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Five Evenings

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Valentina always liked nightclubs.

Not because she was super into dancing or enjoyed throngs of sweaty people. Not even because it was completely socially acceptable to consume excessive amounts of alcohol. Though, it was a nice bonus. What she really liked was the fact that she could be surrounded by people but feel no pressure to converse. Talking was pretty much impossible in these environments. She could have her friends close but, in some ways, also be completely alone. It removed the pressure of having to do anything other than exist. So when her friends had decided to move their little party to this thunderous bass filled, manufactured fog obscured place, she offered no protest.

Tonight was just like many before. She was pacing herself, casually sipping on champagne to keep her compulsive need to do something tactile with her hands at bay. Valentina was safely stowed away on a plush couch in a restricted section of the club. Her ex-boyfriend, Lucho, droned on near her. At this point in their friendship, she was already incredibly mastered at ignoring him for the most part. He was so deep into his drunkenness that she doubts he’ll remember much of anything from tonight, anyway.

The thought crosses Valentina’s mind that if was forced to sit amongst the crowd at the bar, she might feel differently about these places. Her family’s wealth afforded her space and the illusion of privacy, and she was very aware of that fact.

Although she preferred to lay low and withhold from any behavior that gave people the impression she was flaunting her money, she didn’t mind if her friends took advantage of the perks. Sergio was the perfect example of that. She had known the boy for years. His heart typically was in the right place, but he certainly had a knack for luring randoms into their VIP area in an attempt to impress them. Valentina didn’t have much of an issue with it, as long as they behaved.

Valentina spots a couple of her friends out mingling with some gentlemen on the dance floor. They motion for her to join them, but she waves them off. They were used to her desire to sequester herself at these places. With enough alcohol in her system, she could be convinced to join them. Tonight, she was happy to observe their debauchery from a distance. 

Valentina was never as close to her female friends, as she was her male friends. She preferred men for the same reason she likes clubs. For the most part, there was less pressure to connect on any serious level. They offered companionship, but they didn’t need vulnerability from her. The boys would just talk and talk about their own interests or desires or unrealistic expectations. They could go do crazy shit together that her female friends would panic at the idea of.

Lucho was a little bit of the exception. He always wanted more from Valentina than she wanted to give. Their two-year relationship was a roller coaster. Well, it held the promise of a roller coaster, but it always felt a bit more like one of those fair rides that just spins in a circle and uses gravity to pin you to the wall. The first spin is amusing, but by the tenth one you’re mostly just concerned about the state of your internal organs.

“You owe me a dance, chiquita.”

The sound of Sergio’s words pulls her from her thoughts. Valentina watches him lead a young woman out onto the dance floor. Her eyes are then drawn to another woman standing near them that’s watching the pair, as well. The woman’s arms are crossed and the edge of her champagne glass is resting against her lips. She’s watching Sergio and his chiquita walk away. She doesn’t look the least bit forlorn, though. If anything, she seems absolutely unimpressed by the situation she’s found herself in.

Valentina averts her stare, as the woman turns around and makes her way to sit at the other the end of the couch. She glances at her out of the corner of her eye, watching her take sip of her drink and wince in response. She feels her lips twitch up into a small smile.

“Vale?” Lucho slurs out, his voice raising in volume. “Did you hear me?”

“What?” Valentina asks, shaking her head.

“I said, ‘have you seen Damian’s car?’ It’s like he’s just trying to copy me at this point. Like, that cheap imitation is embarrassing. I bet you his doesn’t even 0 to 60 in 8 seconds.”

Valentina raises her eyebrows and nods.

With any luck, Lucho will be on to his next topic soon—not that she even cares. His voice melts into the surrounding noise of the crowd and repetitive booming of the speakers. Valentina takes another sip from her glass and lets her mind drift, again. She finds her eyes being drawn back to the woman at the end of the couch. It’s like her thoughts are strangely tethered to her presence. She watches her for a moment, something pulling at her natural curiosity. The woman seems so disinterested in her surroundings. It was different than the shy or overwhelmed looking people she usually sees by themselves at clubs. This woman doesn’t appear to be intimidated or lacking confidence. Valentina thinks that maybe she’s just a kindred spirit content to be alone, as well.

Her attention bounces between Lucho’s rambling and the woman at the end of the couch. As soon as the woman finishes her drink, Valentina finds herself plucking the bottle from the table and leaning over to refill her glass. When the woman smiles at her in thanks, she feels suddenly transfixed. Her eyes are locked onto the dark ones that stare back at her with a similar intensity.

And, then Lucho is at it again. He’s yelling at Valentina for giving away the champagne that wasn’t really his to begin with. She dismisses him, per usual. It’s enough to send the woman at the end of the couch back into her own little world. And, rightfully so. Valentina would make the same choice, if she didn’t feel this weird sense of obligation to the boy. After all, it was her fault that he was around anyway. Not long after, the woman gets up and leaves the area.

Valentina downs what’s left of her own glass and stares at it disapprovingly. Champagne never did much for her, anyway. She stands up quickly, pushing past Lucho and making her way to the bar. She squeezes through the crowd, focused solely on obtaining something that will make this night better. Her palms slap against the lacquered wooden edge of the bar top, as she establishes her position in the line up. The motion catches the attention of a man near her, and she immediately rolls her eyes shooting him down before he can even speak.

“What can I get you?” the bartender asks, leaning towards her.

“Mezcal,” she answers.

“Shot?”

“Bottle.”

He nods in understanding.

“And, a shot glass,” she calls out to him, as he’s taking the few steps away to fulfill her order.

Valentina returns to her VIP area with a chilled bottle and two shot glasses in her hands. She drops herself unceremoniously back onto the plush couch, setting the items on the narrow table in front of her.

“Don’t open that. We’re going,” Lucho instructs her.

She’s never been one for dealing well with people telling her what to do. And, she’s officially reached the end of her patience with this particular person tonight. Valentina purses her lips, her lower jaw flexing as she shakes her head. She opens the bottle and pours a shot.

“Valentina!” he yells in response. “What did I just tell you?”

She downs the shot quickly, reveling at the feel of the liquid burning her throat and spreading to her stomach. This is the distraction she was looking for.

“I’m not going anywhere,” she states plainly.

“Yes, you are!” Lucho yells, as he hovers over her. His bloodshot eyes and sweaty forehead giving away that he’s far too gone for any rational conversation. “Everyone has already decided we’re going to the party. The car is outside.”

“Then go without me!” Valentina yells back, not looking at him. Her eyes are focused on the task of pouring another shot for herself.

“Why are you being like this? You’re always so difficult!”

“Oh! I’m difficult?”

“Come on!” Lucho says through gritted teeth, reaching out to grab Valentina’s arm.

His grip is strong enough to pull her up from her seat, and she yelps in response. She manages to slip away from his grasp and shove him. He lunges forward, his fists balled in anger. Sergio steps in between them wrapping his arms around Lucho and nudging him backwards.

“Whoa, whoa. Calm down, man,” he pleads.

Sergio glances back over his shoulder to see Valentina standing strong. Her gaze is trained on Lucho and the anger in her eyes is only intensifying.

“Both of you!” he yells.

“I’m not going to the party,” Valentina says in a huff. She drops back down into her seat.

“Fine,” Sergio responds. “That’s fine. Lucho, let’s go.”

Valentina’s ex runs a hand up through his hair and lets out a long breath. He nods in agreement.

“Let me apologize first,” he says quietly to Sergio.

Valentina feels the seat cushion next to her dip, as Lucho sits down gently.

“Vale, I’m sorry,” he offers.

Valentina shakes her head in response, refusing to make eye contact with him at this moment.

“You know I don’t mean anything by it. I just don’t want to leave you like this.”

His voice cracks at the end of his statement, and it’s just enough to make Valentina turn her head. She sees the sad look in his eyes. His lost expression is reminiscent of the vulnerable twelve year old boy she met so many years ago. His brow scrunches in a non-verbal plead for her to join them.

“Not tonight,” Valentina states softly.

His features instantly shift, and Lucho’s eyes flare once again with anger. He stands back up and licks at his lips.

“You never want to do anything!”

