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“What?” you say.

You need to hear it again. Need to be absolutely certain. 

“Let’s get out of here,” Stella repeats.

Arousal rushes through your body like the rolling tide. “Stella?”

“Come up with me?” she rasps, and you instantly know her offer is anything but a professional one. 

Lost in her cobalt gaze, you answer with an eager lick of your lips and stand.

Leaving the table together is a blur. The salty taste of martinis and tantalizing kisses tingle warmly across your lips as you contemplate just how desperate you are to throw caution to the wind and fall into bed with Stella Gibson. 

The whirl of the lift that will carry you from the testosterone laden Bert’s Bar up to the bed of the woman your body inherently yearns for cuts through the blood rushing in your ears. You swallow nervously, butterflies creating a whirlwind in your belly as she stares at you, her finger brushing yours. 

“Oh God, what am I doing?”

Stella smirks. “Going with the flow.”

A wave of self-doubt rises beneath your calm facade. “I can’t. I… I’m not sure I can do this.”

“Do what, indulge?”

“I do.” Your gaze meets hers. “Indulge, that is. Just not...” 

“In pleasure?” she wonders.

Your lashes flutter shut as the word pleasure caresses your skin. Like the smooth silk of Stella’s blouse had done as her mouth met yours at the table; twice.

“In women.”

“Mm,” Stella considers. “Maybe if you knew what you were missing?”

Your eyes snap open at that as you suppress a coy smirk of your own. Blushing that your one experimental university night dictates you happen to know exactly what you’ve been missing, you test the waters, wrapping your pinky finger around Stella’s and say nothing. You want this; badly, but are scared to admit the real reason for your waning certainty of setting foot inside that lift: you like Stella, a lot. More than a lot. You feel with Stella. Maybe too much, and the intensity of it shocks you.

But maybe you both need to feel together.

The lift’s car arrives with a ding, followed by a sudden burst of bravery on your part. 

“Who says I don’t?” you challenge, swiftly stepping into the empty car with your heart in your throat and Stella on your heels. 

It’s silent as Stella calmly presses the button and the doors sequester you both from the outside world. Her slender hip bumps yours as the lift jolts upward, mimicking your arousal. 

She smells divine. 

“So you’ve done this before,” she says, her manicured nail tracing over the letters of the lift’s STOP button. “With women?”

A woman,” you whisper. “Once.” The decade old secret echoes around you. “But you’re not her.”

“No,” Stella smiles, lips glossy and wet, “I’m certainly not.” As her eyes stare into yours, you’re hopelessly weakened now. Helplessly hers.

And you like it. 

The exhilaration and attraction intensifies with every beat of your heart, and the palpable hunger implicit in the salacious swipe of her tongue proves to be too much for the both of you.

But it’s you who reaches out and presses the emergency brake, bringing the lift to an abrupt stop between floors four and five. It’s you who bravely takes the next step before nerves get the best of you. 

“Well then,” Stella hums, appreciative. Her arched brow tells you she’s impressed. She steps into you, both of your jackets slipping off and falling to the floor of the lift in a black puddle of Chanel. 

She twists your hair around her fingers, gently pulling it free from its elastic tie, inky tendrils spooling out onto the silk of her cream-colored blouse. A juxtaposition you’ve thought about before. 

“I… I’m not sure what to say,” you admit.

“Then don’t say anything yet. Just do,” Stella suggests, watching you bite your lip. Her hand trails down your arm, giving it a reassuring squeeze as she circles around to your back, her breasts grazing sensually over your shoulder blades.

“Okay.” Her touch is intoxicating. You’ve had several drinks yet you're drunk off the feel of Superintendent Stella Gibson’s hardened nipples pressing into your spine. “How should we…?”

“Let me make you feel good,” Stella proposes. The dip in her voice tells you she means it, and you shiver with barely suppressed desire. 

“Do it,” you say, brazen, trembling with want and a deep-seated yearning yet to be satisfied. Impassioned and impatient now, you quickly undo the button of your trousers, the zipper tearing away loudly within the cubed walls. “Please.”

“Please what?” Stella nuzzles your shoulder, blonde tendrils of hair mingling with your own. 

“Touch me,” you whisper. Stella’s hands continue to stroke over the curves and edges of your body. 

“I am,” she murmurs into your ear, breathing in your heady arousal permeating the air. “What else?”

Wordlessly, you shimmy your trousers down over your hip bones, drag Stella’s wandering hand across your pelvis and place it over your mons, giving her the consent she’s searching for. Stella nods and hooks the elastic of your panties with one finger, slowly pulling them aside, leaving you throbbing and exposed. 

“Tell me, Professor,” Stella coaxes. 

