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Tumbling Down

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Alice was never the girl. You know, the pretty one, the popular one, the girl people fought over like she was the fattest diamond on display at Tiffany's. So when her relationship with Dana combusted mostly due to her insecurities, though the athlete honestly needing to explore her romantic options was also a factor, and Alice slowly found herself dating and falling for Helena Peabody the last thing Alice thought could happen was that Dana would want her back.

But it was.

And suddenly Alice was the girl. Because now two people wanted her and not just any two people. She was wanted by a famous and wildly popular professional athlete and the charming heiress of a fortune theorized to be close to the billions.

To be perfectly honest, in the beginning Alice enjoyed the fact that Dana and Helena wanted her. After all, this was the first time in her life that she had ever received such attention and it made her feel so very good about herself. Though she hated what she saw it doing to Dana and Helena in the process.

The situation had even started off painfully. Dana appearing on her doorstep at an ironically late hour begging that Alice take her back. Leaving Alice first stunned and then concerned for the slumbering Helena only a few feet away in her bedroom. She didn't quite know how to reply and didn't get much chance to ponder it because Dana was kissing her.

Kissing her like when their romance started. Kissing her long, hard, and deep with such passionate conviction that Alice though her insides might melt from the heat it inspired. When it ended and the tennis player pulled away, Alice was sure she was a reflection of Dana during the four a.m. kiss. Her eyes wide and lost in hurt confusion.

Much like that first kiss, Alice ran away, though not in the form of leaving her own apartment but in the motion of stepping back and calmly shutting her front door in Dana's face. She shut the door and ignored the soft knock on it and walked about, pulling the cords from her two land line telephones and turning off her cell to make sure Dana couldn't persist in gaining her attention. Attempting to block out what had just happened as she climbed back into bed with Helena who instinctively wrapped her up in a sleepy embrace upon her return.

Only to quote Glenn Close in a less frightening manner, Dana wasn’t about to let herself be ignored. She pushed and pushed and pushed the situation until Alice found herself in the athlete's arms moaning sweet and low, swimming in the touch and scent of Dana and hating herself for doing this to Helena. Because though many wouldn't ever think it, they were alike, she and Helena. They had been carelessly used and tossed aside by so many people in their lives it seemed to be the status quo of their existence.

Helena was good to her.

So impossibly good to her that it pained Alice, the very idea of leaving her to return to Dana. Even though memories of her time with the athlete continued to haunt Alice. But as soon as those memories surfaced she would think of everything Helena had done for her over the eight months they had become close and the seven months during that in which they dated.

She thought about their first date, how Helena had taken to her this adorable nook and cranny Italian restaurant where the entire staff barely spoke English. And how the chef, a little old man with smiling eyes, had kissed Helena's cheeks and cupped her face while looking at her as if she was his long lost daughter. How he had clasped Alice's hands solemnly and given her some heartfelt advice that she couldn't understand one word of but wished she did from the way Helena's face was turning a darker shade of red with every word spoken.

When the relationship with Dana ended Alice had been an unmitigated mess. She was drowning in regrets and self loathing and pain and anger and for a long while it seemed it might swallow her whole. Consume who she was as a person because it just hurt so very badly. Then Helena Peabody came into her life and she didn't judge Alice for her almost crazed behavior at the time. Instead she listened to her and she held her and she became the only source of comfort Alice knew because her friends just didn't know how to help her.

Alice wasn't the person they had grown to know and love. She was someone that frightened and confused them and they had no idea how to help this stranger that was possessing their friend's body. It was different for Helena though, she hadn't known Alice before. Not really. They were only passing acquaintances and she didn't judge Alice for her behavior or fixate on how she should be acting.

She was simply there.

Helena Peabody had picked Alice up from her great fall and with quiet and loving care put the broken pieces of her heart back together again and Alice loved her for that. She loved her desperately and not only for that but for the fact that she knew Helena understood what it was like to exist like that. Because she knew Helena had been hurt in that same way. By people who looked at her and only saw the Peabody name and the wealth and privilege that came with it.

They only saw what Helena could do for them and never Helena herself. When they began dating Alice swore to herself that wouldn't be like those others. That she wouldn't hurt Helena as they had, that she would love and care for her with the same gentle attentiveness and earnest affection the heiress had shown her.

But then there was Dana.

Her oldest and very best friend, the woman who knew nearly everything that happened in her life, whether it be good, bad, or embarrassing and had still wanted to be with her. Dana with her sincere gaze and bumbling kindness who couldn't ever conceive of being spiteful or vindictive to someone no matter how cruel they were to her. Dana who wanted her back despite the utterly and painfully insane way Alice had acted during their initial break up. Dana who forgave her for that behavior with a gentle smile and a tender whisper. Saying that she knew Alice and the person who had done those things wasn't her before she ducked her head and said in broken tones that she had caused it. Dana who blamed herself for the nights of Alice calling her only to hang up when she answered, appearing when she was on dates with Lara, and having angry words thrown at her at an almost daily basis.

Alice had done all of that and more and yet, Dana wanted her back…

Dana not only wanted her back but Dana loved her. She loved Alice and told her that she wanted to be with her more than anything. And Alice, even before her terrible actions towards the athlete, was never someone who had been good at denying Dana of her wants.

Dana or Helena.

Helena or Dana.

These were her choices and Alice had been trying her best during the three months while dating them both to figure out who she was meant for. Because the idea of losing one of these women in her life was so devastatingly painful but nowhere as painful as the idea of losing one after making the wrong decision. Whoever she chose, Alice knew there would be no going back. If it was Helena then Dana wouldn't be appearing on her doorstep one late night or early morning with whispered words of love and fiercely intense kisses that nearly stopped her heart. And if it was Dana then Helena would no longer be dropping in on her at work with twinkling eyes and a mischievous smile before taking her out on an impromptu and impossibly romantic date. Whoever she chose would be the final word on the outcome of her romantic life.

Because Alice had never in her life loved or felt as loved as she did when with Dana Fairbanks and Helena Peabody. If she couldn't be with either of them then she couldn't be with anyone.

As much as she loved them Alice could admit their faults. The fault of Dana and her impatience then Helena and her withdrawn nature is what led to her current predicament.

Choosing wasn't exactly an easy task and Alice hated to even attempt the process of doing so because to her it seemed to make the feelings she had for both women cheaper somehow. As if one love was of greater importance than the other and that wasn't true. If anything, it was the precise opposite which is why Alice was tormented by the concept.

