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“I think loneliness probably kills more people than cancer,” Stephanie says as the tears roll down her cheeks unhindered. She’s never understood how her best friend Emily was able to get her to open up to her so easily. She’s shared things with Emily that she had never shared with anyone—not even Davis. Or Chris.


There’s something about the way Emily looks at her like she’s the only other person in the room when she isn’t and even more so when she is. It makes Stephanie want to tell her everything, to hide nothing. It makes her feel like she finally matters to someone again—someone old enough to legally drink, anyway.


It scares her, the intensity of the emotions that overrun her when she spends this kind of time with Emily.


She watches Emily reach for her and for a moment she thinks she’s going to brush away her tears. Instead, her slender fingers curl around the back of Stephanie’s neck and pull her in and Stephanie follows.


“Come here,” Emily whispers just as their lips touch.


It isn’t their first kiss; that had occurred exactly 13 days ago in a similar situation. Except it had happened in Emily’s kitchen, not the couch where they now sat, and Stephanie was crying then, too. She’s not even sure what about anymore—probably something petty. But Emily, freshly poured martinis in hand for them, had paused as she rounded the island, leaned down, and kissed her.


It had been brief. Platonic. Placating. She’d done it as though she hadn’t thought about it, no more serious or meaningful than if she’d patted Stephanie on the back and told her, “There, there.” A peck on the lips. Nothing more.


This was more than that. Not much, but Stephanie felt her linger a beat or two longer than a peck before her other hand comes up to frame Stephanie’s face.


It makes her blood rush. Her pulse race. Something about Emily, so confident and sure and ready to tell Stephanie that she would be okay, that she was a good person and a strong woman, kissing her, cradling her neck in a way that made Stephanie feel safe and protected made her want to push her way into Emily’s lap. To get as close to her physically as she felt emotionally.


She reaches for her, letting her fingertips graze Emily’s cheeks as she kisses her back. Kisses her more firmly. Leans into her and lets her hands slip lower to feel the warmth of Emily’s neck as Emily smiles against her lips.


Stephanie feels it and it breaks her out of the haze of lust she allowed herself to slip into. She pulls back, ashamed she became so aggressive, so sexual with her best friend who was only trying to make her feel better. She wasn’t trying to start something with Stephanie.


She touches her lips and turns away to try to put space between them but she feels Emily move to follow her. “You’re okay,” Emily says warmly as she helps to wipe away the tears that come flooding back. “Wanna order a pizza?”


It’s all she can do not to say she’s sorry. “God, I’m so embarrassed,” Stephanie says as she tries to come back to herself and ignore the fact that Emily licks her lips before she speaks.


Emily smooths her hair behind her ear and her hand lingers on Stephanie’s forearm. “Oh, because of that?” she says with a quiet chuckle. “No, hey—it’s all good, baby. It’s all good. Just another Tuesday.”


Stephanie feels a little dizzy. “Why do you call me that?”


“What, ‘baby’?”


She nods and smooths her dress over her lap.


“Because I want to.” She feels Emily’s hand resting on her elbow with the slightest pressure as though she’s trying to get Stephanie to turn back to her. “Do you want me to stop?”


The laugh that escapes Stephanie’s lips is as embarrassing as letting her kiss get away from her and she covers her mouth with her hand and closes her eyes tightly.


“What is it?” Emily says with a smile.


Stephanie shakes her head. “Nothing.”


Emily’s hand is making its way up the back of Stephanie’s arm. Her grip becomes a little more firm, not in any way that’s intimidating or controlling, though. It’s grounding. It’s definitely urging Stephanie to turn back to her. “You like it.”


Emily says it so matter-of-factly that even though she wants to deny it vehemently—they are friends and friends don’t use pet names like “baby” and friends don’t start making out while their children play upstairs—all Stephanie can do is shrug. “I-I-I…”


“That’s what I thought.” Emily’s voice is in her ear, her breath warm on her cheek and it makes Stephanie shiver. Stephanie feels fingers under her chin and lets her head be turned until she’s almost nose to nose with Emily. “Come here, baby.”


Emily purrs the words and Stephanie hears the whimper blossom and catch in her own throat as Emily captures her lips.


Stephanie can feel the difference in this kiss. Emily’s not kissing her to comfort her or finding amusement in Stephanie’s unexpected enthusiasm. Emily’s kissing her to kiss her. She’s framing Stephanie’s face once again with one hand while the other, the one that was holding her arm drifts down until it’s resting on Stephanie’s thigh. It makes it difficult to breathe and when she parts her lips to take a gasping breath, Emily’s tongue slips past them.