Valentina supposes she should be scared, but she finds his meager outbursts sad more than anything. He’s like a little dog, growling and snapping with no intention of doing anything other than putting on what he hopes is an intimidating show. Valentina takes a small sip from her shot glass and stares forward. When Sergio swoops in again and pushes at Lucho, it only slightly registers with her. She’s more interested in the alcohol in her hand. But when the woman from before takes a seat next to her, it registers with her a little more than she expects.

~~~

Chapter Text

Valentina stares out blankly at the crowd of people dancing. The potent alcohol she’s consuming is settling into her system and starting to make her feel numb to her surroundings. Even so, she still can’t help but feel hyper aware of the woman sitting next to her. It reminds her of this one time she sat at a bus stop—the only time, to be honest. She wasn’t waiting for a bus. She was waiting for her driver on the curb when a sudden downpour had compelled her to take cover. She ducked inside a small hut, and there was another person sitting there. They glanced at each other quickly, giving a slight nod of acknowledgment to the current weather predicament they found themselves trapped in. There was no need to force conversation in that moment. They felt no pressure to be anything more than just sharing the mutual need for a respite from the rain.

This moment in the club feels vaguely reminiscent of that rainy bus stop. An element beyond their control was forcing her and this woman into the same space. There was something quite different, though. Valentina can only trace the feeling back to the fact that she hopes when the rain lets up this time that the stranger next to her won’t just disappear.

Before she can stop herself, a question comes tumbling out of her mouth.

“So you’re not going to the party, either?”

A variety of expressions dance across the other woman’s face in an almost comical sequence.

Then she finally answers, “I wasn’t really invited.”

Although the news seems to surprise her as she says the words, the woman doesn’t seem upset by this fact. Valentina finds the general apathy and calmness in her response quite charming. She tries not to indulge in the feeling too deeply and turns her head forward to look at the crowd. She can feel the other woman’s eyes scanning her face, sizing her up in the similar fashion as Valentina was doing to her before. The stare doesn’t feel intrusive. It just feels curious and strangely warm. And, after some brief conversation, Valentina finds herself acquiescing to the woman’s request to dance.

She follows her closely through the droves of people to an open space on the dance floor. Valentina was grateful that she hadn’t just been dragged out here to find some boys to drunkenly rub up against. The woman seems as though she genuinely wants to dance, and Valentina can see why. She has a talent for it and moves easily to the beat of the music.

Valentina stands still, just staring at the woman until she remembers that she’s supposed to be dancing, as well. She closes her eyes and listens intently to the song. She’s not really feeling it, though, and only moves enough to not look completely out of place. When she opens her eyes, she sees the other woman staring at her with a sheepish grin. It makes Valentina feel suddenly self conscious. Her cheeks and neck warm in embarrassment.

“I told you I’m not very good!” she explains. Her voice rising up and giving away her discomfort.

“Valentina,” the woman responds. “You’re fine. Come here.”

Hearing her name on the other woman’s lips works to speed up the heartbeat in Valentina’s chest. Thought and speech seem to have temporarily abandoned her, so she follows the woman’s instructions without question. Valentina’s hands are placed on the other woman’s shoulders and her hands on Valentina’s hips. She begins to move them in sync and Valentina glances down at her feet to make sure she doesn’t step on her dance partner.

When she looks up, she leans in and asks for her name. The woman simply pulls her close and answers, “Juliana” in her ear. Valentina smiles in response.

Juliana wastes no time sliding her hands past Valentina’s hips and settling them against her lower back. The movement pulls them even closer and Valentina can’t help but beam as her eyes bounce from watching her feet to watching the other woman’s sly smile. Valentina laughs lightly as her awkward dancing gives way to a smoother rhythm and she relaxes into the motion. They’re close enough for her to feel Juliana’s breath on her lips and strands of Valentina’s hair brush against her face.

Valentina notices the playful glint in Juliana’s eyes, and she wonders—for a second time this evening—if she’s being flirted with.

Earlier, when they were talking on the couch, Juliana had called her “very charming” and mentioned that she was looking for company tonight. The words were innocent enough, but the way the other woman’s gaze kept dropping to her mouth was distracting to say the least. A light flirtation between new friends wasn’t a foreign concept to Valentina. It was just hard to get a solid read on the other woman in the context of all the alcohol and low lighting.

Valentina quickly decides that it doesn’t really matter. She was having a nice time. And, she couldn’t recall the last time she enjoyed dancing this much. Juliana’s guidance was making it easy for her to relax into the moment. So she does. She lets the other woman establish the pace and the proximity. When Juliana steps back to spin Valentina, she follows her lead and then attempts to copy the other woman’s movements. Of course, Valentina isn’t nearly as coordinated as Juliana and ends up causing the other woman to stumble in her rotation.

Valentina freezes, as she watches Juliana more or less fall into the arms of a gentleman dancing nearby. She can see her offer him a polite smile for his assistance. She momentarily wonders if this fumble will result in the loss of her dancing partner for the evening.

As she examines their interaction, she sees that Juliana’s movement isn’t nearly as loose as before. She looks stiff in the man’s arms. Juliana attempts to retreat, but he only grabs her harder. The action reminds her of Lucho, and Valentina reacts on instinct moving forward to handle the situation. Before she can step in, Juliana pushes at the man’s chest putting some distance between them.

Valentina lets out a breath and drops her shoulders, as the situation seems to be de-escalating. But suddenly the man is moving towards Juliana, again. There’s no hesitation in her reaction this time. She slides up behind Juliana and places her arm protectively around her chest. Juliana moves her hand up to intertwine their fingers, as Valentina’s eyes lock onto the aggressive stranger. She feels the anger rise at his arrogant posturing. Her grip tightens around her new friend, as her stare bores into him.

The soft brush of Juliana’s lips against her cheek catches Valentina off guard. She feels her heart race, as the other woman pushes a little harder letting the kiss linger. Valentina can’t quite tell if she’s blushing, but her face feels overwhelmingly warm at the sudden show of affection. She loses her focus for a moment. As soon as she regains it, she notices the man is retreating.

Valentina turns to look Juliana in the eyes. The minute their gazes meet, they both laugh in response to the situation. The mix of emotions and the resulting adrenaline courses through Valentina’s system, and she feels off kilter. She finds herself drawn to Juliana’s mouth—a familiar tension prickling at her spine. The feeling is unexpected, but not entirely unwelcome.

The noise around them blurs, as the moment hangs between them. Juliana is the first to break their stare with a small shake of her head. She resumes their dancing position from before. Except, this time, she rests her forehead gently against Valentina’s.

They barely make it through one song before Valentina decides that there’s way too many people around for her liking. She wants to be alone with Juliana. The thought insistently pushes against her brain until she verbalizes the request.

~~~

As soon as Valentina indicates that she’s ready to go, Juliana takes her hand and guides her toward the exit. As they step out, the cool night air envelops them. It feels refreshing in contrast to the humid, overheated club. Valentina watches the other woman retrieve a phone from her pocket and begin tapping at the screen.

“What are you doing?” Valentina asks, stepping closer to her.

“Calling an Uber.”

“There’s no need.”

Juliana looks up at her questioningly. Her brow is scrunched ever so slightly in response, and Valentina fights the smile at her lips. She doesn’t want to give away the fact that she thinks Juliana’s current expression is about the cutest thing she’s ever seen.

“I’ve got it handled,” Valentina explains.

She shoots off a quick text to her driver and then glances up. Juliana is staring at her own phone, thumbing through it. Valentina takes the moment to examine the other woman’s face that is lit up from the bright screen below. She has a natural beauty about her that Valentina admires. She wasn’t sure if she had really thought of a woman in this context before. But between Juliana’s flirtatious behavior and her seemingly general disinterest in men this evening, Valentina finds herself considering the attraction.

She glances down at their hands, fingers still intertwined. Valentina takes in a deep breath and gently shakes her hand loose. She brings it up to push a stray strand of hair out of her face.

“So…” she says, drawing the other woman’s attention back up. “You were just meeting up with your cousin tonight?”

“Yes,” Juliana answers, sliding her phone into her pocket. “She was very insistent on getting me out of the house.”

“Are you usually more of a hermit?” Valentina asks, biting lightly at her bottom lip.

Juliana smiles at her in response, her eyes glance away for a moment and then back. She moves her hands into the back pockets of her jeans, as she shifts on her feet. Valentina tilts her head, giving Juliana a small nod of encouragement to reply.

“Occasionally,” she finally states. “I’ve just been in a bit of a funk this week. My pity party was probably becoming a little self indulgent.”

Valentina’s eyebrows raise, and she purses her lips. She recalls Juliana’s words from their conversation on the couch earlier.

“Is it because of the ex that you don’t want to talk about?”

Juliana drops her stare and looks down at her feet.

“It’s just weird when you’re good friends with someone and then suddenly you’re not,” she comments.