Though this didn't go unnoticed by Dana, she couldn't take the situation after three months of being with Alice while she kept dating Helena. Every time Alice did something that made her fall a little bit more, whether it be the carefree sound of her laugh, the silly dances she did, the dark shine of want in her eyes during sex, the love the athlete felt would be followed by the crippling fear that one day she would lose this. Dana was falling for Alice harder than before and she knew the longer the situation with Helena continued the worse off she would be if the blonde chose the British woman over herself.

That's why Dana demanded Alice finally make her choice. Dana or Helena. Helena or Dana. She would have to choose which woman she wanted to spend her life with, which one was truly meant for her.

When Alice told Helena of Dana’s demands the reaction she received further confused and worried her. Namely the fact that there wasn’t any reaction to speak of. There was what she thought could have been a tiny yet resigned flicker of hurt appearing in smoky blue eyes but as soon as she thought she saw it, the look was gone. In its place, the standoffish veneer Helena liked to present to the world came slamming down in front of Alice. Watching that happen was enough to make Alice want to pick Helena without a second thought just to ensure she never saw that happen again.

But she couldn’t.

That wouldn’t be fair to any of them, herself, Dana, or Helena. She had to know her own heart and mind to make sure whatever she decided was the right choice in order to spare all of them anymore pain. It was what she knew but it didn’t make her choice any easier to make.

Especially when she loved them both so very much.

The decision seemed impossible and each day that passed it got harder not only because of Dana pushing for an answer and Helena withdrawing emotionally from her but because she just didn't know what to do. She was hurting everyone. Herself, Dana, Helena… she was causing this and she knew it and she wanted it to stop and she wanted to choose.

But still, she somehow couldn't.

And the reality of that tormented Alice enough to make her fall back on the age old habit she and thousands of other lovelorn souls had for getting fabulously drunk to forget their problems. Even if it was only temporary respite at the very best.

Which leads us up to current events with Alice perched on her favorite barstool at The Palms as she drank her fifth or perhaps sixth Long Island Iced Tea while talking aimless drunken babble to Tabitha, the longtime bartender.

"And you know, I love 'em," Alice squinted and halfway slurred as she looked at Tabitha and wondered why there was now two of her. Had she gotten cloned by George W and his minions of evil? "But the baby is messy… and it makes poopy shit… it's a messy poopy shit baby."

"Babies do tend to be both messy and produce the poopiest of shit," remarked Tabitha humorously, cleaning out a glass. "I think that's their purpose."

"Their purpose is to make poopy shit?" pondered Alice, sticking her index finger into her glass and scooping up the bits of frozen tequila on the edge of it. Sucking on her finger thoughtfully, she tilted her head back as the old and nearly broken down jukebox in the corner began playing the ultimate in tortured lesbian romance songs. Which was entirely appropriate for Alice at the moment, even if she was a tortured bisexual and not a lesbian. Spinning halfway on her barstool and holding up her glass to no one in particular, Alice sang, "Are you so strong or is it the weakness in me? Why do you come here and pretend to be just passing by?"

Narrowing her eyes in slight amusement, Tabitha sighed, "She's singing."

Crouching down, she looked through the box of random items where she had placed Alice's cell phone. When the blonde first appeared in the bar she had declared she was going to be getting royally wasted, her words exactly, and handed the phone over to Tabitha. Saying that when she started singing was when the bartender should call someone to pick her up. Although she hadn't mentioned the fact that she would be singing along to sad dyke ballads.

"Hey Al," Tabitha called out her name and smirked when the blonde slowly swiveled around to face her, a confused look furrowing her brow. She held up the cell phone and said, "I'm gonna call someone to pick you up. Who should I dial?"

"My girlfriend," said Alice simply, squinting at Tabitha and regarding her as if she was a talking cucumber of some sort.

"Right," drawled Tabitha with a chuckle. "Who is…?"

"Dana," said Alice, plunking her glass down on the bar.

"Dana," repeated Tabitha, clicking through the cell phone's contacts library to arrive at the athlete's name.

"Helena," said Alice, plunking her glass down again by making it do a strange and slow side to side dance on the bar.

"Helena?" said Tabitha, frowning now and looking up at Alice. "Your girlfriend is Helena? That's who you want me to call?"

"Dana is my girlfriend too," Alice revealed, a huge smile forming before it wavered and she dropped her head to the bar. "Dana and Helena… Helena and Dana… Dalana… Helane…"

Right around this time Tabitha supposed she should have paid closer attention to Alice when she came in but the blonde had said she didn't want to talk. And she wasn't the type to press someone when they wanted to simply be. Especially when the person was more of a casual friend as she considered Alice. Though she would admit she was suddenly curious about the multiple girlfriend Dalana and Helane situation.

"How about this," drawled Tabitha in humorous tones, smirking at Alice who peered up from where she rested her head on her folded arms. "I'll call them both and whoever gets here first can have you."

"I'm a prize!" Alice declared, punching her arm upwards in a victorious gesture.

Shaking her head affectionately and pressing the call button as she clicked on Dana's name, deciding to call her first, Tabitha replied, "You sure are."

Thirteen minutes and fifty two seconds later, Dana Fairbanks made her grand entrance into The Palms with a loud bang of the door and several interested eyes locking on her figure. The tennis player was dressed in workout gear that consisted of tight black running pants, navy blue tank top, and a pair of Fila sneakers. Either the signs of her workout or her concern over Alice showed on her body through the popping veins and the messy disarray of her hair that was pulled back in a ponytail. Her blue eyes searched the bar decisively before spotting the journalist and a natural smile lit up her features beautifully.

Alice didn't notice her entrance though, she was too busy as she was still singing along with the jukebox. Only this time she had found a far nicer song to accompany. "That's the time I feel like making love to you," she managed to sing the happily romantic lyrics perfectly, despite her obviously inebriated state. "That's the time I feel like making dreams come true."

The smile firmly on her face now, Dana couldn't help but feel good about this despite the fact Alice was clearly drunk. After all, she had been the person that the blonde had told Tabitha to call, not Helena Peabody. And here Alice was, singing an utterly sweet and pretty love song upon her arrival.

These things surely meant something good. That Alice loved her more than Helena, that the decision would be happening very soon and it would be in her favor. At least, that's what Dana was desperately praying for. If the outcome should prove different she wasn't sure what she would do. Perhaps come to The Palms and put back a few too many drinks herself.

