"How am I supposed to get around you when you're sprawled in the middle of my pathway?" Barbara asked Helena, who was lying on the floor.
"Maybe you should join me instead. Dinah's out on a date, and you have been working too much," Helena said with a pout that could only be described as flirty.
"I thought you had a date?"
"Case came up."
Barbara knew that, and Helena knew she did. The two women had a little staring match before Barbara moved her chair to a point where she could maneuver down out of it beside her partner.
"Why do you like to be on the floor when you're thinking about your parents?" Barbara asked after a few minutes of just cuddling along Helena's side. She kept her voice soft, and Helena actually managed not to tense up.
"How'd you guess?"
"I've studied you since you came to me. I also happen to be one of the few people who knows when your mother's birthday is."
Helena sighed. "Alfred took me for lunch while you were out," she said. "He said he liked mom, even before things got complicated for her with dad."
That Helena would and could say 'dad' so easily now made Barbara happier than a lot of other things. She nodded, against Helena's shoulder, and quieted.
"I feel grounded like this. All my body touching something real," Helena said. "It makes it easier to go through all the ways my life might have been different, if that night had never happened. Or if mom had made a different choice. Or any of it had changed."
Barbara found her hand and held it. "I understand then." She did that thinking in the shower, about herself and Dinah's mother.
"But… I have you, and life is good."