It’s quick and almost stealthy the way the tip of her tongue catches Stephanie’s upper lip. She doesn’t stop kissing Stephanie but also she doesn’t try it again.


Stephanie’s heart pounds at the sensation, at the simple knowledge that Emily’s testing her boundaries, her affinity or willingness to take their friendly little kiss further.


She answers by copying the action. She slips her tongue out and catches Emily’s lip and Emily’s hand tightens on her thigh. However, her tongue doesn’t let Stephanie’s escape; it’s as though it was lying in wait for it. It chases Stephanie’s and glides over it as the hand cradling her face tilts her head to a more satisfactory angle.


Stephanie feels the walls around her crack. Emily ensnares her. Her grip is firm but not at all unwelcome when she holds Stephanie in place to consume her. She doesn’t let her move as she licks into her mouth and Stephanie fails to stop her moan this time.


She feels Emily’s quick exhale in response and then Emily is pulling away, but not before her teeth tug on Stephanie’s lower lip until it slips out. “Good?”


Stephanie’s drowning in the haze of lust that she’d fallen into minutes earlier but she knows there’s no escaping it this time. She feels herself nodding dumbly in response and then she’s reaching for Emily. She twists her torso and this time she’s the one to capture lips. She can feel the way Emily wasn’t quite expecting her to be so quick and so bold and it fuels the fire lit in the pit of her stomach. Her hands frame Emily’s face but they don’t linger; they slide down until they’re at her neck and then they shove the expensive gray blazer off her shoulders.


Emily’s arm snakes around her waist to pull Stephanie closer. It sends a chill down her spine and she twists until she’s tucking her legs underneath herself. Her hands start to feel like they have minds of their own. She notices one curling around Emily’s neck while she kisses her harder. The other is still but anxious where it rests on her chest just north of the curve of Emily’s left breast.


Emily still has her by the waist and seems to be pulling incessantly. Stephanie’s about to end their kiss and tell her to stop because she has nowhere else to go when Emily’s other hand grasps the back of her knee and pulls. It’s with a surprising grace that Emily guides her up and over until Stephanie is comfortably settled astride her lap. It’s been so long since she’s been in such a position she almost forgot what it was like; almost forgot what to do. Almost.


She keeps Emily’s mouth busy as Stephanie’s hands start to fiddle with Emily’s collar. It’s buttoned all the way up and as delicious as it is, there are too many layers and too many buttons between her hands and Emily’s skin.


There’s one tiny nagging thought at the back of her brain that tells her she should be careful, not be so rash, thoughtless. This is Emily Nelson. She’s powerful. Known. Men cower in her presence. Their children are best friends and if this ends badly she will have to see her again in the future in the school parking lot. Will have to be civil toward her for the sake of Miles and Nicky.


The coolness of Emily’s fingertips gliding along the backs of Stephanie’s thighs under her dress makes her fingers move. She sits back from their kiss so she can see what she’s doing and twists the button of Emily's stiff white collar. It doesn’t reveal anything, really, not more than an inch or so of Emily’s throat, but it’s enough to take Stephanie’s breath away.


It must be noticeable because she hears Emily chuckle and she manages to rip her eyes away to meet her friend’s. She almost loses her breath again; Emily, infallibly cool, calm, and collected, is visibly aroused. There’s a blush to her cheeks and darkness to her eyes that wasn’t there after the first kiss that afternoon.


It drives Stephanie’s fingers to keep going. She doesn’t have to watch now; it’s easy to trail them down over the crisp white placket and find the next button and undo it.


Followed by another. And another. And another until she’s reaching between them to tug Emily’s blouse out of her pants to undo the last two buttons and her gaze never wavers. It’s intoxicating to see that she can affect Emily this way, that if she brushes her knuckles “accidentally” across the bare skin of her abdomen as she finishes the final button Emily’s eyelashes will flutter and the muscle in her jaw will tighten.


Stephanie opens Emily’s shirt as she leans back in; she can see Emily’s expecting a kiss and it’s thrilling to deny her that, to instead duck her head and press her lips to Emily’s neck as her hands rest on Emily’s bare shoulders. She can feel the vibration of a moan against her lips but hears nothing.


And that just won’t do.


She kisses Emily’s neck again, higher this time, and sucks gently. It’s not hard enough to leave a mark but it fills Stephanie with the same feeling of staking her claim on this woman who’s doing everything in her power to remain stoic as Stephanie bathes her neck with her tongue.