Juliana raises her chin, and Valentina can see the light sheen on her eyes. She lets out a small huff and continues.

“I think the alcohol might be making me a little more emotional than usual tonight. It’s not my typical coping mechanism.”

A small, sympathetic pout forms on Valentina’s lips in response.

“Are you drunk?” she asks.

Juliana watches her closely as she shakes her head ‘no.’ A moment of pause falls between them and their eyes connect. Juliana’s jaw flexes ever so slightly, and then she nods. A laugh bubbles up from both of the women in reaction. It’s full and natural, and Valentina feels herself relax at the shared moment.

“A little,” Juliana affirms softly.

The motion of a large, black SUV pulling up to the curb pulls Valentina’s stare away from the other woman. As the car comes to a stop, she grabs the handle to the back door and opens it. She motions for Juliana to get in.

“So what is your typical coping mechanism?” Valentina asks.

“Ice cream,” Juliana responds quickly, as she slides into the back seat.

Valentina nods to herself and then climbs in to join her.

~~~

Valentina stares forward, looking out the front window of the SUV as it rolls along with the quiet late night traffic. She catches her driver’s eyes in the rear view mirror, and they smile at each other warmly. He returns his focus to the road, and Valentina looks over at Juliana. The other woman’s head is resting back against the seat and her eyes are shut. Valentina glances down at her hand that is on Juliana’s leg. The tip of her middle finger circles the top of the other woman’s mid thigh and then slides slowly down towards Juliana’s inseam.

At first, it was an absentminded gesture. Her foggy mental state and her restless hands had worked together to find something to keep her busy. She just didn’t expect that distraction to be a suggestive massage of her new friend’s leg. Her touch was light and non intrusive, though. Juliana seems comfortable with the caress so she continues, as she watches the passing street lights out the window.

Valentina wasn’t entirely sure what her plan was here. She thought if she could just get them home, then she could figure out what exactly it was she was intending to do. She had only had a few one night stands in her life. There was a time after she broke up with Lucho that she had partied a little too hard in an attempt to make sure there wasn’t anything she had missed out on during their relationship. She was always very into the idea of new experiences. They held a special excitement. But a couple random hookups was enough to teach her that they mostly just involved unsatisfying experiences and ended in awkward, headache-filled mornings.

The memories start to sober Valentina a little to the idea of bringing Juliana home. Perhaps, it wasn’t the best decision. But a strong curiosity fills her with the confidence to stick with it.

She had gay acquaintances, both male and female. But not any close friends, unfortunately. This was uncharted territory. Although, she found that it wasn’t really the exoticness that excited her. It was actually just Juliana. Her touch, her eyes, and her smell were all things that appealed to Valentina on an instinctual level. The idea didn’t feel as experimental, as it just felt indulgent. Like an overly decadent dessert that she would allow herself this one time.

The car pulls to a stop outside her condo, and Valentina returns her eyes to her hand still on the other woman’s thigh.

“I should have asked you this before, but did you want to be taken home?”

Valentina poses the question and thens swallows thickly. She catches Juliana’s eyes flutter open in her periphery. She takes in a quick breath in an attempt to steel her nerves, and then continues.

“Or, do you want to come up?”

Valentina’s gaze moves up to connect with Juliana’s. She watches the other woman’s chest rise and fall with deep breaths. Juliana’s eyes are wide and filled with wonder. Then they shift and suddenly fill with panic.

Fuck. Valentina had read this all wrong.

“I was thinking we could just have some water and talk. You mentioned that you wanted company,” Valentina back-peddles immediately. She certainly didn’t want this if Juliana wasn’t interested. “I didn’t mean like…”

“Yeah. I didn’t think you meant that. I just—“

Valentina’s heart drops a little, as she anticipates Juliana’s next words. She’s not so much mortified by her suggestive behavior. She just feels a genuine sadness at the idea that she ruined her chances of spending anymore time with the other woman tonight. Every interaction they’ve had flashes before Valentina’s eyes, and she starts to question her understanding. Then Juliana’s words stop the spiraling anxiety.

“Let’s go up.”

Valentina feels the sudden swell of heat across her chest and face. A small smile forms on her lips, as she opens the car door for them to exit.

~~~

Chapter Text

Soft, warm puffs of air dance over Valentina’s lips. Juliana’s forehead is pressed tightly against hers, as they both work to settle their racing hearts and taxed lungs. The women are laying on their sides, with their bare bodies stretched out along the length of the couch. Their intertwined legs and flush torsos are covered in a light sheen of sweat. Juliana’s hand is resting on the side of Valentina’s long neck. Their heads are propped up, sharing one of the colorful throw pillows on her sofa.

Valentina listens as Juliana’s breathing gradually evens out. The other woman’s body relaxes in her arms, and she holds her firmly. Valentina glances up at the ceiling. Her mind feels blissfully, completely blank.

Her eyes flutter, and she takes in a deep breath. This is typically about the time she starts to figure out an elegant path to slip away to her own bed. She turns her head to the side, resting her lips against Juliana’s forehead right at the hair line. Oddly, the heated body against hers is not making her feel the least bit claustrophobic. A small sigh escapes her mouth. She knows she’ll rest better if she leaves, though.

Valentina reluctantly untangles their limbs, careful to not disturb the slumbering woman. She’s thankful that she’s on the open side of the couch so she can discreetly roll away. Her feet touch down on the floor and she stands carefully. She takes a moment to stabilize, as she still feels a little unbalanced from everything. Valentina pauses and glances around the room. She spots a folded blanket draped across the back of her living room chair. She moves over to retrieve it—grabbing the side and letting the rest drop to extend out fully. Valentina returns to the couch and places the cover gently over Juliana’s body. She watches as the other woman shifts and settles deeper into the cushions.

She doesn’t entirely understand why her legs seem frozen in place. This part should be easy. She should retire to her bedroom to brush her teeth, pull on an oversized t-shirt, and slide into her cool silk sheets. Valentina is feeling plenty sated and sleepy, so the hesitation she’s experiencing now doesn’t quite make sense. Juliana lets out a small content sigh, and Valentina immediately smiles in response. She examines the other woman closely, her gaze drifting over her face. Juliana’s long, dark lashes twitch a little in her sleep, and her lips part ever so slightly. She looks peaceful.

Valentina lets out a breath of her own. She knows exactly why she’s still standing here awkwardly in nothing but her birthday suit. It may be a new feeling, but there’s no point in denying it. Valentina doesn’t want to leave. She wants to be next to Juliana.

Before she can change her mind, Valentina moves forward to slide her slim frame between the other woman and the back of the couch. As she settles down, she adjusts the blanket moving her body underneath to spoon Juliana from behind. Her head drops to the pillow she was on before.

The sensation of their naked skin against each others inspires a sudden tightness in her chest. She drapes her arm over Juliana’s waist, pulling the other woman tighter and eliminating any remaining distance. She closes her eyes, and her mind begins to drift.

Things had been so unsure when they first arrived at her condo earlier. The ride over seemed to be pushing things in one direction, and then Valentina had made it uncomfortable by being too forward in her invitation. When they settled on her couch with their shared bottle of water and a telenovela on the tv, she really did think that the evening would only amount to some friendly conversation and a mutual parting. But then Juliana’s hand found its way to her bare leg. The other woman’s fingertips lightly circled the inside of her thigh, and it broke Valentina in a million beautiful ways.

As she caressed her, Juliana stayed focused on excitedly explaining the plot of the tv show they were watching. Valentina knew on some level that the woman had no clue what she was doing. The rush of excitement, heat, and dampness that her touch was causing had been just too overwhelming for Valentina to ignore. It typically took a lot more effort to get her worked up to the point she had found herself quickly slipping towards. The warmth that settled low and the pulsing she could feel under every inch of her skin, made her unusually bold. When her request to kiss Juliana was finally returned with a firm press of soft lips to her own, Valentina’s resolve completely cracked.

It was all so quick after that. A heated make out session turned into a handsy grinding. Her shirt was removed. Juliana’s mouth worked hungrily at her breasts. She couldn’t recall the exact moment she mounted Juliana, but she could remember with unbelievable clarity begging the other woman to touch her intimately. Once they crossed that line, it was just a frenzied, soaked race to the finish line. The only thought that filled her brain after her amazing orgasm was that she had discovered some rare, brilliant thing that she wanted to share with Juliana immediately. 

So she did.

