“The director of S.H.I.E.L.D. walks into a bar…”
“Ha-ha, Abigail. Nice to see you too. I’ll have what she’s having,” Maria said to the bartender. She then turned back to Abigail. “Been here long?”
Abigail glanced at her watch, also green. “Is five minutes long?”
“Well, it’s not like I’m late.”
“Ha! Not like last week.”
Last week, Maria had been held back from the bar by an out-of-nowhere attack of mutated moles. It had left Maria very irritated, while Abigail laughed at her over the phone.
“Oh, shut up. You’re lucky I like you.”
“You love me.”
“Yeah, I do.”
“And I you.”
They clinked their drinks and chugged. It was easy for Maria to admit those sorts of things here, with this sort of company. Abigail could appreciate the difficulties and annoyances of a job like hers, because her job was similar enough. They didn’t owe each other any favors or obligations, and neither of them was looking for any more secrets.
Plus, you know, chemistry.
“How’s your week been?” Maria asked.
“Pretty quiet, for the most part,” Abigail replied. “Not so eerily quiet as to be suspicious, but, y’know, I had lunch twice. And you? How’s life on Earth?”
“The usual. The Avengers won’t file their damn paperwork, and the X-Men are exhausting. I swear I’m not anti-mutant, but those X-Men give me a damn headache.”
Abigail patted her on the back sympathetically. “So glad I don’t associate with superhero teams.”
Maria snorted into her drink. “Thanks for the sympathy.”
“You don’t need my sympathy. You don’t need anyone’s sympathy.”
“Are you about to tell me I need a good lay?”
Abigail smirked. “Well, that was already on the schedule, but if you’re not feeling like it-”
“Oh, no, please don’t tease me like that.”
“Oh, I’ll tease you all kinds of ways…three drinks from now. Remember, you’re paying tonight.”
* * *
“You don’t have to call me that, you know.”
“Oh.” Maria took another sip of her fourth glass of whiskey. “Abby? No, Abby feels weird.”
“My aunt used to call me that.”
“Oh? What happened?”
“Hm? Oh, nothing. I just haven’t seen her in a couple years. Duty calls, and all that.”
“Oh. Okay. Still feels wrong to say it. How about…‘Abs’?”
“Well, you know how people shorten ‘Barbara’ to ‘Babs’, so, ‘Abigail’…‘Abs.’”
“Wow, you’re drunker than I thought you were.”
“Oh, shut up, Abigail. I’d really like it if you shut up right now.”
Abigail’s lips quirked upward. “Make me.”
“Bartender, everything she and I have consumed tonight goes on my tab. Good night.”
They left the bar without another word. Abigail silently dragged Maria across the street, where her spare apartment lay.
Maria waited as impatiently as she could manage. As soon as the elevator doors closed, she dragged her by the shoulders and kissed her viciously.
She wasn’t even sure it could rightly be called a kiss; the way their lips smashed together was a bit uncomfortable. Maria slid her arms down Abigail’s shoulders and sucked on her upper lip. She felt arms wrap around her waist even as lips pulled away.
“Darling, shouldn’t we wait until we’re in the apartment at least?”
Maria groaned. “You’re such a fucking tease.”
“Ha! Damn right I am. Didn’t I promise I’d tease you six ways to Sunday?”
“Oh, please, not tonight.”
“Well, you did pay for drinks…”
The elevator dinged and the doors opened onto the eighteenth floor. Finally, Maria thought. She followed Abigail to her room (813) and waited for her to open the door before pouncing on her once more, closing the door with her foot.
They kissed their way to the bedroom, collapsing on the bed upon arrival. Abigail was wearing too much clothing, and Maria set about fixing that. Soon enough, both of them were shirtless, relearning the maps of each other’s bodies with their hands.
Maria couldn’t think of a sound more beautiful than that of Abigail’s groans as she got closer to her climax. It was bringing Maria closer to the edge, too.
“Mar-Mari-ah!” She panted. “Maria, thank you?”
Maria smiled and kissed Abigail’s sweaty forehead. “No problem, beautiful. Help me out?”
Abigail grinned. “Sure thing, lover.”
Abigail was quick and skilled, and it wasn’t long before Maria fell apart completely.
* * *
They fell asleep quickly that night, for they had exhausted each other entirely. Neither of them were especially worried about being attacked or interrupted, so they slept soundly. Besides, what better place was there to die than beside the woman you love? They had both decided long ago that the risk was worth it.
When Maria awoke and showered, she briefly recalled how it began. An unpleasant meeting, then another, less unpleasant meeting, followed by phone calls and emails. Somehow they agreed on a meeting place and it just so happened that Abigail had an apartment nearby and they just happened to fall into bed together. Some of the details escaped Maria now.
Neither of them had that cliche someone/thing-to-come-home-to, not really, but this was enough. Oftentimes, Abigail was like a light at the end of the tunnel of work and Avengers and X-Men and and apocalypses and government bureaucracy, and Maria suspected she served a similar role for Abigail. It wasn’t that she couldn’t go on without Abigail, exactly. It was just that she preferred to go on with her.
“Oh, good, you’re still here. How do you feel about bagels for breakfast? There’s a place nearby that does delivery.” Maria could tell Abigail hadn’t moved from the bed by how her voice had the same volume and pitch.
“How about you come in here and help me wash the unreachables?”
Maria could hear Abigail’s voice grow louder as she approached. “Well, I wouldn’t come in if you wouldn’t ask, but since you insist…”
Maria felt arms wrap around her chest and lips press against her neck.
“Blech! Why didn’t you warn me you were using soap?”
“What? Did you think I was just standing in the shower waiting for you to wake up?”
“Oh, please, call me Abby. You sound like my mother otherwise.”
“Well, Abby, could you please wash my mid-to-lower back with soap?”
She finally obliged. “Would you like to get bagels after this? When do you have to get back?”
“Sure, and whenever I want. I get a lot of vacation time, but I rarely use it. When do you have to get back?”
“I was planning to go back around 3, but I might leave a little later just for you.” When Abby said “a little later,” what she really meant was “a few hours later”, but to her, it was inconsequential. “If anything too urgent comes up, they’ll call me.”
“Well, then.” Maria turned around and kissed Abby on the head. “Get cleaned up, and then we’ll have bagels.”
Maria chuckled at Abby’s sound of exasperation as she left the shower. “Take a shower, ya filthy animal.”
“Hey! I’ll have you know my father’s species is considered one of the cleanest in its galaxy.”
“And on your mother’s side?”
“...I see your point.”
Maria laughed as she got dressed.
A few minutes later, Abigail and Maria were walking into the elevator, heading down for breakfast.
* * *
“What do you think of...marriage?”
“Not my style. Is it yours?” Abby sipped her coffee and watched Maria’s face closely.
Maria stared off into the distance. “I’m not sure. I never thought I’d have time to settle down, especially not with this lifestyle. But now...times are changing, and…”
Maria turned around and stared at the woman across the table, the love of her life. “I love you.”
“Is this...are you…?”
“Fuck, no. I’m not ready for that kind of commitment. Plus, that was the shittest proposal ever.”
Maria tried to suppress the feelings that she had been slapped in the face and that she should have seen this coming. “Yeah, you’re right.”
Abigail smirked. “Not even a ring?”
“Oh, come on, Maria. You know half a dozen rich guys and you can’t even afford a ring?”
Maria chuckled. “Yeah, you’re right. I’ll make sure to get a ring next time I propose to someone.”