She can feel her starting to crumble, though. Her breath is quick. Her head is tilting ever so slightly to give Stephanie better access. The hands tucked under Stephanie’s thighs aren’t quite so cool anymore, nor are they stationary. They’re starting to move, just an inch or two at a time, but they’re moving higher so Stephanie lifts herself up a little, enough to tell Emily that it’s okay, that she wants her to touch her anywhere she pleases.


When she presses her teeth into Emily’s skin the moan finally escapes. It’s short but loud and Stephanie’s yanked away by her hair so quickly it’s almost painful. Any protest she has to the matter, however, is overruled by Emily’s tongue in her mouth. She’s held in place by Emily’s hand tangled in her hair but it’s not as though Stephanie has any desire to leave. She’d very happily allow Emily to fuck her mouth this way for the rest of her life.


Stephanie is, however, still in control of her own hands and if Emily is going to be so forward and demanding, so will she. Her hands have been resting comfortably on Emily’s shoulders for far too long so Stephanie drags them down. She follows the straps of Emily’s bra—an ivory balconette she glimpsed when unbuttoning her shirt—until she’s tracing the swells of her breasts. Her touch seems to make Emily kiss her even more deeply so she takes them into her hands, best she can with the bra still in place, and makes it clear that she wants this. That she wants Emily.


While the hand fisted in her hair is as unrelenting as her mouth, Emily’s other hand is less so. With every press of Stephanie’s hands or biting of tongues, it slides higher and higher up her dress until she’s holding Stephanie up by her hair and by her ass.


Stephanie feels starved for oxygen and she’s about to force their kiss to break when Emily does it for her. Their gasps for air are in unison and Stephanie’s about to smile because it’s kind of cute, but she doesn’t get a chance to because Emily’s mouth is on her neck. She’s not as thoughtful or cautious as Stephanie had been and Stephanie can feel the bruise before Emily’s even released her skin. It makes her groan and reach up to hold Emily there. She wants her fingers in Emily’s hair, that gorgeous dirty blonde mane that is effortlessly gorgeous, so she rips at the tie that’s keeping her hair tied into its low, stylish twist until she’s ruffling it out and twisting her fingers into it to press Emily closer.


Emily releases her grip on her hair, then, and immediately Stephanie feels her hand reappear on her chest. She’s tugging at the buttons at the bodice of Stephanie’s dress one-handed in what feels like it must be a rare moment of ineptitude when it comes to lovemaking for Emily because it’s not working.


Stephanie relinquishes her hold on Emily’s hair to do it for her; she makes quick work of it, opening the front of her dress down to the waist where her belt sits. She feels Emily’s mouth leave her skin and when she opens her eyes, she finds Emily watching her. Stephanie takes her in, the way her lips are wet and reddened, how the blush on her cheeks has spread to her neck and chest, how her hair is disheveled thanks to Stephanie’s hands, and Stephanie finds Emily’s hands. She has to pull her left off her ass where it’s been greedily squeezing but it’s so she can guide them both to the buckle of her belt.


Emily’s gaze is unwavering; she doesn’t watch as she undoes Stephanie’s belt, and neither does Stephanie. The sound alone of metal clinking is enough to make another moan take root in Stephanie’s chest. Her chest which Emily’s hands move to as soon as her belt is loosened. Her chest which heaves as Emily’s hands cup her breasts, as they lift them and squeeze them but only for a matter of seconds because then her hands are guiding Stephanie’s arms out of her sleeves. They’re unhooking her bra and dropping it to the floor. They’re gathering the skirt of her dress and lifting it over Stephanie’s head to cast it aside to leave Stephanie straddling her lap wearing nothing but a pair of red lace panties.


She’s not quite dizzy enough to miss the way Emily quirks an eyebrow at her after very obviously noticing the undergarment. “Really? I’m impressed.” Emily’s cool tone is muddled now; her voice is low and rough but still dripping with confidence.


Stephanie has to swallow to get her own voice to work. “Just because it’s been a few years doesn’t mean I don’t want to feel sexy.”


“Oh, you are sexy, baby,” Emily says as her hands start to roam over Stephanie’s bare thighs, higher and higher until they’re both on her ass. She squeezes and gives a tug and it makes Stephanie lean back a little. “Now come here and let me make you feel good.”


Emily doesn’t give direction beyond that. She doesn’t really need to; Stephanie’s at her beck and call now, and she watches Emily lick her lips, lean down, and take her nipple into her mouth.