Not that she was going to worry about that at the moment. She had far more important things to deal with. Such as taking care of Alice. Walking up the blonde and pressing a gentle hand to the small of her back, Dana whispered in her ear, "Who are you singing for? I hope it's me."

Swiveling in her seat and wearing a huge smile on her face, Alice wrapped Dana up in a clumsy hug. "It's Dana!" she squeaked happily, rocking the tennis player to and fro.

"Yeah, it's me," Dana chuckled softly, returning the hug and breathing in the scent of the odd chocolate chip shampoo the writer had recently discovered. When she pulled back, she smiled affectionately and pushed at a stray lock of hair. "What sort of trouble have you been finding yourself in this time?"

"I never find trouble," said Alice somberly, squinting and staring up at Dana. "Trouble finds me and it uses the GPS in my mini to do so."

Chuckling again, Dana started to reply but stopped when she saw Alice's brown eyes fix on something over her shoulder as her smile got much brighter and her expression more alive. And before she even thought of turning around, Dana somehow knew just who had walked through the entrance to The Palms.

That didn't mean she didn't scowl and get upset at the sight of Helena Peabody gracefully winding through the myriad of tiny tables to make her way towards them. Looking at Tabitha with accusing eyes, Dana asked, "Why did you call her?"

"Alice said to," answered Tabitha, shrugging and deciding it was time for her to focus on her less drama filled customers as she headed to the other side of the bar.

"It's Helena!" Alice squeaked the other woman's name out in the same deliriously happy tones in which she had said Dana's earlier, causing the athlete to flinch at the sound.

"Quite right," said Helena warmly, settling at the other side of Alice and ignoring Dana's presence. Her smoky blue eyes held a soft glow and she cupped Alice's cheek tenderly. "What have you been occupying yourself with my darling?"

"Drinking," said Alice, sounding rather grave as she stared Helena down. When the British woman laughed exuberantly at this, she then leaned closer to say more somberly yet, "I've been drinking a lot."

"Why is that?" questioned Helena, her eyes carefully lifting away from Alice to lock onto Dana as she said the words. Sending the athlete a silent message on her thoughts about their current situation which she felt Dana held the blame for.

Positive she didn't want to hear Alice's response on this because like Helena she already suspected what the answer would be, Dana pressed her hand to the blonde's back and said pointedly, "We should be taking her home, not interrogating her."

"I wasn't aware a question leads naturally into an interrogation," drawled Helena, lifting an eyebrow before she focused on Alice and smiled gently while taking her hands and helping her off the barstool. "But perhaps I should have. This is America."

Unwilling or unable to make a reply, Dana simply stared Helena down and they remained like that until Alice began hopping up and down, gaining both of their attention. "Al?" asked Dana as she frowned in confusion. "What are you doing?"

"My foot's asleep," grumbled Alice, hopping and halfway stumbling about as she did so. She paused in her hopping and in a rather violent gesture, slammed her foot down hard. To then yelp and hop about after doing so. "Ow! That hurt."

At Alice's cry of pain, Helena released a hissing sound of worry and dropped to her knees, rubbing the foot that Alice had effectively abused. Peering up at Alice and smiling as the blonde tangled her fingers into her hair that had been hastily swept up in a bun, Helena chided, "Of course it hurts. How else should it feel after you treated it in such a violent manner?"

"Not hurt?" suggested Alice, wearing a silly smile that made Helena chuckle fondly.

"We should go," Dana stated in firm and almost angry tones. She hated the fact that Helena always seemed to be one step ahead in this strange competition for Alice and her love. No matter what the athlete did she somehow found it bested by Helena and her words or actions. Although right now she was definitely dressed better. Feeling a little triumphant on finding something that put her on better ground, Dana wound an arm around Alice to hold the blonde steady then looked around her to ask Helena rather mockingly, "What are you wearing?"

Looking down at her ensemble that consisted of black Mephisto Crucita sandals, worn hip hugger jeans, and a pale pink t-shirt that featured both a picture of the band Flock of Seagulls as well as their name in hot pink on it, Helena looked at Dana and replied staidly, "Clothing."

"I can see that," said Dana, snickering and beginning the slow walk to the door. "But what is with the shirt? I didn't think you were the type to be big with the 80's nostalgia." She lifted an eyebrow and drawled, "I mean… Flock of Seagulls? Come on."

"I ran so far away," Alice sang half heartedly, nuzzling her face into the crook of Dana's neck and making the tennis player shiver at the feel of her warm breath against her skin. After doing this, she moved her head slightly and squinted at Helena who was opening the front door to The Palms for them. "Hey!" she declared in bleary outrage, pointing at the British woman. "You lied to me! You totally stole my t-shirt."

Chuckling again, Helena stepped back to push the door further open and allowed Dana to easily pass while holding up Alice. "I never said I didn't have your shirt, my darling," she murmured in playful tones. "I merely said I had no idea where it could be and that wasn't a lie because at the time I truly did have no idea."

"Right," Alice snorted, waving her hands about in a grand gesture of skepticism. "You keep sayin' that. I want my t-shirt back. It's pink!"

With those words said, they exited The Palms and the door swung shut to close with a quiet click and a slight thump. Staring at the now closed door, Tabitha shook her head and muttered wryly, "Goodnight and good luck."


"I've got it from here," said Dana when they exited The Palms and stood on the sidewalk. She kept a steady arm wrapped around Alice's waist, easily holding the blonde up who had her head tilted back as she stared up at the night sky. "I'll take care of her, don't worry about it. You probably have tons of fancy meetings tomorrow anyway."

"A meeting, whether it be fancy as you say or not, could never be more important than Alice," responded Helena in warning tones, giving Dana a piercing look that said she wasn't about to be dismissed. "Any plans I make can and will always be changed so I might spend time with her, whatever the capacity she will choose."

Releasing a noise of frustration upon realizing that Helena wouldn't be cooperating with her idea of how this night should be headed, Dana muttered, "Fine." She shifted her hold on Alice slightly and looked down the street. "We'll take my car."

Following Dana's gaze to her Subaru Outback and lifting an eyebrow, Helena remarked, "I believe I'm parked closer." When Dana turned her way, the British woman formed a charming smile and nodded towards her platinum colored Jaguar XKR Coupe that sat not even a foot away from where they were standing. "Shall we?"

