reached for the clothes. “Thank you.”
“No problem. You can get changed, I’ll make breakfast, and then we’ll go from there.” Korra gave her a large grin before turning and leaving the bedroom.
Asami emerged from the room wearing the borrowed clothes. Korra’s shirt was a little too big for her, the shorts a little baggy. The gentle sound of pots and pans clinking together greeted her ears. The smell of cooking food filled her nose, and her stomach rumbled in anticipation. She turned a corner, her eyes falling on the folded blankets and a couple pillows stacked on the couch, confirmation to her theory of where Korra had slept.
“Hey, coffee?” Korra called from the stove.
Asami tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “Yes, please.”
Korra nodded and set a full mug on the small table. “You okay with eggs and toast?”
Asami hummed as she sipped at her drink. “It’s perfect.”
“After this I can give you a ride to your hotel?” Korra smiled as she plated the eggs, catching the frown on Asami’s face. “Or I’m more than happy to take you somewhere else.”
Asami sighed and gave a polite smile in turn. She sat in silence as Korra placed butter and jelly on the table, followed by a stack of toast. She waited until Korra sat down beside her before speaking. “Korra,” she reached out and lightly laid her hand over Korra’s. “I don’t want you to get in trouble at work, but I really don’t want to go back to the hotel.” She looked up from the plate in front of her. “The hotel, the hospital, I need a break from them.”
Korra grinned and gave Asami’s hand a squeeze. “I know, about time you realized it.” She took a bite of food. “Maybe you should have got drunk sooner.” Korra covered her mouth with her hand. “You’re welcome to hang here today, or we can go do something.”
“I don’t want you getting into trouble though, don’t you have a policy about getting involved with client’s?” As much as Asami wanted to spend more time with Korra, she really didn’t want her to get in trouble.
Korra set her fork aside and crossed her arms on the table. “I won’t get in trouble at work. I’m the one with the policy about not getting too involved with my client’s.” She smiled sheepishly and leaned back in the chair. “After a few years doing this, I realized I needed it. I let too many of them get to me.” She tapped her chest, where her heart would be. “It took an emotional toll. I couldn’t help them all. Some of the people I see have no one else, and they’re starved for attention, someone to talk to, and they just need someone to come by every now and again and help them. That’s what I tried to do, and before I knew it I was spending all my free time trying to meet their needs, but I couldn’t get to everyone, and I hated that. Then I realized I wasn’t balancing work and home very well. I felt like I was neglecting myself, and my family. So, I’m the one that put the policy in place, to protect myself.”
“You did it to help you find a balance between work and home?”
Korra nodded in answer. “I had to, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do my job.” She reached over, her fingers sliding across Asami’s cheek as she tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “That’s why I pushed you away the other day. I was afraid of whatever this is between us, clouding my judgment when it comes to helping your dad.”
“Was? As in not anymore?” Asami asked, a hopeful tone to her words.
Korra smiled, her hand sliding down Asami’s arm to her hand. “Job related, I will do everything I can to help your dad, and treat his case like I would anyone else’s. Personally, I can’t deny I’m attracted to you, or how much I really want to get to know you better.”
Asami smiled and squeezed Korra’s hand. “Okay then. I think we can work with that.”
While they finished breakfast, they decided to make the most of the day. A day filled with getting to know each other, and distracting them from their respective stresses. They made a pit stop at Narook’s where Asami retrieved her purse that had been left behind. She was relieved to find everything accounted for, even the pamphlets Kya had given her. Next, they swung by Asami’s hotel, giving her a chance to change into clothes that actually fit.
Korra had the idea of taking a trip to the mall. It gave them opportunities for plenty of time to chat and wander around, but it also provided activities as well. They watched a movie in the attached theater, sharing a tub of popcorn, and blushing whenever they both reached for the buttery snack at the same time, their hands bumping gently together. They browsed a records store, each showing the other some of their favorite bands, and partaking in a fair amount of good natured ribbing over some of those choices. They got ice cream from one of the little booths in the food court, Asami laughing at the smear of whipped topping on the end of Korra’s nose.