A word forms and dies on Stephanie’s lips and instead she moans and tangles her hand back up in Emily’s hair. She can feel her starting to suckle on it, gentle at first, her tongue grazing and teasing, then getting stronger and stronger until she cries out in pleasure.


That brings it to an abrupt pause as Emily releases her. “Don’t get the boys’ attention or we’ll have to stop.”


“Sorry,” she says as she tries to guide Emily down to her other breast.


Emily resists. “You’re what?”


“Fuck. I meant I’ll try not to make noise.”


The hands on her ass squeeze and give her a bit of a shake. “I want to hear you. I just don’t want them to hear you.” She doesn’t wait for another response before finally bathing Stephanie’s other breast with her tongue.


“Oh, God,” Stephanie breathes as she looks down to watch it happen. She can see her flesh pulled into Emily’s mouth, can feel her sucking and tonguing at her and it makes her ache. She knows she’s wet; she could feel it the moment she straddled Emily’s lap and she knows it’s only gotten worse. Part of her wants to reach down with her free hand and touch herself right there, right in front of Emily. She wonders what Emily would do if she did that, if she’d sit back and watch Stephanie make herself come or she’d take offense and do it herself.


It’s that thought that makes her do it. The hand not tangled in Emily’s hair reaches between them and she runs her fingers down herself, over her panties, and moans. She knows Emily’s not aware of what she’s doing because she doesn’t stop sucking on her breast or digging her nails into her ass so she doesn’t stop. Her panties are soaked through and it’s exhilarating to be so naughty in plain sight. To touch herself while Emily has no idea.


Her fatal mistake is not controlling her hips. They start to rock against her own touch and it gets Emily’s attention.


“What the hell do you think you’re doing?”


Emily’s mouth abandons her breast so suddenly Stephanie actually tips back, not ready for the loss of tension. Her instinct is to yank her hand away as though she’s been burned, to apologize and ask for forgiveness.


But that’s not what Emily would want her to do. She should never apologize for anything ever.


Instead, she strokes her fingers over herself again while she looks Emily squarely in the eye.


Her brazenness results in Emily being the one to yank her hand away; she holds it in the air between them and Stephanie waits for Emily to chastise her.


Instead, she watches Emily take her wet fingers into her mouth.


She even moans and closes her eyes.


It makes Stephanie light-headed.


Emily kisses Stephanie’s fingertips once she’s pulled her fingers from her mouth. “I was going to watch you ride my fingers, but now…” Her voice trails off and her eyes seem to go a little unfocused and for the first time, Stephanie feels like she’s not the only one caught up in a web of arousal.


The suspense is unbearable. “But now...?”


Emily’s eyes snap to hers and hands seize her waist. Stephanie’s being moved so quickly she doesn’t process it until her head’s falling against the back of the couch. Emily swept her up, into her arms, and back down into the warmth of where she’d been sitting and Stephanie doesn’t let her mind linger too long on how it felt to be held by Emily for that one second. She can’t allow it.


Instead, she trains her focus on Emily who shucks her unbuttoned shirt as she kneels before Stephanie, and Stephanie has to blink and blink again to make sure she’s really seeing what she’s seeing. That Emily Nelson is on her knees in front of her, that her hands are on Stephanie’s thighs and moving steadily higher until her fingers are hooking into the elastic around her waist and pulling Stephanie’s red lace down her legs to toss them over her shoulder.


She feels Emily’s eyes rake over her and she can’t quite believe that this is happening. She’s completely nude on Emily’s couch, their children upstairs and, she guiltily hopes, behind a locked door. She’s less concerned with them catching her with Emily than she is about the fact that her body is on full display in the bright daylight of the afternoon sun pouring through the massive windows of Emily’s house.


Her increasing worry is cut off by Emily’s hands parting her knees and the quickness with which she lifts them to put them over her shoulders.


“Oh, for the love of -”


She doesn’t get to finish the sentence because Emily’s fingers spread her open and her tongue glides over her clit.


Whoever’s name she was about to take in vain turns into a lip-bitten moan as she watches it happen.


It’s too much, though. It’s all too much and she has to close her eyes to prevent her brain from short-circuiting.


It’s been so long; it’s been so long since someone made love to her this way. The last time she had sex had been a one-night stand and the man had done very little for her benefit. She couldn’t even remember the last time someone’s tongue was between her legs. She wonders if she actually forgot what it was like because she’s certain she’s never felt what she feels now as Emily’s tongue laps at her.