The women had rushed to remove the rest of their clothing. Valentina slipped her skirt and underwear quickly down her hips, while Juliana took off her jeans. The other woman had paused momentarily when Valentina stood completely bare before her. Then, like a switch had been flipped, her eyes lit up and she pulled off her own shirt and bra. Valentina slid back onto the couch and reconnected their lips. They kissed each other thoroughly, as Valentina lowered them down on the cushions. Their open mouths stayed connected, as they settled their completely naked bodies against each other for the first time.

Valentina felt a desperate need to touch Juliana everywhere. She pressed in, pushing her thigh between the other woman’s legs as she pinned her against the back of the couch. Juliana responded instantly, moving her hips against her. She was already so warm and slick, and Valentina’s mind almost completely short circuited at the sensation.

Valentina pulled her torso back just enough to run her fingers down Juliana’s collarbone to her chest. She stopped at her breasts, letting her thumbs circle her nipples. Juliana moaned at the touch, and it encouraged Valentina’s attention. She felt her mouth salivate at the thought, so she quickly dipped her head down to work at the stiff peaks with her lips and tongue. She had taken her time, sucking and licking at the flesh—leaving small pink marks in her wake.

Her hands slid down, gripping at Juliana’s hips. Their continued grinding was steady and aggressive. The strained sounds bubbling up from Juliana’s throat indicated that she was fast progressing towards her release. Valentina separated them just enough to get a hand in between her thigh and Juliana. She wanted her touch to be more targeted than just the broad push of her leg. She worked to gather Juliana’s wetness on her fingertips and then slid them up to put pressure where the other woman needed it most.

“What do you want?” Valentina had asked her in a whisper, as she panted.

“Qué?” Juliana had responded immediately.

Her breaths were ragged and brow was scrunched at the sudden question. Juliana’s hand moved up to cup her jaw. A smile played at Valentina’s lips.

“I’ll do whatever you want,” Valentina clarified. “Just tell me what feels good.”

Juliana nodded in understanding, as Valentina’s fingers continued to stroke her. The other woman moved to connect their lips, again. Her tongue slipped deeply into Valentina’s mouth, and then she backed just a millimeter away.

“I like…” she said and paused against Valentina’s lips. “I liked being inside of you.”

Valentina closed her eyes and whimpered softly at her confession. She nuzzled her cheek harder into Juliana’s hand. The other woman pressed her thumb against Valentina’s parted lips in response. She opened her mouth at the touch and turned her head so she could take the digit in deeper. Her soft, wet tongue slid under the pad of Juliana’s thumb. She suckled at it lightly at first and then with more pressure. She opened her eyes to see Juliana staring intently at her mouth. Juliana retracted her thumb and caressed Valentina’s jawline.

Their movement stilled, as their eyes locked onto each other. Their shared deep breaths hung between them—the intensity building rapidly. Juliana ever so slowly moved her index and middle fingers to Valentina’s lips. Valentina kept her eyes fixed on Juliana’s, as she adjusted her angle so she could fully take the other woman’s fingers into her mouth. She flattened her tongue to make space for them, as Juliana pushed deeper.

Valentina simultaneously moved her hand against Juliana’s wet center and lowered her jaw to set a sucking rhythm with her mouth. Juliana’s eyes fluttered and a ripple of pleasure shook through her chest. She moved her hips and fingers in time with Valentina’s motion.

What had started slowly, quickly returned to their previous thundering pace. Except, this time, the women struggled to look away from each other. Their gazes stayed locked as they moved perfectly in sync. The mix of sensations overwhelmed Juliana. She finally had to forfeit the eye contact, as her brow knitted and her head pushed back into the cushions behind her. Valentina watched the column of muscle in front of her stretch and strain as the Juliana cried out in pleasure.

Valentina feels the other woman shift against her, and it pulls her back into the present. She takes in some breaths to calm her pulse, as she eyes the sleeping woman in her arms. Juliana pushes her backside tighter into Valentina’s hips, and she bites at her bottom lip to suppress a small moan. If it wasn’t for the alcohol and the fact that she was genuinely tired, Valentina was unsure she’d be able to sleep tonight—not with Juliana so close.

After a deep, calming breath and a few quiet minutes, she finally slips under.

~~~

Valentina slowly opens her eyes. Her vision is blurred but acute enough to register that there is way too much sunlight in the room for her liking. She lets out a soft groan, as she brings her hand up to shield her eyes. Valentina reaches out blindly, confirming her suspicions that she is now alone on the couch. Her heart races at the thought of Juliana possibly somewhere in her home, and she focuses her ears listening for the other woman. She can hear the soft sounds of traffic on the street below, but everything else seems eerily quiet.

“Ay, Valentina,” she says softly to herself, rolling to her back.

She takes a moment and then moves to sit upright. Her muscles feel stiff, as she adjusts her position. Valentina stands and makes her way across her living room, through her bedroom and into the adjoining bathroom. She uses the facilities and then retrieves some Ibuprofen from the medicine cabinet. Part of her was hoping that she’d find Juliana somewhere on her path and part of her is thankful to not have to make conversation in her state.

Valentina returns to the couch, and plops down heavily. She opens her clinched fist to look down at the three small pills in her hand. Then her chin lifts up, as she searches for the bottle of water they left on the coffee table last night. When she spots it, her head tilts ever so slightly to the side as she examines it.

The bottle is full. That’s not how she remembers leaving things.

She watches as a water droplet collects, finally becoming heavy enough for gravity to send it tumbling down the side. The condensation gives away the fact that this bottle has recently been retrieved from her refrigerator. She swallows thickly at the implication.

Valentina blinks her eyes rapidly and then moves forward to pick up the bottle. Her hand applies pressure, twisting the plastic cap to break the seal. The stuttered snapping sound echoes in the empty room. She quickly downs the medication with a large drink of water. She rests the bottle on her knee. The contrast of the cold, wet plastic bites a little against her warm flesh.

She stares forward blankly for a moment and then raises the bottle to her lips. Her dry eyes suddenly sting with the threat of tears. Valentina focuses on the cool water moving down her throat. She gulps at it greedily, desperate for any sensation to distract her. Only when the need for air becomes overwhelming does she break the bottle away from her lips. She pulls in a few deep breaths in response, and wipes at the excess water around her mouth.

Valentina stands up quickly and walks over to the tall windows in her living room. She grabs the edge of the drapes, sliding them closed and blocking out the strong light that fills the room. She finishes off the bottle of water, as she makes her way over the kitchen island. She retrieves her phone from the surface, where she had left it to charge last night, and heads directly back to the couch.

She slides back down onto the cushions and pulls the blanket over herself in a huff. As she settles, she takes in a deep breath. The smell of Juliana still clings to her hand and her cover. She closes her eyes tightly, feeling a few hot tears on her cheeks

No. She’s not doing this. She’s not crying over a one night stand.

Valentina adjusts, letting out another breath. Her mind settles and everything goes black, again.

~~~

The repetitive ring of Valentina’s phone blares out into the low lit room. It sounds distant at first, like a strangely placed noise in a dream. The ring becomes steadily clearer and clearer until Valentina registers that it’s really happening. She opens her eyes, scanning the table next to her for the device. She picks it up quickly and pulls it to her ear.

“What?” she answers, grumpily.

“Vale, where the hell are you?” her brother Guille ask.

“Oh, god,” Valentina groans, as she struggles to sit up. “I’m sorry.”

“We’ve been waiting for you for over half an hour.”

“I said I’m sorry.”

“Are you bailing on us, again?” he questions, his voice sounding more like a statement.

“No, no,” she apologies. “I just overslept. I’ll head down there.”

Valentina pushes the blanket off of her and groggily rises to her feet. She takes two steps forward and immediately stops in her tracks when her big toe slams into the leg of the coffee table.

“Ah. Motherfu—“

“Hey, Vale,” her brother says, interrupting her. “Are you ok?”

The honest concern in his voice makes her pause. Between the pain in her toe and in the angst in her heart, she’s feeling more vulnerable than she cares for at the moment.

“I’m fine,” she states, in her best attempt to be an adult about all this.

“Hermanita,” Guille responds softly.

Valentina lets out a long breath and begins carefully walking towards her bedroom.

“Yeah. I’m just having a rough morning.”

“Afternoon,” he replies quickly.

“What?”

“It’s like 1:30 pm.” A few seconds of silence falls between them and then he continues. “We’ll talk about it later, yeah?”

“Yes,” she acquiesces.

“Alright. I’ll send the car,” he replies. “See you soon.”

