In some stories, lovers’ eyes will meet across a crowded room. That’s a beginning, for other people.
Patty Hewes has never been other people. Instead, when her eyes meet Ellen’s (almost a miracle given their relative heights and how packed the gallery is tonight) Patty feels her blood run pleasantly cold.
This is not like other stories.
Ellen needs her freedom, Ellen needs her independence (like Finland, whose independence from Russia they’re apparently celebrating at tonight’s well-attended fundraiser) and yet Ellen also feels the need to drift back into Patty’s life at irregular intervals.
They circle the room, and by extension each other, until the space reduces and the crowd thins. Patty waves away the waiter with a tray of champagne, and a moment later Ellen is pressing a heavy glass of bourbon into her palm. Ellen, naturally, has a matching glass of her own.
“It’s been a while,” Ellen says, and there’s a fleeting moment where she actually looks sad about that fact.
Patty calculates, sipping her drink and scanning the crowd, and lands on the conclusion that she hasn’t seen Ellen since the day of the custody verdict. (How could you think I would seriously help Michael, Patty? I know what he did to you) Patty remembers the relief at scooping Catherine up in her arms, all the while watching Ellen stride off down the hallway.
“Yes, it has,” Patty agrees.
“I’m tired,” Ellen confesses, though she looks anything but. The sparkle in her eyes is accentuated by tasteful diamonds at her neck; although Patty wants to ask who bought them, she never will. They’re in a cloakroom, of all places. Why Ellen needs to talk here, now, like this is a mystery to Patty. Much like Ellen herself since she walked away that windy spring day almost a year ago.
“Maybe you’re working too hard,” Patty suggests, hating herself for fishing for details. She’s heard whispers of Ellen at other firms, but nothing concrete until now. “You should have an early night, not waste your time at some ambassador’s ball.”
“That’s not what makes me tired,” Ellen sighs, and she steps in close enough to make the skirt of Patty’s gown rustle.
Ellen, with her sad eyes and that careful little smirk, is staring Patty down. It’s as though they’re at a conference table instead of hiding out in some glorified closet. The first to look away loses, and Ellen has certainly developed a taste for not losing to rival Patty’s own. Patty almost wants to lose on purpose, just to see the flush in Ellen’s cheeks if she wins. Her better angels are shouted down by well-established demons though, and so Patty smiles as calmly as she can manage and holds Ellen’s gaze.
“I’m tired,” Ellen repeats, close enough for Patty to feel the breath on her cheek. “I’m tired of pretending I don’t miss you every damn day. I’m tired of trying to get excited about the kind of case you’d laugh out of the room.” Ellen hesitates, and there’s just the slightest hitch in her breathing. “I’m tired of taking these gorgeous guys to my bed and spending the whole night thinking about you.”
“Really,” Patty manages to make it sound like a drawl, and maybe it’s enough to cover the chill that’s running down her spine.
“You don’t seem surprised,” Ellen whispers, and Patty feels her hand rising without her permission. Instead of the slap that Ellen seems to be bracing for, Patty trails her knuckles softly over Ellen’s cheek.
“I don’t think I am,” Patty confesses, and before she can say something to ruin it all, Ellen is kissing her. It’s not a meek kiss either, not asking for permission or begging Patty to like it. It’s just a thoroughly good kiss, the kind that makes Patty’s lips tingle and her knees just a tiny bit weak. For all her legendary self-control, there’s very little she can do about sheer biology.
“See?” Ellen says, when they break apart after a few delicious seconds. “This has been driving me crazy.”
“And all it took was one kiss?” Patty can’t help but sound a little mocking, she hasn’t felt this exposed in a long time. Not since Catherine was ill has she felt so utterly powerless. If Ellen wants more, she’ll have it, and Patty doesn’t know how in the hell they got to this stage without her ever noticing. Ellen’s still so young, even with the emotional toil she’s carrying on those slender shoulders of hers. Patty feels far too old and somehow young again in the same moment, her self-consciousness over what her body could offer up tempered by the burning need to touch Ellen’s, to trade whatever it would take to have that tonight.
“Oh, I think it’s gonna take more than that,” Ellen scolds, her pout giving way to one of those brief but dazzling smiles. Patty’s so drawn to her mouth, to watching it and finding it unspeakably gorgeous in that moment, that she somehow doesn’t see the second kiss coming. She feels it though, and when Ellen’s tongue presses against her lips, Patty doesn’t think twice before parting them to allow Ellen access.
