The ride to Bo’s from the Dal was a quiet one. Kenzi was peacefully asleep in the back of the car, and Bo spent the majority of the drive staring forward broodingly, her hand clenching and unclenching around the steering wheel while Lauren divided her time between looking out of the passenger side window and gazing longingly at Bo.
Tension was written in every line of Bo’s body; anxiety and fear wafting from her like a scent on the wind. She looked tough in her black leather, with her dagger belted to her hip, but her eyes shimmered in the dim glow of the streetlights.
She was trying to be strong – as she always did – but Lauren could see that she was scared. She could see that Bo was barely holding herself together, barely keeping her tears at bay, and she wanted to reach out and comfort Bo, but she hesitated, uncertain if an offering of support from her would be accepted after what had transpired between them earlier that day.
However, about ten minutes from the house, when Bo took an audibly shaky breath and her hands clenched tightly enough around the steering wheel that her knuckles turned white, Lauren couldn’t remain still any longer and she reached out and covered Bo’s hand with her own.
Bo remained still for a moment after Lauren touched her, her dark eyes staying focused on the stretch of road beyond the windshield as her hand continued to squeeze the wheel like it was all that stood between her and a tide waiting to sweep her away into an angry sea. Tears welled in Lauren’s eyes, but she fought against them and kept her hand covering Bo’s until Bo breathed out raggedly, and her rigid posture relaxed. Her chest rose and fell slowly as she took a deep, silent breath, and then Bo angled her head to the side and briefly met Lauren’s eyes before she unfurled her fingers from around the wheel and took Lauren’s hand into her own, squeezing it with comforting, reaffirming strength.
When they arrived at the house, Bo lifted Kenzi from the back seat, and, cradling her with a tenderness that would have made Lauren fall in love with Bo if she hadn’t already been, Bo carried Kenzi into the house and up the stairs to her room while Lauren followed behind.
Kenzi stirred as Bo deposited her on her bed, and leaning against the doorframe to Kenzi’s room, Lauren watched as Bo smiled at Kenzi and spoke to her in low, soothing tones while she brushed some unruly strands of dark, matted hair off of Kenzi’s dirt streaked face.
“I could …” Lauren began only to pause awkwardly when her voice suddenly filled the quiet room. “I ah, could run some water … for a bath,” she continued a second later, her tone consciously softer.
Lauren couldn’t see Kenzi’s face from where she was standing, but Kenzi must have murmured something to indicate that she liked the idea because Bo laughed, and when she turned her head to face Lauren, a smile was playing on her lips.
“That would be great,” Bo said softly, and to Lauren’s relief and delight the tender look that had been on Bo’s face remained there as Bo spoke to her. “Thank you,” Bo added, purposefully holding Lauren’s eyes to emphasize that she meant it.
Lauren smiled at Bo in response, and then, feeling lighter than she had since she’d tested Inari’s blood at Dyson’s loft, she backed out of the room and made her way down the hall to fill up the tub with warm water and some of the Russian bath oil that Kenzi always kept the bathroom stocked with.
When the water was ready, Lauren returned to Kenzi’s room and informed Bo that everything was set, and Bo scooped up Kenzi into her arms again. Awake now, Kenzi weakly protested that she could move under her own power, but Bo was hearing none of it. They stared challengingly at each other for a while, but finally Kenzi sunk into Bo’s arms and laid her head on Bo’s shoulder before murmuring, “Carry on faithful steed,” which earned an eye-roll from Bo, but didn’t stop her from carrying out Kenzi’s order.
On another day, Lauren would have gone to Bo’s bedroom to relax while Bo got Kenzi cleaned up in the bathroom, but though her heart was no longer pounding with anxiety, she was still uncertain how things stood between her and Bo at the moment and she didn’t want to presume that Bo wanted her to stay, so she made her way to ground floor and entrenched herself on the couch.
Lauren startled at the sound of Bo’s voice.
She didn’t know exactly how long she had been down there, sitting on the couch, but it was long enough for her to have drifted into a sort of trance-like state, not asleep but not quite awake either, and she hadn’t heard Bo descending the creaky stairs.
“You’re still here,” Bo continued as she moved into the living room.
“Yeah, I …” Lauren began, turning to watch Bo’s approach as her sluggish brain tried to decipher the sentiment behind Bo’s words. “I could go,” Lauren continued blinking more rapidly than usual as Bo neared her. “Should I go?” she asked uncertainly, her heart beginning to pound anew.