Helena extended her hand to Alice in warm invitation who immediately responded, starting to step from Dana and towards the heiress. Only to be stopped by the athlete hooking a firm arm around her waist to keep her in place. The blonde stumbled forward slightly and Helena jogged forward in concern while Dana frowned and pulled Alice to her in a gentle but sure motion, kissing the nape of her neck and staring at Helena with lidded and accusatory blue eyes.

"She's coming with me," stated Dana in tones that implied she wouldn't deal well with any arguments being broached. "We're taking my car, it's safer."

"And my vehicle isn't?" asked Helena dryly. She stepped up to Alice and delicately pushed aside the lock of blonde hair that had fallen in her eyes from the forward and back motion she just experienced. "I assure you that British vehicles can hold up to the same safety standards as the Japanese. Although," her voice held a humorous lilt. "I have doubts on American."

"I had a '78 AMC Pacer," Alice offered, smiling happily at Helena and leaning into her touch. She squinted at the other woman in an attempt to see her more clearly. "It sucked."

Hearing Alice mention the infamous Pacer which had been the focus of many horror stories from her high school years, Dana chuckled and remarked, "Smoke signaling car, right Al?"

"I hated that car," said Alice, sounding disgusted. Now lost in her memories and appearing like she wished she could put the vehicle in front of her and shoot it. She toppled into Dana, leaning into and looking up at her. "It sucked," she stated again with drunken importance.

"That is what I'm gathering," murmured Helena, voice laced with light devotion as she looked deep into Alice's eyes when the journalist focused on her. "You will have to tell me stories of this metal monstrosity soon. I must admit that I now find myself terribly curious."

"I once had to push it up a ginormous hill," said Alice somberly, leaning towards Helena and held up by Dana's hands on her waist. "Ginormous!" she emphasized the word by flinging her hands out much like a fisherman bragging about his catch. Helena released an immediate burst of warm laughter at this and Alice grinned goofily at the British woman. Leaning forward enough that she was practically toppling into Helena even with an irritated Dana holding her tight, Alice said in a faux confession, "It almost ran me over. I was nearly squashed like a roach."

"Is that so?" Helena drew the words out in affectionate amusement, lifting an eyebrow and smiling in encouragement. "What happened next? Did the accursed vehicle find some sort of mechanical Raid with which to dispose your lovely person?"

"Mechanical Raid," Alice echoed Helena's words with a giggle. She leaned into Dana, pressing her head under the athlete's chin and burrowing into her for support while continuing to look at Helena with an adoring gaze. Unaware that both of these gestures were sparking the flame of jealousy in each woman. "You're funny… you always make me feel better."

"Thank you," said Helena in sincere response, looking as if she wanted to stop herself from making a loving gesture before deciding that there was no reason to stop herself. That's why she stepped forward and flicked her eyes up briefly to lock with Dana's before moving forward to lightly press her lips to Alice's. When she pulled away, the blonde had her eyes shut tight and a dreamy smile on her features. Releasing a soft but strangled laugh on seeing this and tracing the line of her cheek lightly, Helena murmured, "I do love you so, my darling."

Opening her eyes and continuing to wear a dreamy look on her face, Alice was about to respond when Dana stated in an abrupt and harsh announcement, "We're going." And that said, she smoothly swept her arms under Alice's legs and held the blonde easily in her embrace while walking down the sidewalk. Dana was cradling the writer in a tender hold while Helena remained frozen to the spot, stunned by the sudden turn of events.

Frozen until she caught sight of Alice hanging over one of Dana's strong shoulders, waving madly at her to come with them as she called out in loud sing song tones, "Helennnnna! We're going! Going… going… we're almost gone!"

Cursing under her breath and wondering why she decided to wear sandals, Helena did a fast sprint after them. Wishing that she had tried to keep up with her training regime from her time running at University as she did so.


It took one stop light and three checks in the rear view mirror for Dana to realize that she had once again been outmaneuvered by Helena Peabody. Because her insistence they take her car for the drive to Alice's apartment put Dana squarely in the driver's seat of the Subaru Outback and Helena in the backseat with Alice.

Dana really hated Helena. Really, really, really, hated Helena. She hated how with every passing second she seemed to be that much closer to Alice, she hated how she made the blonde sigh in quiet pleasure from her touch, she hated how her smoky blue eyes met hers through the rear view mirror and held a veiled look that made Dana nervous though she couldn't seem to interpret what it meant. She just plain hated Helena.

But Alice loved her.

Alice truly loved Helena and knowing that killed Dana because she also knew that was her doing. She knew that if she hadn't ended it with Alice, if she hadn't broken her heart as she did then Helena wouldn't be sitting in the back seat of her car, arm around Alice's shoulders, holding her close and murmuring soft words of affection into her messy blonde hair.

She was the reason that Alice loved Helena, she had allowed that to happen because of her own indecision and doubts. What stung the most was the fact that Dana knew she couldn't have done things differently, not really.


That was the amount of people Dana had been with in her life romantically. Just five and she was twenty nine years old. She had always known Alice was the one for her, at least as soon as their romance began, but at the same time she longed for that period of dating she missed…

She longed for the youth that had been taken from her by playing tennis and hiding scared in the closet. In her mind it was all very logical. Yes, she wanted to be with Alice for the long run, the real deal as Carmen liked to call it, but how could she really know that for sure with as little romantic experience as she had? And it didn't help matters that Dana had never exactly been someone who was confident about her emotions.

All of her life Dana had been led along by others. Their wants, their dreams, their ideas for her and it was easy… doing what they wanted but Dana didn't want that with Alice. She had to know it was what she really wanted and not that she was simply going along with the desires of her best and oldest friend.

And she broke Alice's heart in doing so.

Thinking of that time always made Dana want to burst into tears. How Alice had changed into someone that she didn't recognize and it all was because of her. What she had done, her own fears and insecurities had helped bring about what seemed to be the near destruction of the woman she loved more than anyone else in her life.

Then Helena Peabody arrived in their lives.

To be more accurate, she arrived in Alice's life but to be even more accurate, she had technically already been there thanks to her involvement with Bette and Tina. Although Dana didn't really think that counted, no matter how much she loved her friends it wasn't quite the same thing. Helena dating Tina was very different than Helena dating Alice.