They must look quite stunning, Patty thinks in one of the fragments of remaining brain activity that she can still grasp on to. Ellen--wrapped in a blood-red sheath of a dress, unrelentingly tight in all the right places--pressed against Patty, whose deep blue dress has a fitted bodice and flowing skirt that crinkles just slightly when Ellen wraps her arms around Patty’s waist and pulls her closer. Pale skin touches pale skin wherever it’s exposed, and Patty feels her nerve endings respond to even the lightest caress from Ellen’s careful fingers.
When they part this time, Patty lets her fingers slide from where they’ve been clutching the back of Ellen’s neck, and she touches her own lips with those trembling fingers, as though that will somehow confirm all this is real. Ellen smiles at the sight, pulling the hand away and kissing the tips of Patty’s fingers to make her point more directly.
“So, where do we go from here?” Patty asks, painfully aware that anyone could stumble on their little hiding place at any moment. Does she really want Page Six getting hold of this before she even knows what the hell it is?
There’s no denying that Ellen might very well be playing some kind of game that Patty doesn’t yet see the need for. Perhaps one of the clients waiting in the files Patty’s been ignoring is someone that Ellen’s pursuing at her new firm. Perhaps Ellen wants some kind of revenge after all, having not ruined everything at Catherine’s custody hearing. Patty steels herself to walk away at the first sign of trouble, because she knows better than to trust this easily.
“Well, I was gonna suggest bed. Yours, mine, doesn’t matter to me. We can book a suite at the Four Seasons if you like.”
“Ellen,” Patty draws out the two syllables, realizing how much she’s missed saying them.
“I even like the way you say my name,” Ellen sighs, sounding exasperated.
Patty wants to suggest that they talk, that Ellen give her more information to analyze and dissect until she finds the ulterior motive. Patty wants to make a joke out of it all, to find the punchline before Ellen changes her mind and laughs in Patty’s face. But more than any of those things, Patty (and the indisputable ache between her thighs) wants to do exactly what Ellen is suggesting, and do it right the fuck now.
“Well, this is your bright idea,” Patty smirks. “Lead the way.”
And lead is exactly what Ellen does, with the skimming touch of her fingers at Patty’s elbow as they find the staircase and collect their wraps on the way out. She leads the way towards Patty’s waiting car, and slides into the back seat first, waiting for Patty to follow. Patty doesn’t follow anyone, but tonight she decides to compromise that most pointless of principles. She’s incredibly glad she did when Ellen greets the closing of the car door with the flick of the switch that raises the privacy screen.
This kiss is far less controlled, and if hands start wandering a little further, it’s not like Patty is complaining. In fact, she moans her complete lack of complaint against Ellen’s hair when Ellen opts to kiss her way down Patty’s neck. Ellen lingers perhaps a moment too long with her lips and tongue lavishing attention on the sensitive hollow at the base of Patty’s throat, and something in Patty wants to say go on, mark me as though a hickey is in any way appropriate for a woman of her stature.
Letting Ellen take the lead for a while is one thing, but Patty can’t resist giving as good as she gets. She plucks the clip from Ellen’s hair, running her fingers through the cascade as it falls down, luxuriating in Ellen’s little murmurs of approval as she does. Patty takes the initiative then, gathering Ellen’s hair in her fist and tugging just a little roughly to draw Ellen back up into another searing kiss.
They’re both panting when their lips part again, and Patty finds herself glad that they’re stuck behind tinted windows in some kind of Friday night downtown gridlock. She’s in no hurry to be anywhere that isn’t pinned between Ellen and the back of the seat right now. Especially once Ellen yanks up her dress enough to let her straddle Patty.
“You know this is ridiculous, right?” Patty can’t help asking when Ellen takes Patty’s face in her hands.
“Yup. And I’m way past caring,” Ellen shoots right back. When she kisses Patty again, Patty finds her hands stroking Ellen’s bare thighs, massaging and caressing until one hand wanders north on the silky fabric of the dress to cup Ellen’s breast.
“Mmm,” Ellen murmurs against Patty’s cheek. “We are so not making it to a bed.”