Valentina hangs up and drops her phone on her bed. She runs her hand up through her hair, pushing it away from her face. She wants to just crawl under the covers and hide for a bit, but she made her brother a promise. She shakes her head, as she steps into her bathroom for a quick shower.

~~~

Chapter Text

Valentina lets out a long breath, as she slowly walks along the city sidewalk. The mid afternoon sun is reflecting off the mirrored windows of the high-rise buildings that line the street. Her arms are crossed in front of her and she scuffs her feet lightly, as the group makes their way from her condo. Guille and his fiancé, Renata, are chatting behind her. They’re bantering about the usual topics—couple stuff, like dinner plans and chores. She’s typically much more engaged in their conversations, but today she’s unable to find the energy. It’s been the same problem for the last four days since the night club.

She’s struggling to get that night out of her head. It plays over and over again—the things she said, the things she did. It’s like her brain is trying to reassemble all the pieces to figure out the perfect scenario that would have resulted in her not waking up alone. She can’t stop thinking about Juliana. This had never happened before. She had never been so obsessed with someone she knew so little about.

Valentina knows exactly where she went wrong that evening. She should have done the responsible thing. She should have just asked for Juliana’s number and had her driver take her home. But, it was that one pause. It was that one small misstep. She invited Juliana upstairs, and she ruined any chance of this playing out any other way. She didn’t blame the other woman for taking off. She wonders if its just karma for having done the same before.

What gets to her, though, is that damn full water bottle. When she closes her eyes, she keeps seeing it sitting so invasively on her coffee table. She can’t help but feel it would make things easier if Juliana had just slipped out that morning without leaving it for her. It served as this sign that she cared. It kept this sliver of hope alive in Valentina’s chest. It was very annoying.

“Vale,” she hears her brother call out. She glances back at him, as the group continues walking. “Will you please tell Renata that folding a t-shirt quickly is more complicated than it looks?” Renata starts to respond and then is cut off abruptly as he continues. “And, that years of training from early childhood have skewed her interpretation of her skills in that area.”

Valentina keeps her stare forward. She shakes her head dismissively.

“I think,” Renata replies and then pauses, laughing at him. “I think you just need to admit that you’re not naturally gifted in this department and that it has absolutely nothing to do with your upbringing.”

“Oh, I see,” Guille comments sarcastically. “The logical conclusion is just that I’m untalented.”

Valentina looks back over her shoulder at his remark. She raises her eyebrow to indicate that she agrees with his statement.

“No, babe. You’re totally capable of learning,” his fiancée reassures him. “You just need to practice. Like, this week, you’ll fold all of our laundry.”

The pair go quiet behind Valentina, and she stops for a moment to wait for them.

“I don’t think either of us want that,” Guille states flatly.

Renata grabs his chin, and looks him dead in the eyes. They both break out in laughter, as they shake their head in affirmation.

Valentina watches them for a moment, a small smirk playing at her lips. They’re cute. She’ll give them that. Where that usually is not a problem, it’s not her favorite thing to witness right now. It makes her feel lonely in a way that she hasn’t felt in years. She looks down at her feet for a second and then back up. She continues leading their trek from her condo to the nearby cafe. What she really needs right now is caffeine. She’s convinced that will make everything better.

“Hey, princess grumpy. Are you going to pout the whole time, or are you actually going to talk to us?” Guille asks, as he moves closer behind her.

“Back off,” Renata replies quickly. Her tone is even and protective. “Vale just got her heart broken.”

Valentina rolls her eyes at the comment and quickly turns on her heel to face them.

“My heart is not broken,” she responds.

They both stare at her skeptically. Guille sidesteps her to open the door to the cafe. He grabs the handle and then pauses.

“Right. I think you’re just stuck in your head secretly hoping that you’ll run into your Prince Charming, again.”

He pulls the door open quickly and nods to the side as an indication for Valentina to go ahead. Her eyes stay locked to his and she steps blindly towards the threshold. She doesn’t make it two steps before she finds herself bumping shoulders with someone heading out of the door. She jumps back in surprise the moment they make contact.

“Whoa! Sorry about that,” Guille offers, as soon as he witnesses the collision.

Valentina glances over at him disapprovingly and then back to apologize to the person she ran into. When her eyes take in the woman before her, Valentina freezes perfectly still.

The direct sunlight in Juliana’s eyes is delaying the recognition. Valentina swallows thickly and her heart pounds in her ears. She swears she can hear a click when the other woman finally realizes exactly who it is that she bumped in to.

“Hi,” Valentina says, the greeting barely squeaking out of her throat.

“Sorry,” Juliana responds.

The word is just a whisper on her lips. It echoes in Valentina’s head, and she realizes how deeply she wishes it was an apology for something else. What surprises her most, is that the look in Juliana’s eyes seems to indicate that she understands that desire. It doesn’t take more than a few silent seconds for the pull between them to return.

“Do you know each other?” she hears her brother ask, breaking their staring contest.

“Yes! This is my friend…”

Valentina feels the panic rise quickly and intensely in her chest.

Juliana. This is her friend, Juliana. She knows the answer to this, but her anxiety is jumbling up everything in her brain. She suddenly feels unsure that she could even correctly answer what two plus two equals.

Thankfully, the other woman grants her reprieve by mercifully finishing her sentence. Juliana glances at her, with a playful smirk. Valentina introduces her brother and Renata. It’s the least she can do. Then she hears Guille inviting Juliana to join them today, and she swears she’s never felt this level of downright terror and absolute hope in her life before.

They all start talking. Guille and Renata are making polite conversation with Juliana. They’re joking about work and the cookies they promised to bake. Valentina is picking up on words here and there, but she’s still struggling to keep everything together. It all seems like a weird fever dream. I mean, what is Juliana even doing here? Had Valentina finally lost it, and she was hallucinating this? She thought the other woman was for sure supposed to be somewhere back in Texas by now.

“So you’ll join us?” Guille asks her.

He’s looking at Juliana with his most charming puppy dog expression. Juliana’s not falling for it, though. She’s clearly prepping to let him down easy. The idea of the other woman disappearing again fills Valentina with such an enormous foreboding regret. She has to try. She has to at least attempt to get her number or something. She can’t continue to just run on autopilot, standing here awkwardly like misplaced lawn furniture scattered in a storm.

Valentina reaches out, gently touching Juliana’s wrist. The excitement fills her chest. She gives it her best effort. At the very least, she has to let the other woman know that she wants her around.

“No pressure,” she says softly. “But I’d like it if you could.”

~~~

Chapter Text

“I hope this is ok,” Guille says softly, as he places his jacket on one of the pegs by the front door.

Valentina is standing in the foyer next to her brother. She shifts on her feet, as she watches Renata and Juliana walk through her living room towards the kitchen. She keeps her eyes on the women for as long as possible and only turns her head to give Guille an incredulous look in response.

“You’ve been down here lately,” he explains, his hands raising in defense. “I thought having a friend around would help. I know it’s usually not a problem, but maybe it would alleviate any third wheel feelings.”

Valentina narrows her eyes at him and then softens her expression. She’s still not sure if she should slap him or thank him for inviting Juliana to join them. She figures only time will tell. Either way, she really does believe he meant no harm. She’s also pretty sure its yet to dawn on him exactly how she knows the other woman. Valentina starts to walk away but pauses mid step. She smacks Guille’s arm lightly, just in case this turns out to be a terrible idea. He flinches in mock pain, as he fights a smile.

Renata is standing in the kitchen chatting away, as she pulls items from the grocery bags. Valentina approaches quietly. She watches Juliana, her eyes bright and attentive as she leans against the counter listening. Juliana’s hair is pulled back in a high pony tail, and Valentina notices a few tendrils are loose and brushing against her defined jaw.

“My work does this charity event for foster children,” Renata explains. “It’s like this ‘bake sale’ sort of thing where they can get involved.”

Juliana nods and pushes away from the counter. She reaches up and opens a couple cabinet doors. She finally spots what she’s looking for and pulls down a large mixing bowl. Juliana walks over to Renata, placing the bowl next to the ingredients on the counter.

“Thanks,” Renata says quickly. She offers a small smile and continues. “It’s mostly just a bunch of rich people getting drunk and paying exorbitant prices for homemade cookies.”

“Sounds fun.”

“It really isn’t,” Valentina says, inserting herself into the conversation.

Juliana offers her a closed-mouth smile, as she watches Valentina slide up next to her.

“It’s actually pretty condescending. These poor kids go through enough, and they’re making them hock cookies to rich people just so the old fogies can feel good about pretending to care. They could just sign a check in the privacy of their own homes, but everyone wants to make a show of it.”

Renata rolls her eyes playfully in response.