At least, in Dana's world it was different. She loathed recalling that time almost as much as the period in which Alice had fallen apart at her hands. Hated it because she had been relieved, so very relieved that Alice wasn't fixating on her anymore. That she was getting a break from the constant phone calls, the near car chases, and generally antagonistic behavior.

It stopped, all of it. The calls, the car chases, the harassing treatment, it stopped completely and suddenly it was as if Alice no longer existed. She dropped completely off the map in the LA scene and at first, Dana didn’t think anything of it.

But then days turned into weeks which then turned into months. Until one day Dana found herself getting bored during a trip to the Farmers Market with Lara and wandered away from the fresh farm produce section for a bit of exploring. Only to find herself unable to move as her eyes locked on a happily smiling Alice who, in that moment, looked exactly as Dana had once known her. Charming and funny and sweet and so incredibly loving at the same time.

Dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, she held a cup of homemade ice cream in one hand and a spoon containing the ice cream in another. Alice was busy darting around the woman with her, laughing and prodding at her in an insistence to try the frozen treat. Finally the woman, whose back was to Dana, gave up in the strange dance they were conducting to open her mouth and lean forward, taking the ice cream in.

Dana watched as Alice stared at the woman and that was the only thing she could do as the writer let her companion set the cup aside. She watched in dim shock as she finally saw for the first time the woman with Alice was Helena Peabody, whose eyes were lidded and face lined in deep affection as she captured the blonde's lips for a tender kiss that they both smiled into.

Though she knocked over a cart of tomatoes during her hasty retreat, Dana had somehow managed to escape unnoticed by both women but the damage had still been done. She saw it right then. Saw that Alice had moved on, that she had found someone who made her happy, she had found someone to love and what had Dana found? What?

Her freedom? Her independence? Her youth?

None of that… the only thing she had found was the newly captured realization that she had lost the only thing that really mattered in her life and for what? Nothing at all.

The next day she broke up with Lara and she then proceeded to spend several weeks wallowing in her own state of misery while trying to figure out what she could do to get Alice back. Until she finally gave up on figuring things out because that simply wasn't who she was and appeared at the door to Alice's apartment one late night or early morning.

Appeared to kiss Alice the same way Dana had been kissed that very first time at four a.m., trying to show Alice with it how much she missed her, how much she loved her, how much she regretted all that she had done, all the painful things that had happened between them.

But she literally found the door closed to her.

This time wasn't like the others though. She wouldn't let herself be pushed away and denied. Dana persisted until she got Alice to admit what she felt both of them already knew. That they belonged together, that they still loved each other despite all the pain their love had caused.

Certainly she didn't expect Alice to dump Helena for her. Well, she had wished that would happen but Dana didn't expect it. No, not at all. But she also didn't expect to end up sharing Alice with the British woman for a period of time that appeared to be nearly endless.

That's why she demanded the journalist make a choice just because Dana wasn't sure how much more she could take. It killed her to fall a little more in love with Alice for every second she spent with her when she didn't know if the love would last, if she would be the one that the blonde chose. And once again, Dana hated herself for causing Alice pain because she could see the decision was tearing her apart. The drinking binge at The Palms tonight was proof enough of that but while she hated herself for it, Dana wouldn't change her actions.

Just because she had to know. They all had to know. Her, Alice, and even Helena who she hated because while Dana did hate the heiress she could still acknowledge Helena loved Alice. Much like she could acknowledge Alice loved Helena, though that fact nearly killed her.

Heaving a sigh and flicking her eyes up to look in the rear view mirror, Dana did this right in time to see Alice reaching her lips up to Helena's for a kiss. Eyes narrowing decisively and a sharp flare of jealousy seizing her heart, Dana checked the road and made a sudden sharp lane change, causing the near kiss to be effectively derailed.

Meeting Helena's eyes in the rear view mirror which were studying her with a shrewd and angry gaze and smiling slowly, Dana said in overly apologetic tones, "Sorry."

"Quite alright," Helena drawled in a sardonic reply, her hand tangling in Alice's messy blonde hair and caressing her gently as she held Dana's gaze in the mirror before pressing a kiss on the top of the writer's head. "No harm done."

The only reply Dana had was to smile tightly in return.


"Honey's," Alice said the word enthusiastically. She was once again resting comfortably in Dana's embrace as the tennis player had taken advantage of Helena's distraction in removing her seatbelt to sweep the blonde up into her arms. Though her holding Alice had granted Helena the task of searching through the pockets of the journalist's jeans to find the keys to her apartment. She wasn't sure which of them had gained the advantage. But right now, with Alice's breath warm on her skin, making her shiver at the feel of her laughter as the writer spoke into the crook of Dana's neck, she thought perhaps she did. "I'm home!"

"Real funny, Al," drawled Dana, who kept the blonde safely in her arms, facing Helena as she shut the door. "I'm going to take out her contacts," Dana stated before turning on her heel and carrying Alice towards her bedroom.

"You are, are you?" murmured Helena humorously, trailing after Dana and sighing irritably under her breath. "Why do I have a nagging suspicion that might not be the easiest of tasks with our paramour in the inebriated position in which she currently finds herself?"

"She hates sleeping in her contacts," said Dana, who was already in the bathroom. In a sign of both her athletic prowess and her rather flexible abilities, the tennis player lifted her right leg to kick the seat down on the toilet then carefully sat Alice down. Looking into Alice's brown eyes and smiling softly, Dana cupped the journalist's cheek. "Don't you? They dry your eyes out and make you feel like some sort of weird zombie. Cornwallace zombies or something, right?"

"Cornea zombies," offered Alice, tilting her head and squinting at Dana who had just become bleary for a moment. "They steal the wet eyeballs of living when theirs dry out from leaving in their contacts for too long. Plus they're dead."

"I am well aware of how much she dislikes sleeping with her contacts in. I merely think that getting her to remove them will not prove the easiest thing to accomplish as of this moment," said Helena, watching skeptically from where she leaned in the doorway as Dana readied the various supplies for the upcoming contacts removal. Though she knew she should probably be stopping this attempt because it had little to no chance of success she couldn't seem to make herself. Probably because she knew no harm would come to Alice and was perversely curious to see the results. Raising an eyebrow as Dana crouched in front of Alice and slowly reached towards her left eye to remove the first contact, Helena remarked, "This isn't a wise idea."

