"I hate you, you know." The sheets smelled of too much bleach and their rough cotton rubbed uncomfortably against her skin. She drew her knees to her chest as she leaned against the headboard. This had been such a mistake.
The dark-haired woman laughed, a forced sound as scratchy as the sheets. Beneath the bedding, her hand slid lightly across Faith's stomach. "It was sex," she said offhandedly. "Could be again." She dug her nails into the skin and yanked her hand back, tearing through layers of tissue. The motion could have been from anger or from desire. Ritza knew little else.
Faith threw her legs over the edge of the bed and tossed the covers aside. "No, it can't be. And I'm going to pretend that it wasn't." Her feet hit the carpeting and through it she could feel the cold cement floor.
The startling white of the shirt tossed at the foot of the bed cut through the darkness. Neither knowing nor caring whose blouse it was, she slid her arms into the sleeves. As she buttoned it, she stared out the fourteenth floor window at the skyscrapers that stretched forever upwards.
"So, you're just going to go home to your husband and your kids and pretend tonight never happened. And you're going to be able to look your partner in the eye tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that." She rolled onto her back and stretched, catlike, her fingers curling inward like long, sharp claws. "I know you, Yokas. You can't keep a secret." She paused, her eyes following the jeans sliding over Faith's skin. "Murderer."
The pants were halfway up her thighs when she jerked her head up. A nervous laugh escaped, shaking her whole frame. "Excuse me?"
One smooth motion and Ritza was standing before her, close enough that Faith could feel the heat from her body. "You think I'm just going to fall into bed with someone, not knowing anything? I know everything, Yokas, and that is why you will never be a match for me. I know Cesar Domingus. I know the third Yokas child. I know you get an unnatural attachment to every human being you sleep with. Obviously I know how to get you in bed. And you know why?"
Everything in her body turned cold and everything in her mind told her to get out now. Still, she stayed, hating the meekness in her voice as she said, "Because you're a great cop?"
Ritza leaned in, close enough that her lips, rough and chapped, brushed lightly against the other woman's when she said, "Because your partner told me."
Faith stepped back, trapping herself between the bed and the person before her. "No," she said, "he didn't. You're lying." This time, not even she believed the words. Of course he had. She had seen the look in his eyes recently; he was hurt enough that he would have no qualms about using Cruz to get his revenge. Years had passed, but he still refused to let one night die.
"Nothing unusual happened until you went home." She smiled as she watched Faith sink onto the bed. She had been waiting months for this moment in which she would secure her safety; she had spent weeks imagining the expression that would cross Yokas' face as she revealed Boscorelli's betrayal.
"You were just rookies," she continued. "He took you home and you invited him in. Your husband wasn't there, but your kids were tucked in their beds, fast asleep. When you left their room, your foot hit a beer can and sent it clattering down the hall. Five minutes passed between the sound and Boscorelli checking to see if you were all right. He didn't get it. It was just an empty can to him, until you told him you couldn't live that way anymore. You said you were leaving your husband, that that was why you'd gone to the academy."
Faith's eyes closed and she inhaled deeply, her whole body becoming rigid. The sound of the metal can rolling across the hardwood floor echoed sharply in her mind. She had tried to forget it, not just the sound, but the whole night. She could recall it perfectly, even more than ten years later.
"You told him you weren't married; the ring and the papers and the vows didn't matter anymore. And what did you do next, hmm? Right there, against your kids' bedroom door, you screwed him." She stopped, leading Faith to believe she had finished. The moment Faith's eyes opened, Ritza's locked on to them.
"It was you," she said, emphasizing each word. "You screwed him and never mentioned it again. He thought you wouldn't want to be around him anymore, but you don't work like that, do you, Yokas? No, you don't. You couldn't walk away from what -- who -- you had done. You still can't, and that's your weakness. You can't separate the physical from the emotional. You just said you hate me, but you don't anymore. You think sex and love are the same, and now I have you. You'll never be able to do a God damn thing to me now."
Silence hung in the air, and Faith could hear her own heart beating. Staring into the dark, she said, "You know I hate you."
The bed sank slightly beneath Ritza's weight, and she gave the same scratchy laugh from earlier. "But you don't."