And she’s right. She’s so very right, because without warning or invitation the zippers on both a blue dress and on a red are being lowered by purposeful hands. Half out of their formalwear, Patty pauses to drink in the sight of Ellen in her black satin bra, practically inviting Patty to trace its margins with her mouth. So she does, and it’s glorious. Only then it gets even better, when Ellen reaches back and unhooks her own bra, which presents Patty with even more to kiss and lick (and yes, suck on, with perhaps just the hint of teeth).
Ellen doesn’t seem to give a damn about leading anymore, especially once Patty slips her right hand between Ellen’s thighs and nudges aside the whisp of fabric passing for underwear. With one fingertip Patty traces over the neat strip of curls, teasing around edges that are already slick from Ellen’s growing arousal: something that doesn’t hurt Patty’s ego at all. The proof that--intentions be damned--Ellen really, really wants this is enough to vanquish the last doubts for now.
So, while Ellen traces her thumbs over Patty’s nipples (still trapped in the navy lace of her bra) Patty is ravishing each of Ellen’s breasts in turn, drawing gasps and no small number of curses from Ellen’s mouth with every lick or fleeting nip. That’s nothing compared to the throaty moan that escapes when Patty first grazes Ellen’s clit, or the sharp utterance of ‘fuck’ when Patty decides to hell with ‘grazing’ and presses her thumb down in a series of quick circles that make Ellen’s legs tremble just a little.
While she doesn’t want this to be over too soon (it will just be tonight, and Patty will not allow herself to hope for or even consider the possibility of more) Patty can’t resist the cavalier impulse to slide two fingers inside, and the way Ellen’s hips buck is confirmation enough of how good an idea it is.
“Please, Patty,” Ellen sighs as her head falls forward and rests on Patty’s shoulder. Patty toys with the idea of withholding, or at least making Ellen think that she is, but the warmth and clenching of Ellen’s inner muscles around her fingers is too intoxicating to resist. Working those two fingers in and out in even thrusts has Ellen gasping against Patty’s collarbone, and Ellen is almost sobbing when Patty adds a third.
It’s a question of angles, so Patty uses the thumb of her other hand now to rub Ellen’s clit, and it doesn’t take long at all before Ellen tenses and then comes, hard, against Patty’s hands. Patty finds herself crying out at Ellen’s release, and she almost falls over the edge herself--without being touched. There’s a small flood of new moisture that makes Patty blush a little with pride; she hasn’t been with another woman since college, after all.
“Oh,” Ellen mutters, pressing haphazard kisses against Patty’s flushed chest. “I knew you would be good at this. You just have to be good at everything, don’t you Patty?”
Patty pulls her fingers free and shrugs, but before she can thinking of wiping it anywhere, Ellen grabs her wrist. When Ellen smirks at Patty before very slowly and deliberately tasting herself on Patty’s fingers, it sends a fresh wave of fuck, I nearly came surging through Patty’s abdomen.
“Not bad,” Ellen pronounces, licking her lips and eyeing Patty like she’s some kind of decadent dessert. “Wanna taste?”
Patty should say no, point out that she doesn’t do that, but that’s true of a lot of things that have already happened tonight, and nobody is buying it (least of all herself). So she raises her own fingers to her mouth and licks Ellen’s come from each one in turn.
It’s enough to have Ellen making a strangled little noise in her throat, and as Patty finishes, Ellen has her hands on Patty’s shoulders, shoving her carelessly into the corner of the backseat.
“I can’t wait,” Ellen explains, dropping to her knees in the only-slightly cramped space between the front and back seats. Thank God Mercedes make cars more spacious than most, Patty thinks, until she’s distracted once more by the sight of Ellen, mostly naked with her designer dress draped around her waist. Which is nothing compared to the distraction of Ellen pushing Patty’s full skirt up past her knees, and then gently pushing those knees apart. Patty doesn’t resist, especially when Ellen’s mouth starts traveling up Patty’s inner thigh.
“Oh God,” Patty groans, because even if this scenario has haunted her dreams at various points in the past six years, she’s always been able to control and dismiss it. She’s become an expert in telling herself that she doesn’t want Ellen this way, but every part of her body is screaming out in disagreement. She doesn’t just want this; she desperately, unquestionably needs it.
“Wow,” Ellen murmurs from the floor as she presses one finger against the silk of Patty’s underwear. There’s no hiding the fact that she’s already soaked through it, and Ellen looks just a little smug at the discovery. “Well,” Ellen continues. “Guess you won’t be needing these.”