Your tongue sweeps expectantly across your lip as Stella’s nails scrape teasingly through your moist, coiled hairs. You're anxious, but in a good way. A dangerous one. You consider just grasping her fine-boned fingers between your shaky thighs that cup your center, wet and swollen with need, and guide it where you need them most. But a nudge of the sharp edge of Stella’s upturned chin and warm puffs of her breath on your cheek emboldens you. 

“Fuck me,” you answer, wanton and willing to beg if she wants you to. 

“Oh, I fully intend to,” Stella husks and swiftly swipes her fingers through your sleek folds. 

You gasp, splaying yourself open for her as she brackets your clit with a gentle squeeze. She teases you with the fingertips of one hand, her other cups your breast, rubbing you through the sheer lace of your bra. You can see Stella reflected in the steel doors behind you: gorgeous in her prim white blouse and parted lips, her eyes a hazy azure as she watches you practically writhing within her willowy embrace.  

Two fingers dip into you deep and slow as Stella silently asks you if you want more. 

Yes,” you hiss and she strums the frontal wall of your pussy perfectly. Each thrust hits that sweet spot that makes your toes curl every time her fingers do. 

Eyes rolling, you see yourself now within the stainless steel mirror, pupils large, mouth agape, skin flushed as Stella claims you like you’re hers. And maybe you are. Truth is, you’ve given yourself freely, practically begged her to touch you - to fuck you, and now you truly know nothing and no one will soothe the ache between your thighs that matches the one within your chest like this enigmatic woman can. The sight of yourself spread and glistening, flushed with fevered excitement is enough to make Stella groan. 

“Look,” she murmurs as those petite fingers of her free hand not finger-fucking you trace your triangle of black curls, the slick sheen of your silken thighs weakening with each purposeful stroke. The pink center of you is achingly plump with the desperation of release, unfolding readily for her like a thirsty flower. “Look how fucking beautiful.”

“Oh god.” You want Stella badly - need her like you need your next breath. You idly wonder if you’ve ever really wanted anyone the way you want her in this very moment? But as Stella’s fingers steadily pump through your slickness in such a mind-blowing manner, you can’t recall a fucking thing. 

Stella chuckles softly through the lewd, wet sounds of your sex. “Any god would blush if they saw what I plan to do to you next.”

“Please…” You’re so close to flying over the edge but you want to bring Stella with you. Your one hand white-knuckles the metal railing at your side as the other snakes around your hip in search for the warm apex of Stella’s thighs nestled behind you. She’s hot and dewy beneath your hand cupped over her gauzy trousers. 

Stella squeezes you closer, places an appreciative kiss behind your ear. Then with one brave grind of the heel of your palm, you breathe, “I want to touch you,” and you both moan at the admission.

Stella nods into your neck, and you watch within the silver doors just feet in front of you as she quickly tugs her trousers down over her narrow hips with her free hand that’s not currently three knuckles deep inside you. 

It’s the most erotic thing you’ve ever seen. 

“Fuck.” You can’t get your hand into Stella’s panties fast enough, vaguely recalling the fact that you’re about to fuck your colleague in a lift that’s dangling over a vast abyss of nothingness. The torrid gleam in Stella’s dilated gaze assures that the danger of it equally thrills you both. 

“I’d like that,” Stella breathes, smug yet tender in spite of things. 

You spin around with her still inside you, breathless as your fingers bravely dip down under black lace and through barely there pubic hair, gently bracketing either side of where her labia meet, swirling around her hot little clit. You can feel her swelling up, thickening under your tentative touch. The buck of her hips tells you she wants to come just as badly as you do. That spurs you on to plunge into her slippery sex, curling and skimming her pliant frontal wall the way Stella works fervorously across your own. 

“Mm… that’s it,” Stella instructs, encouraging and enticing you. “But faster, harder.” You do just that and she lets out a throaty moan, swiveling her pelvis into yours. She’s been working herself up, edging off your enjoyment and the thought of it sparks an erotic fire in your veins. “Yes, fuck,” she praises into your mouth. 

Sounds of sensuous keening and succulent wet flesh fills the lift and coats the steel in a moist fog of satisfaction.

“Gorgeous,” you gasp against her lips as her nails bite into your waist. You see her baby blues roll to the back of her lolling head while the quivering bud of her clit slides between your knuckles and the throbbing pleasure of her pussy swells against your palm. It’s glorious. But it’s the breathy mewl that escapes her throat that sends you flying - soaring into a blinding light of ecstasy along with her.

You shudder and exhale a mantra of, “ Stella, Stella, Stella... ” as the lift’s shiny walls spin, your entrance fluttering with aftershocks. And it’s only when you taste of yourself glazed upon her soft lips pressing against your slack-jawed mouth that you finally realize she’s just licked your arousal clean from each of her fingertips before kissing you. 