“No,” Bo said softly as she came to a stop in front of Lauren. “Not unless you want to.”
“I don’t want to,” Lauren breathed out, tilting her head up so that her shimmering eyes met Bo’s. “I could never want that,” she continued, blinking and freeing a few of the tears that had been welling in her eyes. “Bo,” she gasped, helplessly, pleadingly, overwhelmed with desperate regret. “Honey, I’m so sorry. I’m so…”
“Ssh,” Bo exhaled as she sat down on the couch next to Lauren. “Ssh, it’s okay,” she whispered as she gathered Lauren in arms and hugged her, tightening her arms around her girlfriend even more a moment later when Lauren released a choked sob and clutched at her urgently.
“Hey,” Bo breathed out sometime later, pulling back so that she could see Lauren’s face when she felt the blonde’s breathing return to normal. “Look at me,” she requested gently when Lauren dipped her head down, hiding her face. “Lauren,” she said, her voice still gentle, but also firm. “Look at me.”
Lauren lifted her head.
“Today,” Bo began slowly, carefully, measuring her words, “was not a good day. I needed you, today. I needed you and...”
“I know you did,” Lauren whispered, agonized, her pale eyes shining, brimming with tears as they silently pleaded with Bo for understanding. “Bo…”
“I love you,” Bo interjected softly before Lauren could apologize again. “What you did, it hurt me, but I love you,” she continued, emphasizing the last three words, and Lauren’s eyes squeezed shut and tears leaked from the corners of her eyes, because she’d needed to hear Bo say that. “You don’t need to look so scared,” Bo breathed out, “I’m not going anywhere,” she whispered, reaching out cup Lauren’s face and Lauren blinked, freeing more tears from her eyes as she nodded her head.
“I love you,” Lauren managed to choked out a few seconds later, finally finding her voice as she reached up and covered Bo’s hand with her own where it lay against her cheek. “Please, don’t ever doubt that. I wasn’t trying to hurt you, I was trying to help. I thought I was helping, Bo. I was scared for you.”
“For me or of me?” Bo asked, her back stiffening slightly and her eyes dropping as she lowered their hands from Lauren’s face down to her lap.
“For you,” Lauren replied without hesitation, holding onto Bo’s hands even tighter. “You’re so much stronger than me, and you’re really, really good at hitting things,” she went on, pleased to note that the last part of her sentence brought a small smile to Bo’s lips. “You always protect me. But, I worry about you too, Bo. I want to protect you too,” she continued, squeezing Bo’s hand tightly.
“You were right about Kenzi, and we should have … I should have trusted you. But it’s also true that you’ve been … struggling. I know you, Bo,” Lauren breathed out, “I knew that something was happening inside of you. I could feel it,” Lauren said, covering her heart beseechingly with her hand. “I could see it,” she continued, releasing Bo’s hand so that she could stroke the backs of her fingers down Bo’s cheek. “I wasn’t abandoning you. I was standing with you. I was standing for you the only way I knew how. All was love, Bo. Please, believe me.”
“I do,” Bo exhaled roughly, her own eyes shining with barely contained tears.
Less than forty-eight hours before, she had growled at Lauren, she had snapped at her like a rabid dog and threatened her, and Lauren had not backed away from her. Her mind had been blazing hot and frothing, her thoughts – if they could be called that – had been mad and vicious, wild and writhing. She had been nothing but Id, all naked, raw, primal urges. She bared her teeth at Lauren and advanced on her with dangerously glowing eyes, and in the face of all of that, Lauren had stood her ground and loved her. It had hurt her to see Lauren flinch from her earlier that day. It had hurt her to see uncertainty in Lauren’s eyes when she looked at her, but Lauren had been right to be concerned about her. Lauren had been right about something being wrong with her.
“I know,” Bo whispered apologetically, her eyes softening as she spoke. “You did what you thought was right, and if you hadn’t … if you hadn’t taken that sample and done your science, I would have no idea about The Dawning. I would have no idea why I’ve been feeling so … animalistic. I hated seeing that look on your face. I hated knowing that it was justified being there. But you were right, something was, something is wrong with me.”
“You were sick, Bo, not wrong,” Lauren said gently before bringing their joined hands up to her lips so that she could kiss the back of Bo’s hand. “And now we know what’s happening and that’s …”
“Half the battle?” Bo cut in, her lips quirking up slightly.
