Lauren could hear the sound of her television droning down the hallway. She searched her pocket for keys, slowing as she neared her apartment door. On the other side she could clearly hear dramatic string sections screeching from the large television that Tamsin had bought her a week earlier. She'd insisted that a 56" screen and subwoofers would make Lauren's documentaries more palatable for both of them, ignoring the fact that it was usually her who sat marveling as the majestic antelope tried desperately to escape the hungry lioness. Lauren would admit that there was something special about watching a harbinger of death root quietly for survival.
Truth be known, Tamsin never watched anything she didn't want to watch anyway. If Lauren did somehow manage to pry control of the remote away from her she'd soon find warm lips on her neck. It never stopped there either. Before she could offer more than a grumble of complaint there would be a hand slipping under her shirt and a warm salacious breath in her ear. It would always end the same way, the television playing in the background as Lauren lay arched up on the couch, jeans hanging around her ankles and an enthusiastic Valkyrie between her legs.
When Tamsin wasn't marking Lauren, she had taken to marking her apartment as her own. It wasn't just the claiming of the television, it was everything else too. The fridge seemed permanently stocked with beer at the expense of milk and Lauren's pristinely ordered wardrobe had suddenly become stuffed with unwashed clothing. Since letting her back into her bed Tamsin had taken to spending less and less time with Bo at the clubhouse and more and more time stretched out on Lauren's couch, eating Lauren's food and just generally getting under Lauren's feet.
How she even got into her apartment Lauren wasn't sure, she'd not given her a key. When asked about it Tamsin typically made some tongue in cheek remark about how breaking into the apartment was a breeze after how long it had taken her to break back into Lauren's underwear.
As she turned the key and pushed open the door Lauren felt some light resistance on the other side. Sticking her head around she saw Tamsin's blue leather jacket lying on the floor, lodged under the sill. It had clearly landed there after one of the Tamsin's failed attempts at throwing it from a distance at the coat rack near the door. That's what Tamsin does; she throws jackets at coat racks and forgets to pick them up when they miss. Sometimes Lauren felt like accusing her of acting all of her eight reborn years, it irked her that she didn't seem to carry any of the anxiety that burdened her own human adulthood. There was a lot about having Tamsin back in her life that she was getting used to but the woman's penchant for untidiness was a particular personal struggle.
Lauren leant down muttering complaints all the way as she picked up the jacket from the floor.
"Your stuff is everywhere." There was a deliberate annunciation on the word stuff that was hard to miss.
Tamsin lifted herself up from her lying position on the couch, leaning up on her elbows and glancing over at Lauren as she dropped her bag on the kitchen table.
"You don't do hellos anymore?" She swung her legs round and off the couch.
Lauren said nothing and instead began immediately clearing the dirty dishes that were strewn across the kitchen bench top. A mug of cold, half drunk coffee sat next to a plate with a partly eaten sandwich.
Tamsin hit pause on the television, allowing a freeze to set in the room as the noise of shrieking teenagers was cut in the background. It was horror night on some obscure Japanese television channel that she'd managed to rig the cable for. All that could wait for now.
"You don't need to do that, that's mine, I can clean it up."
Lauren shot her a look, an eyebrow lifted and a barely there tilt of the head. Tamsin wasn't sure whether those things combined amounted to anger or amusement. There were some gentle tells that Lauren could give off that were awfully confusing to her still.
Thinking better than to leave it to chance Tamsin sauntered up behind Lauren who was rinsing the dishes in the sink. She brought her mouth close to her ear, a smirk rising to her lips as she felt Lauren push back into her stomach. That urged her on. She dropped one hand down to Lauren's thigh, pulling her closer by the hip with the other as her thumb pushed into denim. Lauren's head rolled, allowing Tamsin's lips the access required to ghost up her pulsating jugular. The fractional contact doing enough to catch Tamsin's breath in her throat. It sat there almost painfully until she was able to force it's release at the shell of Lauren's ear.
"Just for the record," she whispered, as Lauren hummed in her arms placated. "I don't have stuff, I have things."
It need not have been poetry. In fact, had Tamsin spoken any other words she could have had the human right there and then. No matter how weary Lauren was, Tamsin always knew how to elicit a response from her. For the most part it was through the physical, her body responding to the touch of skin or the press of lips. But very occasionally Tamsin was working out that her quick wit and snark could elicit an emotive response all of it's own.
Lauren turned on the spot, bringing the two women chest to chest, her nose turned upward to meet the blue green eyes staring down at her.
"Oh?" She growled, folding her arms defiantly. "And the difference between stuff and things is, prey tell?"
Tamsin admonished herself internally but gave Lauren a knowing smirk, not wanting to show her the seven ways in which she was currently kicking her own arse.
"Well, what do you consider stuff?" She leant down with that ask and made a lame attempt to capture Lauren's lips, but she was having none of it.
Pushing back Lauren walked behind her and picked up a randomly placed pearl handled penknife that was next to her coffee machine.
"This Tamsin." Lauren waved the blade about. "A knife? What is this knife doing here? Afraid the fresh acidic aromas of my Columbian mix blend is going to need some fighting off?"
Tamsin rolled her eyes. "Give me that." She said, holding out her hand and Lauren dutifully obliged. "This is not stuff. This is a thing, an important thing"
Lauren stared at her unconvinced. "Oh? Really?"
Tamsin ran her finger up the steel edge, stopping her finger at the sharpened point and pushing the tip of her index into it gently.
"George Washington's mother gave him this knife, it's a goddamn national treasure, south of the border at least."