“It’s not that bad,” she defends. “Valentina has just spent too much time with the ‘old fogies.’”

“You mean, I know all the terrible things they’ve done.”

“But we’re still doing this, right?” Renata questions.

There’s a small pause and then Valentina reluctantly nods. Renata scans her phone for a minute and then sets it down on the counter next to them.

“Recipe is on there,” she says and then turns around. “You two can get started while I figure out this contraption.”

Valentina and Juliana glance at each other, as the sound of electronic beeps echoes through the space. Renata is punching at buttons on the double convection ovens. Valentina picks up the phone and reads the ingredients quickly. She has no idea what she’s doing, but that’s never stopped her before. She looks up from the device in her hand to see her brother being as useful as ever. He’s sitting on one of the tall chairs on the other side of the kitchen island thumbing through his phone.

Juliana is standing close to her, carefully pulling open a bag of flour. She then grabs a measuring cup and drops a few scoops into the mixing bowl.

Valentina lets out a small breath. Her mind is bouncing between measuring ingredients and trying to find something to talk to Juliana about that doesn’t involve her just blurting the question, “why did you leave?” She turns the spoon in her hand, letting the salt fall onto the flour in the bowl.

“Oh, wait,” she hears Juliana say suddenly.

“What?”

“That’s the salt?”

“Yeah.”

“It’s only supposed to be one teaspoon.”

“Right,” Valentina replies. “I only put one.”

“Teaspoon,” Juliana states plainly, lowering her chin and making direct eye contact.

Valentina shrugs and her eyebrows raise in question.

“That’s a tablespoon,” Juliana explains.

Valentina glances down at the measuring tool in her hand. Her head tilts, as she examines the uppercase ’T’ on the handle. Her gaze drifts up slowly. When their eyes meet, they both let out a small laugh.

“I can fix it,” Juliana whispers, as she pulls the bowl over in front of her.

Valentina offers her a warm smile in thanks and she responds with her own. The seconds stretch between them, as they drift closer. Neither of them are interested in looking away.

“Fix what?” Renata asks.

Her sudden presence startles them both and the women move back in response. Valentina turns around quickly, using her slight frame to shield the counter from Renata.

“Nothing,” she replies curtly.

Renata raises her eyebrow in response. Valentina peers quickly over her shoulder to see Juliana delicately scooping up the small area where the salt had already mixed with the flour. The other woman pokes at Valentina’s arm to signal she’s all done. Valentina relaxes and steps to the side, as Renata moves forward. Her eyes scan the counter.

“Vale used the tablespoon instead of the teaspoon, didn’t she?”

Juliana coughs lightly, as she shifts under Renata’s gaze.

“I can neither confirm or deny that, but I will say we’re ready to add the rest of the ingredients.”

“Oh, no. Don’t do that, Juliana,” Renata states plainly. “You’ll spend a lifetime covering for her, if you start now.”

Valentina can see the pink flush form on Juliana’s cheeks.

“I wouldn’t mind,” she whispers to Valentina, moving to lean against the counter opposite of her.

Valentina looks down shyly for a second and then brings her head up when Juliana speaks, again.

“Where are the baking trays?” she asks.

Valentina points to the drawer just below the ovens, and she nods in understanding. As Juliana bends over, Valentina turns around quickly to avert her gaze. She’d like to pretend that she has enough self control to not ogle the other woman, but their time together so far is proving otherwise.

She shakes her head a little, attempting to focus on helping with the task at hand. Valentina didn’t feel like she really needed the confirmation, but if she did, it was becoming very clear that any concern she may have had that her attraction to Juliana was only a one time, alcohol fueled thing was completely unfounded.

She pulls at the sides of the thin plastic bag that holds the chocolate chips, tearing it open at the seam. She then looks over at Renata expectantly.

“We need two cups of those.”

Valentina nods and begins pouring them into the bowl with the flour.

“Here we are,” Juliana states.

Her words draw Valentina’s attention up. She watches Juliana closely, as she sets the baking trays on the counter and then pushes the loose tendrils of hair back from her face. The sleeves on Juliana’s shirt are rolled up, and Valentina eyes follow the muscles in her forearms as they flex slightly at the motion.

“Valentina!”

Renata’s voice brings her attention back. Valentina looks down at the way too many chocolate chips now piled in the bowl. She sets the bag down on the counter with a small plop. Her mouth hangs open, disappointed at her second error so early in this baking adventure.

“You know,” Renata comments, as she begins plucking the chocolate chips from the flour and placing them in a smaller bowl by themselves. “Everyone has something different to offer. Like, your brother there will be ordering and picking up dinner for us when we’re ready.”

Valentina glances at him. His focus is still on his phone, but he raises his hand to his temple to salute Renata’s words.

“Maybe you could help with the washing,” she continues. “We only have these three trays, so we’ll need to keep them clean.”

Valentina pouts in response, her hands moving to her hips. Juliana steps up next to her, placing her arm around Valentina’s shoulders.

“Don’t be sad,” she says, her grip tightening a little in comfort. “At least, she’s letting you stay in the kitchen.”

~~~

Valentina places the last few cookies left on the cooling rack into a tupperware container. She scans the counter top, finding the matching lid and seals them carefully. Renata is washing up their dishes from dinner, and Juliana’s drying them while they talk. There’s been something strangely domestic about the whole afternoon. A small breath escapes Valentina’s lips. Juliana seems to be fitting in so seamlessly, and it’s doing nothing to calm her growing obsession.

Valentina feels a tap on her shoulder and turns around to see Guille standing there. He nods his head to the side, motioning for her to follow him. The siblings step away quietly towards the front door of her condo. Once they’re just out of view behind the foyer wall, her brother moves in close.

“Why didn’t you tell me that that’s who you slept with?” he asks in a whisper.

The baffled expression on his face is almost enough to make Valentina laugh. When Juliana made the comment earlier about them not doing much talking the other night, and it finally clicked with Guille how they knew each other, she thought her poor brother was going to keel over.

The moment quickly shifts from humorous to tense, as Valentina goes to answer his question. She feels her heart pound in her chest.

“I was unsure of how’d you react,” she says timidly, as she bites at the corner of her lip.

He watches her for a moment, his dark eyes unreadable. His brow then softens, as he starts to realize just how nervous Valentina is sharing this news.

“Hey,” he says gently. “There’s nothing wrong with it.”

Guille reaches out, rubbing her shoulder. Valentina finally starts to relax a little and lets out a shaky breath. Her brother’s eyes become inquisitive, and she watches him hesitate before his next words.

“Have you always been into women?”

“This is the first one,” Valentina admits quickly.

He offers her a small smile in response.

“Well, first of all, you have excellent taste. And, second, I’m guessing it went well."

Valentina feels a sudden heat warm her neck and cheeks. She purses her lips and looks away in embarrassment.

“I’m just so confused,” she states, as she shakes her head lightly. “You don’t even want to see my search history from the day after it happened.”

“I’m pretty sure I do,” Guille replies.

“Don’t be a pervert.”

“Sorry. I was joking. It’s just. You could have told me that she was the one—“

“I thought you would have put the pieces together when she mentioned the night club,” Valentina whispers, her hands extending out with her palms up.

“I didn’t—“

The sentence suddenly dies on Guille’s lips, as the line of his gaze moves behind Valentina. She doesn’t even need to turn around. She knows Juliana is standing there. Her brother glances at her and offers a sheepish grin. Valentina winces and turns around slowly. She has no clue how much of that conversation Juliana had been privy to. Before she has a chance to make it super awkward, Juliana steps forward handing the stacked containers full of cookies to Guille.

“Renata will be here in a second. She just needed to run to the bathroom first.”

“Cool,” Guille replies.

Valentina rolls her eyes at him. She knows she’s not the smoothest, but her brother seems downright hopeless sometimes.

Thankfully, Renata shows up suddenly and distracts everyone from attempting to address the prior conversation. Guille and her say their good byes, and Renata promises to fill her in later on the event. Valentina watches them make their way down the hallway. She waves at the couple as they disappear onto the elevator, and then closes her front door.

Valentina’s chest fills with excitement at the idea of finally being alone with Juliana, again. When she turns back around and they make eye contact, the feeling in her limbs suddenly abandons her. She fights to keep herself standing upright.

“So, we should probably talk,” Juliana states.

The other woman’s expression looks nervous but hopeful, and Valentina calms a little at the sight. She watches Juliana walk into the living room and sit down on the couch. Valentina takes a small detour to retrieve her drink from the kitchen island before joining the other woman. She sips at her wine, as she settles in next to her. Then she places her glass on the coffee table.

They just watch each other for a moment. Valentina knows how much is fluttering through her mind. She can only imagine what Juliana must be thinking. Valentina had always been fairly good with words. She could form a solid argument and convince people of things pretty easily. She was fine at small talk and even deeper conversations, when she wanted to be. Something about Juliana’s presence left her transfixed—made her feel like words wouldn’t be a sufficient enough form of communication. She had watched her friends stumble and go quiet around people they liked. It made Valentina curious if maybe she had just never genuinely experienced attraction before.

“This is weird,” Juliana says, as a small nervous laugh escapes from her throat.

Valentina only nods in response. Her tongue slips out to lick at her bottom lip. She then scrapes her top teeth against it slowly, as she tilts her head to the side.

“I’m glad we ran into you,” she states.

“Me, too,” Juliana responds softly.

Valentina can feel her chest rising and falling deeply with each breath. Their eyes are locked onto each others. The sound of rain starting to patter lightly against the outside windows just barely registers in Valentina’s ears. The women move towards each other slowly. She glances down at Juliana’s parted lips and then reaches out to gently run her fingers along the other woman’s jawline.

“This couch is nothing but trouble for us,” Juliana whispers, her eyes refusing to break contact with Valentina’s.

“Oh. You’re going to blame the couch?” Valentina asks facetiously. “Not the fact that you had your lips wrapped around my fingertips earlier.”

“You were the one that insisted I eat the chocolate chip.”

“Right,” Valentina says quickly and then leans in.

Her lips meet Juliana’s softly and she sighs ever so slightly at the contact. They shift their bodies towards each others, and Valentina’s hand slips down to Juliana’s neck. She uses the leverage to pull the other woman closer and deepen the kiss. Valentina’s head swims at the sensation. It was like she was lost at sea on a beautiful warm summer day. The natural ebb and flow of their lips against each others feels like floating along in the gentle swells of the waves.

Part of her felt so dumb for romanticizing their kisses. She couldn’t help it, though. Juliana’s lips massage against hers in a way that evokes something deeper. It was a brand new feeling and one she had no concern losing herself in. The stroke of the other woman’s tongue against her own quickly elicits the other feeling that dominates when Juliana is so close. Desire rises quickly in her veins, and the excitement and heat begins building between them.

