The Bed and Breakfast was quiet except for the ticking of the grandfather clock in the foyer as Myka tiptoed up the stairs to her bedroom, her furtively stolen prize cradled protectively against her chest. No lights shone from Pete or Claudia’s rooms, and the crack under Artie’s door was equally dark. There was a soft glow of light visible beneath Jinks’ door at the very end of the hall and she could just make out the sound of muffled voices coming from inside the room that she recognized as belonging to Jinks and Claudia.
Her doorknob twisted easily in her hand, an almost silent crack was the only sound that marked the door opening, and she slipped quickly inside, seeking refuge from prying eyes that would, no doubt, judge her for her recent transgression. She carefully closed the door behind herself so as to not make a sound, and she felt her racing heartbeat slow as she locked it. She was safe.
She drew a slow, deep, calming breath she reached for the light switch and, as the lamps on the sides of her bed flashed on, the momentary sense of calm that had surrounded her once she had entered her room disappeared instantly. Because there, on her bed, sat the exquisitely gorgeous, charismatic, brilliant woman who had invented the ingenious gun she had just surreptitiously removed from the Warehouse.
“H- Helena,” she murmured, reflexively glancing around her room to make sure that they were truly alone. “What are you doing here?” She felt her breath hitch in her throat as Helena smiled and tipped her head in that beguilingly adorable way she did so often. “I mean… do you need help with something?”
“Not at all,” Helena purred, consciously keeping her voice low as well. Pete shared one wall with Myka and though he could sleep through the apocalypse, she wasn’t too eager to test that particular conclusion at the moment. “I was just looking…” Her voice trailed off and she smiled sheepishly. “I just wanted to say goodnight, and when you weren’t here, I opted to wait for you instead of retiring for the evening.”
“To say goodnight,” Myka supplied.
“Exactly,” Helena agreed, her features schooled and placid as if she didn’t realize exactly how ridiculous her excuse had sounded. Truthfully, upon finding Myka’s bedroom empty, she should have gone back to her own room, but she had an overpowering need to see the other woman before she went to sleep at night. Or, at any time of the day, really. Her need to be near Myka was nothing new, but she used to be able to control it better. However, ever since she and Myka had escaped the Pulley Block of Mary Celeste a week ago, she had this irrational, lingering fear that if she let Myka out of her sight for too long that she would never see her again. And that was, as far as she was concerned, entirely unacceptable. Myka was the only thing that made her continued existence in this century bearable.
It hadn’t escaped Myka’s attention that Helena had been going out of her way to say goodnight to her recently, and though she found that she also enjoyed that final intimate exchange of soft-spoken words before she went to bed, tonight she wasn’t exactly prepared for it. She had expected Helena to be asleep. Not here, sitting on her bed, while she was holding Warehouse contraband that she most definitely should not have in her possession. She licked her lips and smiled at Helena, who was regarding her with that warm, speculative look that made her heart flutter, and murmured, “Right. Well. Goodnight, Helena.”
“Goodnight, my Myka,” Helena whispered. Now that she knew Myka was safe she was certain that she would be able to relax enough to try and get some sleep herself. She smiled at the younger woman as she made to stand, but her movement faltered as her keen gaze landed on the familiar rosewood box cradled to Myka’s chest. “Is that my grappler?
Myka’s first instinct was to lie, to deny that this was, indeed, the box she had so carefully stowed Helena’s grappling gun and the ‘You can owe me’ Post-It note inside; but HG always had an uncanny way of knowing when she was lying and it was late, and she really was tired from too many nights of not enough sleep, so she instead opted for the truth. “Yes.”
Surprised that Myka didn’t even bother to attempt to pass the box off as something else, Helena’s brow furrowed and she tilted her head questioningly at her. “Why do you have it here? I thought Artie wanted it to be kept at the Warehouse.”
“He does,” Myka agreed, sighing as she set the velvet-lined box onto her desk. She traced her fingers over the intricate inlay in the lid and smiled at the familiar feeling of the smooth wood under her fingertips. She had always thought that his insistence on keeping all of HG’s inventions sequestered away was nothing more than a spiteful attempt to keep everything good about and created by HG away from the world, but until now she had never seen fit to go against his wishes and take possession of the one invention that Helena had gifted her. “I just… ever since the other day…”
“Where we caught in the rope from the Pulley Block of the Mary Celeste?” Helena asked, wondering if the crux of her own sudden need to constantly be near the younger woman was a common denominator they shared.