Patty actually arches into Ellen’s touch, letting Ellen pull the panties down roughly and then kicking them off altogether. It leaves Patty painfully aware of how close Ellen is to the most private part of her, and although Patty likes sex, she’s never made it a priority. Tonight it feels like more than that, like maybe she’ll die if Ellen leaves her like this, red-faced and ready to beg if needs be. Ellen’s always been special, Patty knows that, but it’s still a little terrifying that she can wield this power over Patty so effortlessly.
She stops giving a damn at the first experimental swipe of Ellen’s tongue. Even if this is some kind of coup, or there’ll be a damning public exposure, Patty is just going to get hers. Ellen’s hands are warm as she presses Patty’s thighs further apart, and Patty thinks she might just pay for all this stretching in the morning.
It’s almost impossible to see Ellen, thanks to the ridiculous skirt, and so Patty tilts her head back and surrenders to sensation. Ellen’s fingers are stroking the crease at each thigh, before trailing up and over Patty’s hipbones. The tingling is a maddening counterpoint to the slow exploration of Ellen’s tongue, which is licking and massaging over every inch of wetness, carefully avoiding the one place Patty needs it most.
Patty laughs, quietly. Of course Ellen is a tease. Of fucking course she is.
That’s enough to make Ellen pause, and she appears from behind the skirt with a curious expression.
“Nope,” Patty lies. It turns into a gasp as Ellen’s thumb presses down suddenly on her clit. “Just keep going,” she manages to instruct.
When Ellen resumes this time, there’s no teasing. Maybe she’s seen Patty’s desperation and had been trying to prolong the experience, but now Ellen is firm with every movement, including the moment when that tongue (oh fuck, that warm, wet, talented tongue) takes over from her thumb and begins circling Patty’s clit.
And that’s it, Patty is completely gone. For a few endless minutes (seconds? hours?) she’s overwhelmed by the surge and crash of orgasm, since Ellen holds her position and sends Patty slamming into a second climax without any warning. Patty makes a fist, unconsciously, and bites down on her own flesh as she comes. It keeps her at least a little quieter, because hey--that’s a privacy screen, not soundproofing.
Patty’s barely recovered when Ellen climbs up to sort-of lie on top of her. Patty’s dress is unzipped but still mostly in place when Ellen presses her bare torso against it. Ellen is intent on kissing Patty, letting her taste herself now in this full-sensory experience of fucking each other senseless. Patty latches on to her mouth greedily, stroking and sucking until Ellen’s every bit as breathless as she is.
“Holy shit,” Ellen breathes when they part, and she starts easing her way back into her dress when they sit up. Patty doesn’t mention Ellen’s discarded bra, but she does zip Ellen back up when she turns to ask for it.
“My thoughts exactly,” Patty smirks, trying to smooth out her own crumpled (and probably stained) clothes. She doesn’t know whether to burn the dress or have it framed. Ellen reaches behind Patty and tugs the zipper closed once more, giving some semblance of order to their appearance as the car glides to a halt outside Patty’s apartment building.
“I’m tired,” Ellen says again, but this time she’s smiling. “In fact I’m so tired, you’d probably better get me to a bed, right away.”
Patty can see a hundred ways to ruin this, can feel the barbed comments forming on her tongue to shatter this glorious détente in the long war of knowing Ellen Parsons, and yet somehow she manages to resist. She opens the door (her drivers know better than to do this for her, by now) and steps out onto the sidewalk, standing on still-trembling legs.
“Oh, come on then,” Patty concedes, still unsure of what it’ll cost her, in the long run. Ellen follows Patty out, shoving Patty’s underwear into her purse along with Ellen’s own bra. Well, at least that will avoid any awkward silences on future trips. “But we can’t wake Catherine. Or the nanny.”
“So domestic,” Ellen sasses as Perry opens the door for them. Patty wonders if he can smell the sex on them as they glide past, and decides there and then that he’ll be whacked with another door if he ever dares to comment.
The elevator is waiting for them, but Ellen doesn’t wait for the doors to close before wrapping one leg over Patty’s hip and pulling their bodies tight together once more. They kiss, more playfully this time, and Patty feels years rolling back like the tide.
This isn’t how their story ends.