Lauren let out a sarcastic laugh. "Oh please, I've seen these, it's a replica of Washington's knife, right? And a bad one at that. Every infomercial around the 4th of July is selling these Camillus knives."
"Not this one Doc. Washington was a General, he got a hero's welcome in Valhalla. I happened to have won this in a card game against the Valkryie who took him there. She always had a reputation for sticky fingers."
Lauren looked on, mortified.
Tamsin put her hands up. "Hey, I didn't steal it. I won it."
While Lauren stood with wide eyes, gaping and unsure of what to say, Tamsin made her way back over to the coffee machine and pushed the blade into the bean draw and twisted. The draw bounced open with a pop and Tamsin grinned, satisfied with the demonstration
"These Columbian fair trade beans keeping getting jammed in this cheap imitation of a coffee machine. If I didn't fix this thing every day you'd go without your morning java. I've seen that Lewis, it's not pretty"
Lauren huffed. "Is that so?"
"Yeah, it is."
There were some points Lauren knew better than to argue. She didn't do well without coffee, that was true, but rather than concede she just continued to stare Tamsin down in what was an increasingly tense standoff.
"Alright then." Lauren walked over to the coffee table that sat in front of the couch.
"This." She said, lifting a gold plated hipflask from where Tamsin had been seated. "What about this? It's been sitting here for the past three nights."
Tamsin pushed her hands into the back pockets of her jeans, strutting towards the couch. "That thing used to belong to Edith Piaf."
"Oh please." Lauren moaned.
"I'm serious!" Tamsin took the flask in her hand, examining closely. "What incentive do I have to lie? Look, I'm not trying to name drop here, you asked for evidence of the importance of thesethings and I'm just giving it to you."
Lauren shook her head, still steadfastly refusing to yield in the battle of stuff versus things. Instead she moved to the side of the couch and leant down.
"And what about these?" She picked up one of Tamsin's boots.
"Belonged to Katharine Hepburn."
This time Lauren's shoulders dropped momentarily, that was before she spotted something next to television.
"And this?" She held a black leather wallet in her hand and opened it, flicking through a couple of the cards. "This isn't even yours!"
"True." Tamsin walked over and took the wallet from her hand. "I stole it from Dyson this afternoon after he made me pay for lunch. It does have a fifty in it though, so it's still valuable."
"I'm not going to win this am I?" Lauren sounded deflated, but her shoulders straightened as Tamsin walked up to her and pulled playfully on her shirt.
"What can I say? I have a lot of things." The Valkyrie's voice was raspy once more as she pulled Lauren flush against her body.
There was a pause between them as they watched each other.
"I'm here too much aren't I?" There was a vulnerability to Tamsin's question that cut into Lauren's chest, so she kissed her, softly and in comfort before smiling and rolling her eyes.
"You are here a lot."
"I know. But the crack shack never has food or booze and the chances of getting laid here are much much better."
Lauren was smiling in her arms but Tamsin was fidgeting, uncomfortable under her gaze. When Lauren continued just to watch her she pulled her arms away and went to move.
"I can go if you like?"
Lauren caught her by the hand and pulled her back in.
"I don't want you to go. I like you here, it's just your things are always lying all over the house and I like my things and my home to have order."
"Ok." Tamsin conceded. "I think I can manage to be a little more orderly." She dropped her head into Lauren neck, nuzzling into the crook of her shoulder and biting softly at the skin there. "I won't come over as often, not unless you ask me to."
Lauren grinned into her hair and brought a hand up to scratch her scalp.
"What about if I ask you to be here all the time? Maybe, I can clean out some space so your things can have a place here, with us."
For the longest moment Tamsin said nothing, her body stiffened where she stood. When she finally did move it was tentative and just enough to lift her teeth up from Lauren's shoulder.
"Are you asking me to move in?"
Lauren's cheek pressed gently into Tamsin's hair. The light fragrance she carried now was new to this life, sweeter than before.
"I guess yes, I am. That is to say, only if you want to."
They held to each other like that in the weighty quiet of the apartment as what felt like long minutes passed by.
"We're hopeless at this." Tamsin pulled back, with brown eyes fast upon her eager for an answer. "I've been wanting this, to move in I mean. But rather than talk to you about it, I've been hanging about here hoping you wouldn't say anything about the fact I already have."
Lauren laughed. "You've already moved in?"
"Well, yeah. I really only go back to Bo's for clean clothes and just long enough so you don't notice I'm here virtually every waking moment that you are."
Lauren leant in and kissed her, hard enough to elicit that deep growl from Tamsin's chest that she seemed to save for those moments of intense want. When they pulled away both were a little breathless.
"Why didn't you just tell me you wanted to move in?"
Tamsin was still panting a little, her arms wrapped tight around Lauren's back. "I didn't want you to say no."
Lauren's eyes were shut as once again she had wet kisses running up her neck. "I think we're both working out I find it very difficult to say no to you."
She could feel Tamsin grinning into her skin. "Is that so?"
The sound Lauren made as she felt a thumb run along the hem or her jeans was something like 'uh, huh', but wasn't. It was closer to a moan, a desperate raspy moan.
Tamsin was enjoying the lost vocabulary. "So, if I was to make a suggestion right now, you'd be amenable?"
Lauren's eyes peeked open. "If you say Japanese horror I might put you out on the street."
"As tempting as that is Doc, and I won't deny that it is, I was going to suggest bed. Our bed." Tamsin gave her a slightly embarrassed smile.
Biting her lip before wiggling out of the arms around her Lauren picked up the remote control and switched off the television. She took Tamsin by the hand and led her to their bedroom for the first time.
"Good start Tamsin. Very good start."
And it was.