Korra couldn’t remember the last time she’d taken the time do something like this, even on her own. She spent her time working, and while it was true that her personal policy with clients reminded her to not get too close, she realized it hadn’t really helped her separation of work and home. In place of spending that extra time working to help a client, she’d just taken on projects that would help several clients. Instead of fretting about Mrs. Jenkins being alone for Thanksgiving, she worried about getting a grant turned in on time. Instead of spending her personal time helping Mr. Martin navigate the local Farmers’ Market, she spent her personal time doing research and crunching numbers. She didn’t hate the work she was doing, she loved her job, but she realized she didn’t find it as satisfying as she once had.
The sounds from the arcade up ahead drew her attention, and she became aware of the fact that Asami was watching her. She instantly knew why, she’d gotten lost in her head again. Had let her thoughts turn to things she couldn’t change at the present time, and had slipped from enjoying the moment she was present for. “Sorry about that, I got lost in my thoughts.” She blushed and rubbed at the back of her neck.
“Where’d you go? In those thoughts, where’d they take you?” Asami stopped and turned to face Korra, giving her all her attention.
“I started thinking about when the last time was I had done something like this, spent a whole day having fun, no work.” She toed at the tile on the floor, and shrugged. “I couldn’t remember. It’s been so long since I just set aside work and really took time to enjoy the day.”
Asami smiled, leaned in, and pressed a chaste kiss to Korra’s cheek. “I’m glad you were able to take that time today.”
“Me too.” Korra grinned and jerked her head towards the arcade. “Come on, let’s play a few games.”
Asami could tell Korra hadn’t told her everything she’d realized during the time she’d spent reflecting on herself, but she didn’t want to push, she didn’t have that right. So instead of pressing Korra for more, she nodded her head and followed Korra into the arcade.
Korra huffed and dove behind a boulder, tucking into a roll and springing to her feet. She adjusted her glasses and rounded a corner. She ducked behind a wall, flattening herself and melding into the shadows. She waited, listening. She heard footsteps, running, coming from the way she had. She peeked around the corner, and then her arms shot out, closing around Asami’s waist. She pressed her into the shadows. “Did they see you?”
Asami shook her head, and struggled to catch her breath. “I think we lost them around the red tunnel.” She swatted at Korra’s arm. “Thanks for leaving me by the way, oh, and scaring the shit out of me.”
Korra chuckled and peeked around the corner again. “I was scouting ahead for a place to hide.”
“Sure, whatever makes you feel better.” Asami rolled her eyes. “What’s the plan to get out of this?”
“We’re gonna have to shoot our way out.” Korra adjusted the hold on her gun and caught sight of someone ducking behind a boulder. “Get ready, here they come.”
“Back to back.” Asami turned and pressed her back into Korra’s. “We have the wall protecting us from this side, and we know no one is coming from the other side. This way we can get them when they step in front of each of us.”
“Genius!” Korra crowed, a little too loudly.
“Over here!” A cry went up, and a man rolled out from behind a boulder and took aim at Korra.
She fired, shooting him in the chest. She wasn’t given the chance to celebrate as another form appeared in front of her. She pulled the trigger, knowing her aim was true, and moving to the next target.
“I took two down over here.” Asami threw over her shoulder, not taking her eyes off the area in front of her.
“Three here.” Korra smiled and pumped her fist into the air. “That’s all of ‘em! We got ‘em!” She surged to her feet in glee.
“Korra, no!” Asami made a grab for her arm, trying to pull her back down. There was one more out there. Her eyes shot wide as Korra’s vest lit up bright red, she’d been hit. She gritted her teeth and somersaulted from behind the wall.
“Aw man!” Korra glared at the pimpled face teenager standing in front of her.
He laughed and pointed at her. “Told you girls can’t play this game. Guys are better at this than,” the words died on his tongue as his vest lit up, indicating he’d been shot.
Asami stepped from the shadows beside him, a grin firmly in place. “You were saying Jeremy?”
His face turned three different shades of red, and he stomped his foot. “You cheated.”
Korra ignored him, threw her arms around Asami, and spun her in a circle. “That was amazing!”
Asami laughed and swatted at her arm. “Put me down!
Korra set Asami back on her feet as the main lights came on. They made their way to the door, and hung their vests and guns up with the others. “Are you getting hungry?” Korra asked as they threaded their way through the arcade.
Asami hadn’t realized how late it had gotten, she’d been having so much fun she’d lost track of time. “Yes, food would be amazing.”
“Great!” Korra grinned as she led the way to the parking garage. “I know the best place.” She reached back and grabbed Asami’s hand, urging her to follow.