“That was…” Stella, seemingly impressed enough to lose her train of thought, cups your chin to get a good look at the face of the woman that’s just brought her to orgasm in such a well used public space. “It’s you who’s gorgeous when you come for me.”

It’s been only minutes since Stella had gazed at you with ardent arousal as you halted the lift just to feel her touch as soon as humanly possible, but to your body it feels like hours as you arc and sway in euphoria within her grasp.

“Christ, you’re so…” you trail off, rocking your forehead against Stella’s shoulder. You’re blushing as your slick fingers fly up to smooth her sun-kissed hair with trembling hands. “Good… so good, Stella.”

“Mm, yes. I certainly need to see you do that again,” she purrs. A light-hearted grin tugs at her pretty mouth while her freckled nose tickles your wrist. 

You hear a loud click as the lift suddenly jerks back to life.

Your knees are as wobbly as water and you almost fall as the lift rises once again, jolting your body away from Stella’s. 

“Guess that’s our cue,” she says before calmly gathering your discarded jackets from the floor and adjusting her trousers. 

The ability to speak has left you along with your right mind, apparently. You’ve just made Stella Gibson come into your hand while in a very tantalizing display of public exhibitionalism, and the loopy, unabashed smile on your face hasn’t gone unnoticed. 

The door dings open just as Stella reaches over to stop you from buttoning your trousers. Her cocked brow sends a jolt of anticipation down your spine. 

Her pinky finger hooks around yours and beckons you out into the hallway to follow when Stella stops unexpectedly, releasing her hold on you along with a sigh of utter annoyance at the sight before her. 

“Constable Burns?” she questions, arms crossed as he knocks roughly at her hotel room’s door. 

Your eyes widen, yet Stella keeps her cool, offering the man an unwelcome greeting of displeasure. 

“Stella,” he slurs, stalking his way over to invade her personal space. Your gut swoops nervously while Stella stares her superior down. Though it’s clear only you see the telltale flush across her cheeks and freshly kissed lips. 

“I need to speak with you.” Burn’s hands fly about erratically and his sharp words cut through the awkward atmosphere around the three of you. 

“Sir- Jim, is this really a pressing matter?” Stella probes, gritting her teeth. You can tell by the desperate glint in the man’s gaze that he wholly believes it is. 

“You okay?” you ask, gently grazing the violin curve of her waist. 

Stella nods once. Business as usual, she conveys, and that’s your cue. 

You step back behind the threshold of the open doors, slowly slinking into the shadows. Stella’s chin drops to her chest as she watches you out of the corner of her eye with what looks like remorse of a shared loss. Her soft stare flies away from yours after a moment, then darkens and narrows up at the constable. She’s as aggravated as you are at the interruption, yet the man you’ve heard nothing but disappointing rumors and misogynistic notions about doesn’t seem to care. He’s red faced and agitated. But so is Stella, if her stiff demeanor is screaming what you think it is. 

“Good night, Stella,” you mutter low enough for only her to hear, accepting that this night with her has come to an abrupt end. You hear nothing else Constable Burns nor Stella is saying. Nothing but your rabbit-like pulse thumping in your ears.

The sex-filled air is thick and heavy with disappointment as you press the button that will take you back down to the bar. Though this time it’s without Stella and her kind heart men just aren’t privileged enough to touch. The stagnant regret of a missed opportunity you know will linger amongst the two of you like a phantom limb for days to come is hard to ignore.

Maybe a sweet night of losing yourselves in mind-numbing pleasure was ill-fated before it began. Maybe you should just be happy with what you’ve got. 

But instantly you know you want more, and maybe that is a loss of your own making. 

“Reed… Professor, I’ll call you,” Stella assures, professionalism superseding the very unprofessional pull you’ve just succumbed to. But the flash of something akin to regret in her gaze nearly blinds you. 

You blink. It's like being hit with a bucket of ice water. Suddenly you see it all clearly now. An image of James Olsen stiff with her scratch marks raking down his spine comes to mind. Stella is like Midas: maybe sooner or later, everyone she touches ends up devoted to her and dead.

A sudden wave of raw embarrassment swells and laps at your feet, threatening to suck you under into a sea of sin. Embarrassment that this could affect your newfound friendship together, affect the case, affect a missing Rose… 

Oh Jesus. Rose. 

You tamp down the sting of tears as Stella regretfully walks away with Constable Burns hot on her heels. You finally remember to breathe again in a sorrowful albeit satiated sigh. 

“Shit…” Guilt rises as you allow the mirrored doors to close at last, leaving you alone to face your properly fucked reflection on the other side.

Once the lift delivers you back to solid ground, the taste of Stella will surely linger on your lips, but only one woman can be on your mind now. 

And her name is Rose.