Surprised that Helena understood so well, Myka looked up at her and nodded. “Yeah. I…”
Helena tried to wait patiently for Myka to finish her thought, but the younger woman seemed entirely flummoxed as to how to put voice to the thoughts in her head and she eventually murmured, “We were quite lucky to escape that one.”
“Yes,” Myka breathed, nodding slowly as she walked across her room to sit beside Helena on her bed. “I don’t know why, but I just… I need to have your grappler with me. I can’t explain it, but it’s there. This driving, completely indefinable need to have it beside me. I keep having these terrible dreams and I just…”
Helena arched a brow questioningly as she turned so that she was facing Myka. “What dreams, darling?”
A slow-rolling shiver, warm and wet and comforting dripped down Myka’s spine at the soft-spoken endearment and she shook her head. “I don’t… they’re different. All of them. But in every one…” Her voice trailed off as remnants from last night’s dream, where she and Helena had been on a case and the older woman had somehow become trapped in an old house that exploded flashed through her mind.
“In every one what, Myka?”
“You die,” Myka whispered. She licked her lips as her eyes stung with tears and she shook her head as if to clear them, determined to remain strong in front of Helena. “I know it’s silly, to be so affected by a dream…”
“Absolutely not,” Helena argued gently. She too, had her demons that haunted her while she slept, after all.
But Myka continued on as if Helena hadn’t spoken. It was as if, now that she had finally begun to talk about the dreams that she just couldn’t stop. “But they’re just so real. You’re there and I can feel danger coming, but I can’t… you still…”
Helena swallowed thickly as her heart swept hopefully into her throat. She had been attracted to Myka from the moment she first laid eyes on the younger woman inside her house back in London, and as time passed and she had gotten to know her better, that attraction had grown into love. It had been her love for Myka that had kept her from driving the Minoan Trident into the ground for the third time, and it had been love that had made her throw the gun the younger woman had pressed into her hand aside. It had also been her love for Myka that healed her tortured consciousness when it had been separated from her and stored in the Regent’s orb. Yes, she knew that she loved Myka, but she had never once dared to let herself hope that those affections might be reciprocated.
“I try to save you every time,” Myka whispered, her voice low and rough with unshed tears as she lost herself in the memory of her dreams. “And every time I can’t. Either you do something to stop me, or the situation works against me, but the dreams always end the same way – I watch you disappear in a flash of light and I’m left alone, feeling like my entire world had been ripped away from me.” She drew a deep, shuddering breath as the tears she’d been holding back spilled down her cheeks and she stared beseechingly at Helena. “Why?”
Helena smiled sadly at Myka. “Why, what, darling?”
“Why… why…” Myka’s voice trailed off and she wiped at the tears that were now coursing down her cheeks. “Why does the idea of losing you make me feel like this?”
“We’re friends,” Helena answered quietly. Though she dearly wished for a deeper relationship with Myka, she was determined to not push the younger woman toward that end in any way.
“Yes,” Myka sighed, and Helena felt her heart break just a little. But then Myka shook her head. “No. That’s not it. Because I wouldn’t feel this broken if Pete died. Or Claudia. I would be upset, sure, but…” She licked her lips as she thought through the possible reasons why she was so bereft over the idea of losing Helena. Because, as she’d just said, she would be upset about losing Pete or Claudia or anyone else she loved, but… Her internal monologue died off as her subconscious latched onto one particular word in that thought. Loved... I love Helena more, she realized.
There was a subtle shift in Myka’s expression that made the fine hairs on the back of Helena’s neck stand up and she shifted somewhat uncomfortably beside her. “Myka?”
Myka licked her lips and nodded as she held up a finger. “Just, give me a moment?”
“Of course, darling,” Helena murmured. She folded her hands in her lap and waited, albeit anxiously, for Myka to continue.