Stephanie’s body tries to chase her, to get closer or make her move more quickly but Emily resists it; her hold on on Stephanie’s legs is firm where her arms wrap around them. Her voice is low but steady when she withdraws long enough to say, “Don’t worry, I got you, baby,” before returning to what Stephanie can only label as worshiping her clit.


The statement makes Stephanie whimper and press her heels into Emily’s back, but only for a moment, because in the next she’s being tugged down, bit by bit until she has to shove the pillow behind her up and over the back of the couch so she has enough room. Emily’s literally holding her up, her entire lower body suspended in the air as her shoulders bear the weight that Emily isn’t.


It’s so erotic and wanton and she feels alive.


“Shit,” she breathes before moaning. She hopes it’s not too loud because she never wants this to end, not when Emily takes her clit between her lips to start sucking on it, her tongue still working it in her mouth to the rhythm and pattern that has Stephanie starting to not care if she’s too loud.


Her hands scramble to find something to hold on to. The cushions of the couch are too firm to dig in to and for a brief moment they settle on her breasts. But as good as it feels, it splits her attention too much because the only thing in the world she wants to feel right now is Emily sucking on her.


Her hands end up in Emily’s hair and there’s a moment where Emily pauses as though she’s going to tell Stephanie to keep her hands to herself but she says nothing. Instead, she’s more firm with her mouth and Stephanie’s fingers twist into her hair to pull.


It makes Emily moan, a real, unfiltered response that’s even better than the first she pulled from her with a bite to her neck. The very concept of Emily losing control is enough to kick Stephanie right to the edge.


“God, I’m so close,” she says with a gasp as her back arches. The words are barely past her lips before she’s coming on Emily’s tongue.


The pleasure is almost too much. It rocks her entire body and then it crashes through it again a minute later because Emily doesn’t stop. She doesn’t stop or ease up for a single second even while Stephanie’s writhing in orgasm and as soon as Stephanie is able to take a breath, a second rushes through her.


She knows the sound she makes is a pitiful one. Some mix of a desperate whine and a delirious moan and this time she feels Emily slowing down to ease her down from it


“Don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop,” she begs and pulls Emily’s hair with what is probably too much force but Emily doesn’t protest. Instead, she moans and picks up her pace until Stephanie comes a third time.


When she can breathe again, Stephanie is aware that there are tears trailing down her temples. She’s aware that Emily is shifting how she’s holding her and that she probably should help pull herself up but her arms don’t want to work. She does manage to get her fingers to unlatch from Emily’s hair and she watches through heavy lashes as Emily detangles herself from Stephanie’s legs. She waits to see what happens next, if Emily is going to make her sit up, or maybe pick her up and carry her...somewhere. But she does none of those things.


She sits back on her knees, Stephanie’s feet on her thighs to keep her back straight and not strained, and she waits.


She doesn’t say anything or do anything. She waits and she watches Stephanie watching her as she slowly comes back to herself.


When Stephanie finally heaves a sigh and manages to start sitting up, an awkward shuffle that actually requires her to kneel on the floor with Emily, Emily catches her face between her hands to guide her in for a long, slow kiss.


“You good?” Emily says when they part and it’s the same type of quiet emotion in her voice that had been there when Stephanie had been so embarrassed by getting carried away with a kiss.


‘Good’ feels like the understatement of the decade. Stephanie feels like she can breathe again. She nods and kisses Emily without care or fear that she’s getting carried away.


When Emily pulls back, Stephanie’s pleasantly surprised when she leans right back in for one more kiss, as though she hadn’t quite been ready to stop and regretted her own decision. Stephanie smiles into it and is still smiling when Emily pulls back again.


“I’m going to go check on the boys,” she says as she stands and suddenly she’s towering over Stephanie. “Get yourself cleaned up.”


The position also has the apex of her thighs right at eye-level with Stephanie and it’s all she can do to not press her hand there. Instead, she runs her hands over Emily’s thighs, knee to waist, and then lets her go.


She watches her snag her blouse and Stephanie’s underwear from the floor. The panties get stuffed into her pocket and her blouse gets buttoned as she strides toward the staircase. “You’re staying for dinner, by the way,” Emily says without looking back.


“What am I making?” Stephanie asks as she tries to get her coordination working to grab her bra and dress so she can stand up.


“Nothing. I’m going to order that pizza for the boys,” Emily says as she rounds the staircase and stops, one foot on the first step to look at Stephanie. “But I’m the only thing on your menu tonight.”

The end...?