Chapter 10: AoL Chp 10
Asami watched as the scenery blurred past her window, the sky streaked with color from the setting sun. She sat in the passenger seat of Korra’s car, two takeout boxes on her lap. Two drinks set in the cup holders between them, and her left hand resting on the center console, her fingers laced with Korra’s.
Korra hummed to the tune on the radio as she followed the winding road. She smiled in delight as she pulled onto the little turn off, easing her car down the bumpy road. It led to a small clearing on top of a rocky outcropping. She put the car in park, staring out the window at the city spread out below them. She squeezed Asami’s hand and smiled at her. “Come on.” She took the takeout boxes from Asami’s lap, grabbed her soda, and stepped from the car.
Asami quickly followed, but once she stepped from the car, she was lost in the view before her. She stared in awe as the sun slowly sunk below the horizon line, it’s dying rays enveloping the city in a golden glow. “This is beautiful.”
Korra nodded in agreement, her eyes locked on Asami. She slid her way up the hood of her car, resting her back against the windshield. She laced her fingers behind her head and took a deep breath. Looking up she watched a couple stars wink into view. “Food is getting cold.” She patted the spot beside her, beckoning Asami to sit.
Asami positioned herself on the opposite side of the hood, the takeout boxes nestled between them. She grabbed her box and turned to watch the sun set. “I’ve never done this before,” she waved a hand towards the horizon, “watch the sun set.”
“I think it’s something someone should do every now and again.” Korra took a bite of her burger and chewed thoughtfully. “I love coming here.”
Asami smiled at her smugly over her shoulder. “You come here often?”
Korra chuckled and took a drink of her soda. “Not as much as I’d like.” She set her drink aside and wiped her hand on her pant leg. “I came here a lot during college, helped clear my head.”
“You grew up here?” Asami turned, sitting cross legged, and watched her as they ate.
“Yeah. Born and raised. Parents too, but they both moved a few years back, own a little beach house on the coast.” She adjusted her glasses and ran a hand through her hair. “The stars are great up here.” Korra smiled and looked up.
Asami blinked, realizing the sun was now gone and the stars were the only light they had. She tilted her face skyward, grinning as they shone. She’d never seen them so bright, never seen them with the absence of city lights and pollution hanging in the air. She repositioned herself, leaning back against the windshield, her arms wrapped around her.
Korra studied her for several moments, her smile, the sparkle in her eyes, the way she glowed under the star light. She slid off the hood and grabbed a blanket from the trunk. She turned the key in the ignition, letting an oldies station drift through the speakers. She held the blanket out to Asami. “Here. You’re shivering.”
“Thank you.” Asami slid from the hood of the car and stepped towards Korra, letting her drape the blanket around her shoulders. She grabbed the edges of the blanket, and settled her arms around Korra’s shoulders, wrapping the blanket around them both. “There, now neither of us will get cold.”
“Smooth.” Korra grinned, her hands resting on Asami’s hips. She tugged her closer, letting their bodies brush together. She started to sway, urging Asami to join her as they danced to the music coming from the car.
She forgot the stars and the moon in the sky, lost completely in those emerald eyes. With all the beauty around her, lit up for her to see, she only had eyes for the beauty in her arms. Korra adjusted her glasses and stopped swaying. “Can I kiss you?” Her voice was laced in shyness, soft and quiet.
A smile tugged at the corners of Asami’s mouth as she leaned forward. “Yes, please.” She felt the warm press of Korra’s lips to her own, and she gripped the back of Korra’s neck, she couldn’t think of a more perfect moment.
It was as if the universe took Asami’s thought as a challenge, a dare to make the moment even more memorable than it already was. A light streaked across the sky, another following it. Asami and Korra broke their kiss to look up, faces turned towards the heavens. More lights flashed across the darkness, shooting stars filling the sky.
“Make a wish.” Korra smiled as she watched the meteors burn through the atmosphere, one after another, falling in a shower.
Asami closed her eyes tight, wishing on each one that flew overhead. She smiled as she felt the warm hand cup and stroke her cheek. She nuzzled into it, turning her head to press her lips to the center of Korra’s palm.
If Korra had been mesmerized before, she was utterly captivated now. She tilted Asami’s face down, placing a soft kiss to each eye lid, feeling Asami’s lashes flutter against her lips. She kissed both cheeks, and teasingly let her lips hover over Asami’s. She groaned as a hand slid down her side, and she placed a kiss at the corner of Asami’s mouth. Before she could pull back she felt teeth scrape her bottom lip, and the quick, soothing flick of a warm tongue.