Sure enough, the second before Dana's fingers made contact with Alice's skin to push it together and remove the contact, the blonde jerked her head away with a horrified squeal, twisting away from the athlete on the toilet seat. Blinking in surprise at this, Dana frowned a bit then said, "Quit messing around, Al." She placed her hands firm but gentle on the blonde's hips and turned her on the toilet seat so she was again facing Dana. "I know you hate sleeping in your contacts so let me take them out, okay?"

"This isn't wise," Helena echoed in tones that predicted certain ominous yet entertaining doom.

"Shut up," said Dana, scowling and looking at Helena as she said the words. Focusing back on Alice, she smiled reassuringly. "I'm going to take out your left contact, all right?"

"All right," replied Alice hesitantly, her hands laced together and perched in her lap, making her look something like a chastised school girl.

Moving more slowly the second time around, Dana reached for Alice's skin to push it together and remove the contact. Just like before, Alice released a horrified squeal as she twisted away from Dana but at a far faster pace, causing her to twist right off the toilet seat and onto the floor of her bathroom with a loud thump.

"Al!" exclaimed Dana in shock, reaching for the writer but finding herself soon blocked as Helena pushed off the doorway and fell to her knees in front of the journalist.

"You haven't injured yourself, have you?" asked Helena worriedly, reaching for Alice and inspecting the other woman with her eyes.

Absently rubbing her bottom and wearing a deep pout, Alice looked at Helena with a grave stare and said, "My ass hurts."

"I would imagine," Helena chuckled, reaching for Alice's hands and helping the blonde to her feet. Peering at Dana over the top of Alice's head, she questioned, "Do you wish to have a final go at removing your contacts?"

"No," said Alice irritably. She remained standing, tipping slightly from side to side, squinting at nothing and saying to no one in particular, "I'm thirsty."

"I'll get you water!" Dana offered eagerly, wanting to make up for her miscalculation with removing the contacts. She was out the door of the bathroom and headed towards the kitchen before either Alice or Helena could respond.

Sighing heavily, Helena wound an arm around Alice's waist to support her weight as she led them to the living room. "I wonder if I might ask you something," she said in a quiet utterance.

"Ask me what?" squinted Alice, leaning into Helena and resting her head on the other woman's shoulder while they made their way into the room.

"Were you drinking due to our situation?" Helena asked, purposefully avoiding Alice's eyes while she gently helped the writer sit on her couch. She crouched in front of her with her hands holding Alice's and her face looking in the direction of the kitchen, where Dana currently was. "Because you cannot choose between she and I?" When she felt the heat of Alice's stare on her features instead of a verbal reply, Helena swallowed nervously and said in a bare whisper, "You needn't fret over it… despite our adversarial relationship I would wager she and I want the same things for you." Turning slowly to look at Alice, she offered a small and wry smile. "To see you happy and this night," Helena chuckled and reached up to cup Alice's face in her hands. "Is surely not a sign of happiness, my darling."

A long and seemingly never ending silence passed over them and then Alice covered Helena's hands with her own, clumsily pressing the palm of one to her mouth, kissing it tenderly. "I'm happy," she mumbled into Helena's skin. Brown eyes, wide and lost, met smoky blue and Alice dropped the hand to reach out, trembling and uncertain, as she wound her fingers around the back of Helena's neck to pull the British woman towards her. Capturing her lips in a soft kiss and saying in a broken confession, "I'm happy you saved me."

Hearing these words was enough to make Helena want to cry. The idea that she saved Alice seemed so very wrong to her simply because the heiress felt that it truly went the other way round. That Alice had saved her from living an existence where she simply allowed people to see what they wanted and nothing else.

She was a Peabody.

Peabody's were rich and Peabody's were charming and Peabody's were intelligent and Peabody's were devious and Peabody's were meant to do as the family intended. They were never allowed to deviate from the plans made for them because the moment they were conceived their future was already mapped out. In a strange way, even Helena herself was planned at a strategic level.

How she would talk, how she would walk, how she interact with others, all of this was decided before she even took her first breath in the world. And to Helena, it seemed how she did each of these things was never quite good enough for her mother. In fact, it was never quite good enough for most in her family.

Strange as many might find it, she was the black sheep in the family because she didn't really share their maddening love of the arts. Helena found herself far more intrigued by politics and social service than the history of the Impressionist movement which left her in the ranks of the common people philistines of the world that her family held in great disdain.

To this day, Helena didn't understand why art was so much more important than feeding a hungry child and she was rather thankful that she never would understand. Just as she was thankful that she had met Alice, despite the circumstances.

It pained her to think about the time, though later it led to the happiest days in her life so far, because of how very badly Alice had been damaged. She was a soul lost and drowning in her own misery, hell bent on dragging the cause of her suffering down with her, not to mention anyone else who wound up in her way.

At first, Helena wondered if it was a wise thing, to get involved with such a person though it pained her to see anyone in that kind of torment. The reason being her children and their welfare but with every moment spent with Alice, she could see the pain slowly chipping and falling away, until finally the writer released all of the anger in a nonstop well of tears, clinging to Helena, her body shaking with sobs. Crying and crying until finally it was gone, the black cloud hanging over her soul, and she was tired and drained but at long last she was free.

Which is when she saved Helena.

Saved her by seeing past that veneer of haughty self confidence and suave charm to see the woman who was considered never good enough by her mother. The woman who was told constantly by others who she was and what she felt. The woman who had every instinctively kind gesture picked apart and analyzed until it could be seen as something holding an ulterior motive. The woman who watched others debate the validity and truth of her love for her children simply because they didn't share the same blood. The woman who never once had a relationship where she felt completely certain they were with her because she was Helena and not Helena Peabody. She saw past all that and found the real Helena, the one who had been hiding since childhood, buried underneath the crippling weight of the opinions others held of her, and pulled her out into the bright light of day.

Without a doubt, Alice knew the real Helena Peabody, and perhaps other than her children she was really the only person who could claim such a thing. The truth of this matter was a sad reality, this is true but not as sad as the fact that they both had been searching for something so impossibly simple all of their lives only to be denied again and again.

And that was the love of another person.

The simple kind of love, the kind that doesn't go away, that doesn't waver or experience doubts, the kind that lasts a lifetime and beyond. That was all either of them wanted but it was lost to them and with each failed relationship they thought perhaps they might never find it.

But then Alice found Dana and Helena found Winnie and for a time, they were happy and it seemed they had finally gotten their fondest desire of the heart. And then it disintegrated. Dana having doubts about her ability to commit to Alice for the rest of her life and Winnie with a biting confession that she had never wanted to spend hers with Helena in the first place.