The seconds seemed to drag on forever as Myka worked through her epiphany. She had always admired H.G. Wells’ mind, and that hadn’t changed at all once she had learned that the H in H.G. stood for Helena. Though they had started as enemies, she had always held a grudging respect for the older woman’s tactics and once they began working together, that respect only grew. She saw that Helena was a tortured soul, who freely admitted to being a ‘bad egg’, but she was also good. Even if she didn’t realize it. She had a good heart. A loving heart.
Myka couldn’t pinpoint the moment that her admiration for the author had shifted to something more, but she couldn’t deny that it had. And, as snapshots of their interactions flashed through her mind, each one more tender than she recognized at the time, she realized that she had loved her for quite a while.
That was how she knew that Helena wouldn’t shoot her in Yellowstone.
That was why the very idea of losing Helena shattered her.
She loved her. She loved Helena. She looked up at the Englishwoman and felt a warm feeling of peace wash over her. How had she never realized this before?
Helena’s heart swooped up into her throat as Myka keen green eyes seemed to bore into her very soul. There was a spark in the younger woman’s gaze that hadn’t ever been there before. A warmth that held something more than platonic affection. The truth was there, in the softening of her expression and the almost bashful smile that pulled at the corners of her lips, and she licked her lips nervously as Myka continued to just silently stare at her. When she couldn’t take it any longer, she cleared her throat and whispered, “Myka?”
Many of my lovers were men, Helena’s playful admission echoed through Myka’s mind and her heart skipped a beat as she remembered the smirking, heated look the older woman had given her right after she said it. Feeling recklessly emboldened by her recent epiphany and the knowledge that Helena would be open to the idea of a relationship with a woman, Myka bit her lip as she reached out to cradle Helena’s face in her hand. Her heart started racing in her chest as her fingers ghosted over the soft skin of the Englishwoman’s jaw line and she drew a deep, shuddering breath as she lovingly smoothed her thumb over the older woman’s cheek.
It felt right, so incredibly, perfectly right to be touching Helena like this that Myka felt her stomach clench as fresh tears spilled down her face.
How had she never seen this before?
How had she never looked at her like this before?
For Helena, the feeling of Myka’s hand on her face was both a balm to her soul and a knife to the heart because she wanted it – oh, how she wanted it – but she still didn’t know what this intimate gesture meant to the younger woman. She swallowed thickly, and whispered, in a soft voice that cracked with barely restrained emotion, “Darling?”
“I’m an idiot,” Myka mumbled under her breath, answering the relentless questions that ricocheted through her mind.
“I’m sorry?” Helena asked, entirely confused. There were any number of things she expected Myka to say, but that certainly wasn’t one of them.
Myka smiled and brushed her thumb soothingly over Helena’s cheek. “I’m an idiot,” she repeated.
“I…” Helena’s brow furrowed. “I don’t understand,” she admitted, looking entirely displeased with the fact.
“I love you more.” Myka smiled bashfully at the older woman and shrugged. “That’s why I can’t stand the idea of losing you. That’s why I had this overwhelming need to have the grappler. It was the first gift you gave me. It was so perfect and cheeky and you, that I couldn’t bear being separated from it any longer.” She took a deep breath and continued, in a much softer, less confident voice, “I don’t think I can bear being separated from you any longer either.”
Afraid that she was reading something into Myka’s admission that wasn’t there, Helena whispered, “I’m afraid I still don’t follow you, darling.”
“I love you more.” Myka leaned forward, her eyes searching Helena’s face for any sign that the older woman was uncomfortable with her advances. But she only saw hope staring back at her. “I love you. I’m in love with you,” she murmured as she brushed a soft, hesitant kiss across Helena’s lips. She lingered in the touch for a moment before she pulled back to look the Englishwoman in the eye and her breath hitched in her throat at the tears she saw were coursing down Helena’s cheeks. “I’m sorry,” she apologized, her face flushing with embarrassment that she had misinterpreted the situation as she jerked away from the older woman.
Apologies were the last thing Helena wanted and she smiled as she followed Myka’s retreat, bracing her right hand on the mattress beside the younger woman’s hip as she swept in and captured her lips in a sweet kiss. “Please don’t apologize,” she murmured, smiling against Myka’s lips as she kissed her again. “I love you too.”