“I was going to say ‘power,’ but your G.I. Joe one was good too,” Lauren replied, her lips curving up slightly, and at the sight of Lauren small smile Bo’s quirked lips turned into a full smile. “I’m with you, Bo,” Lauren continued seriously a moment later. “I’m always with you.”
“And I’m with you,” Bo replied before leaning forward to brush her lips gently against Lauren’s. “Now,” Bo drawled slowly, luxuriously elongating the syllable to get every drop of worth out of it. “Whataya say you come with me to bed?” Bo asked, her eyes dancing playfully as she gazed across at Lauren and bit down on her plump bottom lip suggestively, silently communicating that she promised the ‘coming’ wouldn’t stop when they got to bed.
In response, Lauren smiled at her brightly at her, and then immediately began to blush – while still smiling – and Bo couldn’t help herself and she leaned forward, bringing their lips together in a deep, sweet lingering kiss that had Lauren swaying forward and moaning into her mouth.
Smiling wickedly into their kiss, Bo nipped teasingly at Lauren’s bottom lip before she slid smoothly to her feet.
Lauren was sending out powerful waves of desire, as if she was the sun and Bo was Australia, which meant that it was time to get them to bed.
“Wait, wait, wait!” Lauren protested as Bo scooped her up into her arms.
“Listen, I didn’t put Kenzi down when she asked and I’m not going to put you down either, so don’t bother,” Bo replied, looking down at Lauren with her ‘serious face’. “You,” Bo pronounced importantly, “are my lady, and I am carrying you to bed.”
Lauren’s eyes flashed, as if she wanted to protest, but she didn’t say anything and a moment later a soft expression came over her features and her eyes shone with warmth.
“Do you have any idea how dreamy you are?” Lauren asked as she gazed up at Bo, only realizing how ridiculous that question sounded when Bo’s lips curved up and her eyes lit up in amusement.
“Dreamy, huh?” Bo asked teasingly. “Do you have a picture of me taped on the door of your cage of drugs?”
“When you say it like that, it makes me sound way cooler than I actually am,” Lauren replied dryly, looking chagrined as she gazed up at Bo.
“I think you’re cool, Dr. Lewis,” Bo assured her sweetly, dipping her head down to meet Lauren’s lips in a sweet little kiss.
“Sweet talk will get you everywhere,” Lauren breathed out as Bo pulled back from her lips.
“Is that a promise?” Bo husked, her eyes hooding slightly and her nostrils flared as she scented the air, breathing in the perfume of Lauren’s desire and becoming lightheaded from it.
“Yeah, baby,” Lauren drawled, her heart spiking as Bo’s eyes started to glow blue, desire and hunger lightening her up on the inside. “It’s a promise. But first,” Lauren said, pressing her hand against Bo’s chest to halt her when Bo began to move towards the stairs. “You’re going to have to carry me over to the fridge so I can get a bottle of coconut water to take upstairs.”
“Seriously?” Bo asked, a whine clearly present in her voice, as her eyes flickered and then returned to their usual rich brown.
“Seriously,” Lauren said, “Unless of course you don’t want to have any fun in the morning before going to meet Trick,” she continued, lifting a pale eyebrow at Bo.
“You exquisite temptress,” Bo breathed out, narrowing her eyes at Lauren. “Fine, you win. I will cater to you and your electrolytes,” Bo complained playfully, shaking her head as she dutifully carried Lauren into the kitchen. “You’re gonna have to get the door though,” she continued when they came to a stop in front of the fridge. “My hands are kinda full.”
“Ha ha,” Lauren muttered sounding so unimpressed Bo couldn’t help but laugh. “I usually love to follow your orders,” Lauren continued, her lips curving up into a smile when she heard Bo moan softly in response. “But the door’s a little difficult to get at from this angle,” she finished as she stared at the fridge door thoughtfully.
“I’m not falling for it, Lewis,” Bo said, shaking her head for emphasis before fixing Lauren with a shrewd look. “If you can figure out the mono triglycerides of risographs in isotonic oblongata solution you can figure out how to the open the fridge.”
Lauren lips parted in response to Bo’s words, but instead of speaking she simply released a soft sputtering sound as her eyebrows knitted together, making her look pained.
“I didn’t get any of that right, did I?” Bo asked, pretty sure that she had heard Lauren use all of those words, but not at all certain that Lauren had put them together in that particular order – or even all at one time.
Lauren shook her head.
“You want to explain to me in detail how none of that made sense, don’t you?” Bo asked.