Until the night three months ago, when Alice appeared at her house, in tears and utterly miserable Helena had thought she had found that love. Because Alice was like her, she knew what it was to be constantly judged, thought to be just one thing and nothing else, although instead of a bitch she was considered a practical joker, unable to have serious emotions for another human being. Though Helena knew that was the furthest thing from the truth.

She thought that she and Alice truly would be together because they knew… they knew what it was like to be dismissed and thrown aside and as such they would never do that to each other. But then Dana came to her with words of love and regret and once again, Helena found herself playing the role of the interloper.

The thief of love or some other ridiculous notion. How can you steal love, after all? Why was it that Dana's love for Alice was seen as somehow more valid than hers? Because Dana had been there first? Why was that? Dana had left Alice, abandoned her and left her in a state of emotional agony. Helena had every right to love Alice and express that love as much as Dana surely did. Alice was the first person, the only person, to see Helena for who she really was.

The only one who stood up to Peggy when she was on one of her nonstop diatribes, insulting everything Helena did. The only one who had the nerve to hang up on Winnie when she was complaining at Helena for aimless petty things simply to have something to complain at Helena about. The only one who saw the hurt that plainly lurked beneath the surface of her frosty exterior and wipe it out with a loving word and tender touch.

Alice was Helena's love and though she tried so hard and so long to deny it, especially in light of their current circumstances, Helena couldn't find the energy anymore. Why should she hide her feelings? Just like Dana, she would now be fighting for the woman she loved and for her own future happiness with her.

That's why Helena rose up into Alice's kiss, intensifying it and sitting on the couch and entangling their limbs. Her body pressed into the soft cushions, covered by the writer's and her mouth open and seeking, tasting everything Alice had to offer and wanting more. And that's exactly how Dana found them when she walked into the room just seconds later.

Seeing them stopped Dana in her tracks because Alice hadn't kissed her like that in months. Not since their break up and not since their three month reconciliation. Kissed her deep and endless with such incredible conviction of emotion you never once doubted what Alice was feeling you just knew. You felt it in every nip, tug, bite, and low moan as Alice sucked on your tongue, devouring you whole, as if trying to absorb you into herself in a delicious expression of lust and love.

It was a kiss that said Alice Pieszecki loves you.

And Dana hadn't received it in months. Or anything close to it as a matter of fact. While the scene in front of her made it very clear that Helena had. Which gave the athlete yet another reason to hate her.

Because Helena was being kissed in the way that said quite clearly that Alice loved her. Of course she was being kissed that way. She never broke Alice's heart, she never caused the writer to fall into an alarming downward spiral, she never inspired as much hate as love.

That distinguished honor belonged to Dana alone.

This entire fucked up situation with Alice, her being torn between two women and unable to choose, it was entirely of Dana's making. That's why she supposed it was appropriate she suffer the most.

Still it didn't stop her from hating Helena and wanting Alice to be hers and hers alone once again. To kiss her and be kissed in the way she was seeing now. This thought clear in her mind, Dana set the glass of water down on a nearby file cabinet with a plunk and walked over to the couch and stood before it, silently announcing her presence.

Though she was noticed, Dana wasn't given much thought, especially by Helena who was straining impatiently up into Alice, trying to have their bodies connect as closely as humanly possible. Wanting every inch of her covered by the welcome weight of Alice pressing down into her. Drowning in the sensation and unwilling to even consider for a moment the possibility of it leaving her. She had lost far too much in her life and Helena wasn't going to lose this glorious feeling of absolute love, want, and acceptance as well.

When Alice pulled back, eyes shining dark with desire as she looked up at Dana, the heiress moved with her. Sitting upright, the blonde perched in her lap, and kissing the curve of Alice's neck, ignoring the upward motion that told her without looking that Alice was kissing Dana.

Kissing Dana the way the athlete had longed for.

In a way that told her clearly Alice loved her. Her mouth fierce and demanding, tongue hot as it pushed past her lips, groaning and muttering nonsensical words into Dana. Only to pull away with a mischievous smile and tug of a bottom lip.

The moment the kiss with Dana ended another with Helena began. Gently cupping Alice's face in her hands, kissing her slowly and sweetly with such tender devotion Alice whimpered at the feel of it all. Helena was always like this with her though. So very kind and loving, treating her like she was the most precious thing in the entire world to her. Then again, that's how Alice felt when she was with Helena. Special, just so unbelievably special and wanted… god… Helena made her feel wanted like no one ever had before. Enough that Alice knew the only way it would cease, that Helena would stop wanting her, was if she had deemed it so.

Only when she told Helena not to have these feelings would be the moment that they stopped… but even then, not really. They would just be hidden from Alice's sight so she could ignore them and go back to her happy life sans the heiress.

The problem was, she no longer could see her life without Helena Peabody in it. Much like she couldn't see her life without Dana Fairbanks who was reaching for her now.

Pulling her up from the couch and Helena's lap in that frantic but surprisingly gentle manner she had to lift Alice up into her embrace. Kissing her fierce and passionate, tongue invading her mouth in a heated exploration while callused hands traveled the length of her body in a frenzied touch. Seeming desperate to feel as much of Alice while she could, as if afraid that very soon she would no longer have this chance available to her.

She was right to think this because the moment they parted for air, Helena was there, hand soft on Alice's cheek, cupping her face and drawing her forward in a soul searing kiss while her free hand fell to the blonde's waist. Teasing her bottom lip in a slow and seductive suck while pushing her tongue coyly in then out, smiling into Alice's tiny and pleading whimper before finally thrusting deep inside, sucking on her tongue long and hard, delighting in the moans of pleasure coming from the woman in her arms.

Alice's head tossed back when Helena dropped to kiss the line of her neck, gazing upwards as Dana appeared again, fingers tangling in blonde hair to tug her head further back still. Firm but gentle, seizing Alice's lips for a kiss that was vicious in the passion it displayed, making the blonde moan and quiver into Helena's hands that were resting steady on her hips. The writer felt herself losing her hold on gravity, perhaps even on reality itself, and found her back slammed against the wall of the hallway right in front of her bedroom.

The right of her covered in Helena, the left of her covered in Dana, both women kissing and licking and biting and touching and moaning and saying over and over and over again how much they loved Alice, desperate to prove it to her in that moment. No longer even seeming aware of the other's presence because for them it didn't matter that the other woman was there. The only thing that mattered was Alice and pleasing her, making her happy.