Myka’s heart skipped a beat as she pulled back to look at Helena, needing to see the truth in her eyes. “Really?”
“Really,” Helena replied with a soft smile. “I have, for quite some time, actually.”
Helena laughed and nodded as she leaned forward and kissed Myka again. “Really.” Her eyes tracked over to the rosewood box on Myka’s desk and she shook her head disbelievingly. “You actually stole my grappler from the Warehouse?”
“Technically it wasn’t stealing,” Myka argued weakly. “I mean… you did give it to me, after all.”
“True. But I wish you luck in dealing with Artie when he learns of your bit of thievery.”
Myka thought of the almost pitying looks she’d caught him giving her over the last week and she shook her head. There was something in his demeanor that told her that he understood the depth of her feelings for Helena and that he approved. How she reached that conclusion she couldn’t say, but she knew that she was right. Maybe Pete’s uncanny intuition was rubbing off on her. “I don’t think he’ll care too much.”
Helena nodded slowly. She, too, had noticed the odd looks he’d been giving them recently. And he had certainly been treating her with much more respect than he generally tended to. “I do believe you might be right, darling.”
“Of course I am,” Myka drawled, smirking as she looped her arms around Helena’s neck. “But do you really want to talk about him right now?”
“Not at all,” Helena answered immediately, a wolfish smile tweaking her lips as she leaned forward, using her body to guide Myka back down onto the bed. She licked her lips, bracing herself on her right forearm as she reached up with her left hand to trace the line of Myka’s jaw with her fingertips. “I don’t really want to talk at all,” she admitted as she dragged the pad of her index finger across the younger woman’s plump lower lip.
Myka hummed and wrapped her arms around Helena’s neck, pulling the Englishwoman down to her. “What do you want to do, then?”
Helena’s eyes darkened as she lowered her mouth to Myka’s, their lips sliding effortlessly together before they parted and the kiss grew deeper. Hotter. Hungrier. Their tongues stroked sensuously together, igniting a familiar heat low in each of their hips as their bodies crushed together, straining to find that level of closeness that evaded them.
Hands began to roam, fingers grasping, kneading, pulling, seeking, searching for more. More contact. More friction. More everything. Nothing was enough. They moved back fully onto the bed in stages, a shimmy here, a shift there, and twin moans marked the moment they were able to lie fully together, hip to hip, breast to breast, their legs scissored together as they moved as one, rocking together as they gave in to their desire.
A low, plaintive whimper fell from Myka’s lips as she felt Helena’s mouth began ghosting over her jaw, and she groaned as she felt the Englishwoman’s impossibly soft lips wrapping around her pulse point to suck hungrily against it.
The feeling of Myka’s hips rolling rhythmically beneath her sent a jolt of pure desire coursing through Helena, and she moaned as she felt the younger woman’s long fingers thread into her hair, blunt nails scratching lightly against her scalp in the most erotic manner. She sighed as she sank into her, giving up her teasing as she instead just buried her face in the crook of the younger woman’s neck and breathed in her intoxicating scent. “My darling Myka,” she whispered against the sweet curve where Myka’s neck and shoulder met. Unable to resist, she pressed a soft kiss to the supple flesh and teased it briefly with the tip of her tongue. “If we don’t stop now, I’m afraid I might not be able to.”
Myka’s eyes rolled back in her head at the unfettered need in Helena’s voice and she groaned as she turned to brush a soft kiss across the older woman’s brow. “I don’t want to stop,” she whispered.
“Myka,” Helena growled, her voice deep and rich and positively dripping with desire as she tongued the dip at the base of Myka’s throat.
“Don’t stop,” Myka murmured, arching her throat forward toward Helena’s lips. “Please don’t stop. I need you.”
“You’re sure?” Helena asked, her lips brushing across Myka’s skin as she spoke. She shivered as she felt Myka’s left hand track down her spine, bumping over the knobs of each vertebra until it landed on her hip.
Myka swallowed thickly and nodded as she ran her fingers back and forth across the small of Helena’s back once, twice, three times before she dared to travel lower and wrap her hand around a firm cheek. She gave it a squeeze and smiled at the way it made Helena tremble. “I’m sure.”