“Asami.” She whispered her name like it was a life line. She tasted it on her lips, liking the way it felt on her tongue. She shivered at the fingers that teased at the hem of her shirt. Quickly, Korra surged forward on her toes. Her mouth eagerly melding with Asami’s as she pressed her against the car.
Asami slid a hand up Korra’s body, over her stomach, and pressed her hand against her chest. Her fingers curled into the fabric of Korra’s shirt, tugging her closer. She moaned at the heat of the kiss, at the way her knees shook, and her body tingled. She placed a kiss against Korra’s jaw, causing Korra to tilt her head to the side.
She nipped and licked her way to Korra’s ear, feeling her shake and gasp with each touch. She flicked her tongue against an earlobe, pulled it gently between her teeth and let it go. “I want you.” Her voice was huskier than normal, thick with arousal.
Korra groaned at the words, her fingers flexing against Asami’s hips. The urge to touch and explore was making her hands itch. They shook as she leaned her head against Asami’s shoulder, her nose pressing into her pale neck. She pressed a kiss there, feeling Asami’s hips buck forward against hers.
“Touch me Korra. Please, touch me.”
At the sound of those words, the sound of wanting and need in Asami’s voice, it broke Korra’s resolve. Took the last bit she clung to and shattered it. Her hands slid behind Asami’s thighs, and she lifted her, wrapping them around her waist. She reached for the car door, somehow swinging it open and easing Asami to the backseat without difficulty.
Asami scrambled back, sliding her way into the backseat as Korra followed, the door closing behind her. She wasn’t idle long, as soon as Korra was seated Asami was in her lap, the blanket abandoned. She didn’t need it for warmth anymore, not when Korra was stoking a fire that burned within her.
She tugged at Korra’s shirt, pulling it over her head and tossing it to the side. Her lips fell upon the swell of Korra’s breasts. Placing gentle kisses against the top of each one, before kissing her way up Korra’s chest and to her lips. She pulled back at the tug on her shirt, lifting her arms as Korra undressed her.
They giggled at the struggle to remove pants, Asami sliding from Korra’s lap to settle on the other side of the back seat. She lifted her hips and shimmied out, discarding her jeans and panties in the floorboard with her shoes. She tugged Korra towards her, laying down and delighting in the way Korra’s naked form fit with hers.
Korra held herself up with one arm, the other positioned between Asami’s legs. She slid two fingers, gently, into wet heat. She moaned as her fingers were enveloped, her head falling against Asami’s shoulder. She gasped, bucking her hips forward as she felt Asami’s fingers circle her clit. “Shit.” She hissed, feeling her walls stretch at the two fingers that slid into her.
The air in the car was hot and sticky, the windows coated with a film of condensation. Their hips rolled forward to meet each thrust. Their breath mingling with each moan and gasp. They shuttered and shivered, their skin damp with sweat as they moved against and within one another. Staring into each other’s eyes they rode the wave of pleasure that coursed through them. Afterwards, they laid together, Korra’s head tucked under Asami’s chin, their arms wrapped around one another.
Korra smiled sleepily, her lips grazing Asami’s chest. She propped herself up, tucking a strand of hair behind Asami’s ear. “Hey, you okay?”
Asami smiled up at her, pressed a quick kiss to Korra’s lips, and stroked her cheek. “Yeah, more than okay really.” She stretched lazily, and winced at the seat belt buckle that dug into her hip.
Korra caught the quick look of discomfort and started to move.
“No, not yet.” Asami grabbed her arms, and tugged her back down. “Couple more minutes.”
Korra nodded and settled back into place. She pressed a kiss to the underside of Asami’s jaw. “You know, we could take this cuddle session back to my apartment, if you wanted.”
“That sounds like a plan.” Asami smiled and wiggled her way into a sitting position.
They dressed quickly, not taking time to bother straighten their clothes. Asami didn’t even bother with her underwear, just balled them up and shoved them in her pocket. Korra found her glasses under the passenger seat, not entirely sure how they managed to get there, or how neither of them had stepped on them.
When they arrived back at Korra’s apartment there was no preamble. No shyness or uncertainty in what either wanted. Just a flurry of clothes being stripped away as soon as the door closed, accompanied by the eager sound of kisses and moans as they progressed to the bedroom.