No, strike that. The only thing that mattered was making Alice come. Making her come long and hard and with such fucking intensity of emotion that she couldn't ever wonder how they felt for her. That's what mattered to them right now.

And that's precisely what they set about doing.

But not before they locked their gazes in a silent moment of acceptance and understanding. This wasn't about them anymore and their petty feuding over Alice and her love. It was about the fact that they loved Alice as much as they did and wanted her to be happy, no matter which of them she chose. They looked at one another and acknowledged the silent agreement being made before turning their attentions swiftly back to Alice who they had lying on her bed.

Moving in a strange sort of sexual ballet, Dana went upwards while Helena slid downwards. Dana for a nibbling kiss to the lips and slow unbuttoning of Alice's shirt, Helena for a long lick to the underside of Alice's midsection and the loud unzipping of her blue jeans.

Between the two women, the clothing was made short work of, though the only help they gave was in undressing Alice and not each other. Their attention didn't once linger on studying the other's body except for nothing more than an accident of the eyes. They didn't have interest for anyone other than the blonde lying between them, looking at them with a lidded brown gaze dark enough that it was almost an inky black.

Her hand whispering up to lightly trace a path down the cheek of each woman hovering over her, looking at her with such absolute love Alice released a tiny wrenching sob at it. Then she pulled them to her, kissing Dana first, desperate and needy, to then switch over to Helena, opening her wide and deep, trying to take everything there for her own.

While this occurred, Dana's hands moved a lingering path down Alice's body, making her shiver and quake into her touch as her tongue lightly trailed along as well. Arriving at the junction of the blonde's thighs, nudging her legs apart and lifting her gaze up in time to lock it with Alice's before lowering her mouth for the first sweet taste. Laughing and smiling into the jump from bird like hips and holding them steady as she settled in.

The gasps and groans and whimpers from Dana's tongue, flicking her clit, kissing her outer folds, and finally deliciously pushing inside, were swallowed by Helena's mouth. Warm and lush and loving, feeding on Alice in a sensual momentum that left her senses drowning, delicate hands cupping her breasts, tweaking the nipples and sliding down her abdomen.

At the feeling of a hand pressing against her head, Dana grinned, thinking it was Alice but when she saw carefully and highly expensive manicured nails she knew differently. For a moment she was irritated but she realized the intent and sliding off to one side, she went back to work, licking and kissing and pressing deep inside for the meal she had always loved best, allowing Helena to press and tease and torture Alice's throbbing clitoris in hopes of soon causing the orgasm they were both working so very hard to create.

They didn't have to wait long.

Alice came with a strangled cry and moan, lost in the press of Helena's lips and when it was over, her body a shaking mass, both women slid upwards to be beside her. Once again, the right of her covered in Helena and the left of her covered in Dana. Her brown eyes were dark and drowning in emotions too complex to properly discern and comprehend. But all that mattered to them was the love they could see there.

Hands reached upwards to rest flat against their cheeks and the women leaned into the touch, making her smile and release the smallest cry of joy. "I love you," was all she could say.

Then Alice was asleep and they remained where they were, in their somehow deigned positions. Helena on the right and Dana on the left. Both of them gazing down at her with the same look of utter love and devotion before they slowly looked up and met their gazes for the second time since this had begun.

"I still hate you," Dana spoke first, her tone holding very little malice and speaking in an entirely calm and matter of fact way.

"That's quite good because I believe I still hate you as well," Helena responded, her voice laced with amusement and her eyebrow arched.

Snorting at this, Dana looked at Alice and her features immediately softened as she pushed aside a lock of blonde hair that fell into her eyes. "She's going to be embarrassed," she murmured after a long moment of silence. Looking up at Helena with worried blue eyes, she nibbled her bottom lip. "What we just did, you know? She'll be really embarrassed."

"Yes," said Helena, releasing a sigh and wondering perhaps why they weren't feeling embarrassed. She supposed it might have something to do with the fact they both wanted, even now, to show Alice in every way they knew how just what they felt for her in hopes of solidifying the chance they would be the one chosen. "We ought to fix the flat," she said finally, turning her attention to Dana. "Make it so she will perhaps think this was some mad form of drunken night terrors."

"That works," said Dana, nodding her head. The athlete started to move off the bed but paused when she realized doing so would give Helena a perfect look at her body. Darting her gaze over to the British woman, she didn't know if she should be relieved or jealous that the heiress was focused solely on Alice, her fingers lightly tracing her bottom lip. Rolling off the bed to plunk onto the floor, Dana hastily pulled on her clothes. "Come on," she huffed, facing the doorway and refusing to look back at naked Helena doing who knows what to Alice. "We've got to clean or mess up or something. I don't know. What are we doing again?"

Rolling her eyes and pulling on the pink Flock of Seagulls t-shirt and her worn blue jeans, Helena said, "We're making it so the flat looks as if some form of drunken insanity has invaded it. So she will be more apt to believe, if she should recall all this, it was merely a figment of her hops and barley consumption."

"Figment of her hops and barley consumption," repeated Dana who snorted again. "What the hell does that mean anyway?"

"Beer ingredients," Helena said in a supremely droll reply. "I don't suppose you ever read the bottles of what you so very greedily guzzle?"

The women continued to bicker without much real hostility behind the sentiments or words for the rest of the night while Alice continued to sleep the sleep of the drunken and the dead. Unaware completely of everything going on around her, even when Dana and Helena argued over who should put be the one to put pajamas on her. At least she stayed that way until she woke up the next morning.

Or to be more accurate, woke up the next afternoon. Crawling out of bed and tugging at her black tank top as she padded into the living room, Alice froze on seeing the figures of Dana Fairbanks sprawled on her crappy couch and Helena Peabody neatly curled onto her crappier recliner. Studying the sleeping women and the piles of alcohol lying at their feet, Alice rubbed her head and wondered what the hell happened last night.

Then she looked at them.

Really looked at them both. The two women she loved and the two women who loved her and she knew she would have to make a decision and soon. She couldn't keep doing this to them, it wasn't right, it just wasn't right to any of them. Alice knew that with every bone in her body that she really did have to finally decide.

But first she had to make some coffee and find some Advil. Because matters of the heart should never be dealt with while suffering from a horrific hangover. Or at least, that’s what Lenore had always said.