~~~

Chapter Text

“Let’s go to the bedroom.”

The suggestion rolls from Valentina’s lips. She’s laying on top of Juliana on the couch, placing kisses along her mouth and chin. Their legs are intertwined and bodies pressed tight, as they move rhythmically against each other.

Just ten minutes ago, they were sitting a polite distance finally discussing the topic that had been weighing on Valentina’s mind all afternoon. Juliana had pulled back from their previous make out session and apologized for disappearing the other morning. Her reason was pretty much what Valentina had suspected. Juliana had woken up feeling confused about what to do, panicked a little and left. She had no intention of making Valentina feel unwanted—it wasn’t like that. She was just unsure of how to handle things and decided it was best to just go. Valentina had told her that she understood her decision.

It didn’t exactly erase the pain of being left, but it did work to soothe the feeling of being rejected. Although, Valentina was ready to forgive the other woman of almost anything if it meant that she would place her lips against hers, again.

It would have been easy for them to have just used each other the other night. They both clearly were in need of something and, for whatever reason, seemed capable of giving it to each other. But where Valentina’s encounters with previous partners had always been somewhat rushed and self-focused, with Juliana there was a natural calmness and compassion. Everything about Juliana felt soft and warm. Even though their first time was a bit of a hurried experience, it still felt like a genuine connection that came with the desire to make the other person feel good.

Both women had seemed satisfied with their first go around, but it didn’t stop the lingering worry that there was more Valentina could have done. Having never previously considered being with a woman, her search for information after their encounter had started off as general curiosity. As she got deeper into the topic, her mind filled with possibilities of what could have been. Now that fate had brought Juliana back into her world, she didn’t want to miss her second chance at giving the other woman everything.

“I want to go down on you,” Valentina whispers, against Juliana’s lips.

She hears the other woman hum and feels her mouth turn up into a lazy smile as they kiss.

“Is that something you like to do?” the other woman asks in return.

It wasn’t a reply that Valentina was expecting, and it takes a moment for the intent of the question to settle in her brain.

“Isn’t that something you want me to do?”

She asks the question, as she moves her mouth down to Juliana’s neck. Her lips latch onto her pulse point, and she sucks gently at the skin. She can feel the other woman’s throat move as she swallows.

“I don’t know.”

Juliana’s words come out in a small whisper, and it causes Valentina to lift her head away in response. For the first time, Juliana looks unsure. She doesn’t seem uncomfortable or questioning of what they are doing. She just looks sincerely at a loss of how to answer. Her sudden vulnerability strikes a chord with Valentina, and she feels compelled to share.

“After we were together, I did some light Googling. I wasn’t sure if I had given you everything you liked. I’m not—”

Valentina hesitates. She doesn’t know what she is, and she feels in no position to label herself in this moment.

“I hadn’t been with a woman before,” she finishes with instead.

“Me either,” Juliana replies.

“I thought…” Valentina says and stops, suddenly not wanting to label the other woman either. “You weren’t specific about your ex.”

“You thought I was gay?”

Juliana’s brow scrunches and her eyes are questioning. Her almost childlike expression takes Valentina by surprise. If Juliana’s reaction was genuinely true, she felt as though the other woman had missed her calling. Valentina’s mouth hangs open speechless. She’s not sure what to say in the moment and offers a shrug in place of words.

“I hadn’t really thought about it,” Juliana continues. “I just knew— I just know that I’m very attracted to you.”

A smile takes over Valentina’s face immediately in response. It wasn’t exactly a surprise that Juliana found her desirable, but there was something quite special about hearing it out loud. The verbal confirmation of her continued interest makes Valentina’s blood rush.

“Good thing my offer still stands.”

She watches Juliana’s eyes drift down to her lips, as the other woman gives her a small nod. Valentina shifts her weight back and gets up from the couch with her hand extended out. Juliana takes it and uses the leverage to stand up beside her. She laces their fingers together and licks at her lips. Valentina walks towards her bedroom and pulls Juliana behind her.

She makes no motion to turn any lights on when they arrive. Her bedroom door is open and light is spilling in from the lamps in the living room. It’s enough for them to see what they’re doing without being invasive. Valentina walks them over to the foot of her bed and turns around to face Juliana. The rain outside sounds louder in her room. Large drops are tapping against the eastern-facing windows in a more consistent fashion. She surmises that the storm must be moving in from that direction. 

Valentina lets out a small shaky breath. She suddenly feels nervous at the prospect of being intimate with Juliana. It seems odd, considering what they were doing just before. The alcohol had certainly helped the other night with dampening her inhibitions. She still felt that same overwhelming desire to be with the other woman. It was just now she had to look her in the eyes while she removes her clothing. She glances down shyly. It was so much easier when Juliana was pressed tightly up against her and their mouths were connected in a desperate yearning.

Juliana reaches up slowly and very gently pushes back the hair that curtains Valentina’s face. Her fingers brush it back past her shoulders and then move to rest on the sides of her neck. Juliana’s thumb circles the soft skin just below Valentina’s ear, as she pulls their foreheads together.

“Are you ok?” Juliana asks in a whisper.

A small smile forms on Valentina’s lips and she nods lightly.

“I don’t know why, but I’m feeling nervous,” she answers.

Juliana purses her lips and then they twitch up into a soft smile.

“You were so confident before.”

“I know.”

Valentina’s quick response nearly overlaps Juliana’s comment. She shifts her head back to look the other woman in the eyes. Juliana watches her closely, as her thumb continues to rub in the same pattern against Valentina’s neck.

“We don’t have to do anything,” she states.

Juliana’s words are just above a whisper and her eyes are locked onto Valentina’s. They seem so intense and so caring at the same time, and Valentina struggles to pull adequate air in her lungs under the other woman’s gaze.

“I know,” Valentina says. “But if you want to, I still want to.”

Juliana’s hand slips from her neck, and she slowly reaches down to grip Valentina’s wrist. She raises Valentina’s arm up and turns her head placing a soft, lingering kiss against her palm. Valentina closes her eyes at the contact.

“I want to,” Juliana whispers, as she nuzzles into her hand.

Valentina’s eyes flutter open to find Juliana watching her intently. Her own vision feels wild and unfocused. Her hand drops down to Juliana’s chest, resting on the swell of her breasts. Valentina’s tongue darts out, wetting her parted lips.