Lauren nodded her head.
“Alright, go ahead,” Bo told her as she moved to the side so that she could place Lauren on the counter top.
She knew that it was cruel to try and make Lauren keep all of the science she knew up in her head.
“You know how I love it when you talk science to me,” Bo continued, turning back around so that she could open the door to the fridge. “Everything sounds so dirty. Coccyx,” Bo said, drawing the words out sinfully. “Uvula, spermaceti … invaginate,” Bo drawled as she rummaged around until she was able to locate two bottles of coconut water.
“You shouldn’t say those words like that,” Lauren replied as Bo turned around, holding up two bottles of coconut water victoriously. “Invaginate is not a sexy word.”
“It sounds sexy,” Bo said, kicking the fridge door shut with her foot as she moved over to where she had deposited Lauren.
“Does it really?” Lauren asked, not sounding the least bit convinced.
“Ah, yeah,” Bo replied.
“Use it in a sentence,” Lauren told her.
Bo thought for a moment, and from the look on her face Lauren could tell that she was finding it harder than she thought to think of a sexy way to use invaginate in a sentence, but Bo was not a quitter and finally her brain locked onto something.
“Girl,” Bo began.
“Oh god,” Lauren breathed out, biting down on her bottom lip to stop from laughing outright.
“Do you want to hear this or not?” Bo asked archly, looking down at Lauren primly.
“I’m honestly not sure anymore,” Lauren replied drawing a truly unimpressed look from Bo.
“Well, you’re going to hear it,” Bo declared.
“Okay,” Lauren sighed.
“And you’re going to like it,” Bo stated.
“Let’s not go crazy,” Lauren replied, and though Bo tried to glare at her in response she couldn’t quite keep the smile off of her face.
Bo cleared her throat and Lauren bit down on her bottom lip to stop from laughing.
“Girl,” Bo began again. “You look so good in that dress, I wanna take you around behind the middle school and invaginate you,” Bo declared, delivering the line with the utmost conviction.
“That was…” Lauren began slowly, trying to think of how to phrase her response, “a very noble effort to turn an inherently unsexy word into something tolerably arousing.”
“So I won,” Bo decided, smiling.
“No,” Lauren replied shaking her head. “But you tried,” Lauren granted, and Bo’s eyes narrowed at her.
“You’re lucky we’re not near a pool or I’d throw you in,” Bo declared, making a face at Lauren.
“Baby, you don’t need a pool to get me wet,” Lauren drawled, and Bo’s frown immediately turned into a smirk.
“Goddamn woman,” Bo husked, anxiously scooping Lauren back up into her arms. “Bed?” she asked hopefully, desperately wishing that Lauren would not have any more errands for them to run.
“Bed,” Lauren breathed out. “Let’s burn some sodium and potassium.”
“That’s my nerd,” Bo drawled as Lauren scooped up the bottles of coconut water from the counter and rested them in her lap.
“Carry on faithful steed,” Lauren pronounced, smirking at Bo as she parroted what Kenzi had said to Bo earlier.
“You two are gonna give me a complex, you know,” Bo complained as she carried Lauren towards the stairs and then began to ascend. “I’m not a pack mule,” she grumbled.
“You volunteered,” Lauren pointed out.
“I have feelings,” Bo continued heedless of Lauren’s words, though the way her lips quirked up slightly let Lauren know that Bo had heard her.
“And I wouldn’t have gone with mule.”
“I am a person, with thoughts and dreams of my own,” Bo went on. “I’ve dreamed a dream.”
“I’d say more of a stallion really,” Lauren breathed out.
“Stallion, huh?” Bo said, deciding to participate in monologue Lauren had been carrying on now that it was about her sexual prowess. “How would you calculate my horsepower?” she asked smirking.
“European supercar. Uniquely specialized with high-thrill performance features. A thousand hp. There’s no better ride out there,” Lauren breathed out, her voice low and rough as she stared up at Bo unblinkingly.
“You better believe it,” Bo husked, pausing where she was in the hallway for a moment when a hot wave of desire washed over her, momentarily affecting her equilibrium.
“Grabbing two bottles was such a good idea,” Bo rasped, walking again now and faster.
If her hands hadn’t been full of Lauren, she would have patted herself on the back for her foresight.
“Am I gonna need it?” Lauren asked teasingly.
“Yeah, baby. You’re gonna need it,” Bo swore, and then they were in her bedroom where she was able to set about proving it.