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Alone By Your Side

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Annalise is used to hardening herself.  She’s used to smoothing out her creases, plastering her face with makeup and a smile, she’s used to living outside her body. 

But she’s never had to do that with Bonnie before, not until now.

“You’re sure on your knees a lot lately,” Annalise says, not meanly, but not teasingly, either.  Just a simple observation, cold and frank.  She runs her fingers through Bonnie’s hair, mussing the pale strands, and Bonnie doesn’t look up.  She likes it, being stroked like an animal, gentled.

“I don’t know what else to do,” Bonnie says, voice wavering.  Annalise has never seen her cry before this.  “I don’t know where else to go.”

“That’s not exactly my problem,” Annalise says, but it hurts her to.

Bonnie presses her tear-damp face to Annalise’s knee, warm through Annalise’s tights, and it gives Annalise an almost painful bolt of arousal.  Bonnie has never been an easy woman to read, never a woman who would be happy with a cup of coffee and a goodnight kiss.  She was more complicated than that.  They were more complicated than that.  Bonnie mumbles something, and Annalise leans down, just a little.

“I can’t hear you,” she says, and Bonnie pulls her face away.  Her eyes are rimmed in red, sleepless, her makeup dripping down her cheeks.  Annalise wants to wipe her clean.

“I need you,” Bonnie whispers.  “I love you.”

Annalise swallows hard, her palm going to cup Bonnie’s cheek.  Bonnie nuzzles into the touch, eyes closing in pleasure, and it makes Annalise harden on the inside even more.  You know what you have to do, girl.  They can’t be involved.  Frank, Bonnie.  They’re her people.  And what she needs is to keep them safe until it all blows over, and Annalise is a genius, she knows it will all blow over.  She’ll make it blow over.

So she leans down even closer until the tips of her hair brush against Bonnie, brown against blonde.  “Your love,” she hisses, “means nothing to me.”

There was a before that moment and an after, and Annalise stops trying to be soft in the after.  She has to be steel, or else she’ll crumble under the look in Bonnie’s eyes.