“Then I still want to.”

They both let out a small, shaky laugh at Valentina’s confirmation. Juliana smiles at her, as she grabs her by the hips and pulls them closer. Valentina’s hands immediately begin working at the buttons on Juliana’s shirt.

~~~

Valentina wipes at her wet mouth and chin, as she crawls back up to the head of her bed. The sheets are in a bunch down near the end, and she decides to momentarily leave them there instead of bringing them up to cover herself. Juliana’s skin still feels hot to the touch next to hers. The other woman is taking deep breaths, as she works to calm her racing pulse.

Valentina drops herself next to Juliana, her back hitting the mattress as she works to catch her own breath. She turns her head to glance over at the other woman with a lazy smile. Juliana has one hand in her hair and the other clutches at her chest. She’s still attempting to gather herself. The rain continues outside, and the sound of it mixed with their heavy breathing is the only one occupying the space. Valentina looks up at the ceiling for a moment. The feeling of pure, unadulterated happiness in her chest makes her suddenly realize that it’s been awhile since she’s felt this.

She rolls to her side, reaching out towards her bedside table to retrieve her phone. She wants to check the time and make sure to set an alarm for the morning. Valentina’s not typically an early riser, and she suspects that tomorrow will be a particularly difficult day to force herself awake.

She squints her eyes for a moment, when the bright screen first lights up. She notices a couple missed texts.

Renata: Thanks for your help today. The event went well!

Renata: Also, your brother is an idiot. I told him all he had to do was watch you two interact for like 2 seconds. You were kind of obvious. She seems sweet. We approve ;)

Valentina’s face flushes in a combination of embarrassment and giddiness. She bites at her lip, as she pulls the phone closer to her chest.

She then suddenly feels soft fingertips brush back her hair that is resting on her neck. Simultaneously, warm skin comes in contact with her back as a pair of lips grazes her shoulder. Valentina’s eyes flutter shut, and she soaks in the sensations. When she opens them, she keeps her stare forward looking off the side of the bed. Her eyes are immediately drawn to a pair of dark brown ones that are looking back at her from the reflection of the mirrored closet doors just a few feet away.

The only light in the room is coming from the living room, and it casts an orange glow that accents the dips and curves of her bare torso. Juliana parts her lips, placing wet open-mouthed kisses on Valentina’s neck. In response, she tilts her chin up to provide better access.

Valentina blindly extends her hand out, placing her phone back on the table. Or, at least she hopes she is. She has no clue where it’ll end up. She’s only focused on Juliana’s mouth and the hand that is now drawing circles on her hip. Valentina reaches back to bury her hand in Juliana’s hair, as the woman continues biting and suckling at her flesh.

Juliana’s touch slides from Valentina’s stomach up towards her chest, and she cups her firmly. Her hips push forward into Valentina’s backside at the same time that she squeezes the breast that is in her hand. Valentina lets out a soft moan, and it draws the women’s eyes forward to connect in the reflection.

Valentina’s breaths start to quicken, as Juliana rolls a stiff nipple between her fingertips. She watches herself in the mirror—the way her body responds so strongly with every stroke. Juliana’s hand glides down her abdomen and Valentina’s muscles twitch in response. This position allows for full view of Valentina’s naked skin, and Juliana seems transfixed. Her eyes burn in the reflection of the mirror, as she takes in every inch.

“Can I touch you?” Juliana asks softly.

Valentina only nods in response. Juliana quickly slips her fingers between her legs, and they both gasp at the sensation. Valentina’s hand drops from Juliana’s hair and reaches down to grab the bed sheets in front of her. Her knuckles go white, as she grips them in her fist.

“I really enjoyed what you did to me earlier,” Juliana whispers, next to her ear. “It’s never felt like that before.”

Juliana’s fingers slide easily along her soft, wet center. Her pace is slow but persistent, and Valentina begins moving her hips in time.

“Did you enjoy it, too?”

Juliana’s fingertip applies pressure against her most sensitive spot, just as she asks the question.

“Fuck,” slips from Valentina’s mouth in response. “Yes,” she answers, through panted breaths. “A lot.”

“You know that’s my favorite, right?”

Valentina can feel Juliana’s lips draw up into a smile against her neck.

“When you enjoy it, too.”

Juliana moves down to her entrance, circling it for a moment. When Valentina starts showing signs of being impatient, she easily pushes two fingers inside. Valentina can no longer hold back. She groans loudly and matches the motion of her hips to meet Juliana’s thrusts.

“Oh god, Juls,” she whines. “Going down on you made me so wet.”

“Yeah?” Juliana replies immediately. Her hot breath panting against Valentina’s neck.

“Yeah.”

Valentina pushes her shoulders back, turning herself to face Juliana. The other woman reacts immediately, giving her room to move. Juliana settles on top of her, nestling between her legs. Valentina spreads her thighs further, hooking her ankles behind Juliana’s calves. Juliana’s hand moves quickly, her fingers sliding with ease as she continues to stroke her insides.

“Do you want more?” she questions.

She pushes the words out of her lungs through labored breaths. Valentina nods vehemently. Juliana pulls out only to enter her again with three fingers. The immediate stretch is apparent, and the other woman stills for a moment. Valentina’s mouth hangs open in silence. She blinks her eyes a few times and then their gazes lock onto each others, once again.

Valentina tentatively moves her hips, encouraging Juliana to reestablish their rhythm. The motion is slow and deliberate, and the other woman watches her face closely looking for any sign of discomfort. Valentina feels herself adjust and the slight initial pain of the stretch turns into a desirable sensation. The fullness causes Valentina’s breaths to stutter. Her small plea for “deeper” is barely audible, as is Juliana’s quick affirmation.

Juliana positions her hips to help drive her hand into Valentina as they roll against each other. She slowly pushes her fingers in, as far as they will go and pulls back out at an equal speed. They keep their eyes fixed to each others. And, then it starts.

Valentina raises her hips in time with the thrusts. She can feel the sweat collecting on the center of her chest with the effort she’s putting into it. She reaches up, pushing Juliana’s hair back from her face. The other woman’s lips twitch into a quick smile in thanks. Juliana looks enormously focused on her task at hand. Her arm and shoulder muscles strain, as she pushes faster and harder.

Valentina settles her palms against the other woman’s cheeks. She uses her grip to pull Juliana down to her. Their lips meet in an open kiss, and they messily connect over and over again throughout their movement. Valentina can feel herself quickly slipping towards her imminent climax. She’s on the precipice and struggles to maintain focus.

Juliana is reading her well, though. She picks up the pace, thrusting her own hips as quickly as possible. Valentina whines into her mouth, her short cries matching the movement of their bodies. She holds Juliana’s head in place, keeping their foreheads close together. Valentina is suddenly thankful for her high-end mattress and sturdy bed frame, as they are most definitely being put to the test. She watches Juliana’s wet lips panting deep breaths near her own. It’s in that moment, that her body finally lets go. She suddenly feels it cresting and it sends a strangled moan out of her mouth. She repeats “Juls” over and over again, unable to control herself as she clinches and releases.

Time suspends for a moment, and then she’s lifting her chin up just enough to connect their lips. Juliana crashes her mouth down into Valentina’s with enthusiasm, their tongues pushing their way inside. Valentina licks firmly at the roof of her mouth. The tip of her tongue rubs at the back of the other woman’s teeth. Juliana closes her lips, sucking deeply at the muscle and holding it in place. When she releases it, Valentina captures her swollen bottom lip, lightly pulling at the flesh as she drops her head back down to the bed.

The arm propping Juliana up finally gives out, and she lowers herself fully onto Valentina. She shifts down a little, resting her head on her chest. Valentina feels the warm puffs of air against her glistening skin. A smile is fighting its way onto her face, but she’s having to dig deep to even find the strength to hold it. She mostly just feels exhausted and incredibly satisfied. It’s only when Juliana goes to pull out of her, that she realizes that the other woman had never removed her fingers. She had quickly adapted to the sensation and almost feels a loss at their sudden absence.

The women take a moment to just hold each other, as they calm their overworked lungs and shaking limbs. Once they’ve settled a little, Juliana untangles their position and moves to lay beside her.

Valentina wants to say something, anything really, but her mind is drawing a complete blank. Her eyelids feel heavy and she struggles to keep them open.

She believes if she can’t force words in this moment, she can at least show action. Valentina offers her final effort before sleep overtakes her. She rolls to her side, nuzzling her face into Juliana’s neck.

~~~