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much less picturesque without her catching the light

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The dark desert road lies still and silent, except for the gentle whistle of dry, arid wind and the thuck-thucking of light-footed heels along the dusty pavement. They grow louder as they approach Kim’s car, where she patiently waits in the driver’s seat, just as quiet. As the door opens, she barely looks over.

Lydia collapses into the passenger seat, crossing her arms instead of shutting the door. “You said.”

“I said there was a risk,” Kim tells her, and finally gives her a look, lets her see the smirk playing on the other side of her mouth.

“You said, ‘You’ll be at my place tonight, don’t worry’.”

“And you’re going to my place, just a different night,” Kim says airily. It does have to be at night, after all. 

She turns the key, flips on the headlights, and waits for Lydia to shut her door, buckle her seatbelt, and check them both three times. It only takes a few scant moments for the New Mexico Correctional Facility to fade to a little, insignificant speck in the rearview mirror. 

 

It takes a very expensive dinner, a long, hot shower, and a couple of glasses of wine to convince Lydia to admit that Kim might be right, she might always be right, in every defense she’s ever given on Lydia’s behalf —several more than there should have been, in just as many months—

“What was it like?” Kim asks, eyes locked on Lydia with what she thinks is genuine fascination.

There’s no way Kim doesn’t know about the inside of a jail cell, but Lydia still finds herself swallowing a mouthful of cabernet sauvignon so big she nearly chokes, feeling it dribble from between her lips, probably staining the corners of her mouth with that deep, bloody red. Cabernet, no matter how expensive, tastes like overripe shit to Lydia, but it’s got to be dry wine, the sugar content. 

“Um, it wasn’t pleasant. Very cold. Lots of yelling. Lots.”

“Who was your prison wife?”

“Shut up.” Lydia takes her hands off Kim’s ankles, where she’s got her long legs crossed over Lydia’s lap, like she’s withholding the weight of the glass as punishment. She frowns down into her wine, ruffles her feathers.

“It was only a night!”

“Oh, that I was locked up?” Lydia shivers, but it’s mostly for show. 

“For one night. I got six months down to one night.” Kim takes a long, slow sip of her wine, letting her quiet triumph hang in the air for the taking.

Lydia doesn’t take it. “What do I tell people? ‘Sorry, I can’t go to dinner, I’ve got to meet with a “probation officer.”’”

“Start with, ‘Thank you, Kim.’”

“Let me recover first,” Lydia snaps. 

Kim exhales, long and slow, letting her eyelids flutter, the way she does when she knows she’s treading shallow waters. “You’re right. I’m sorry.” She even raises one of her calves to draw a line up Lydia’s side with her stocking-covered toes. “I’m glad you’re here now.”

Lydia doesn’t reward her with a response, but she does lean into Kim’s touch, just a bit. The warmth of the wine reigns its control over her more than the nerves, for once, so she takes another sip, breathes in the sharp, sweet scent, admires the deep, dark color and tries not to think about why it looks so pleasant to her.

“Hey, talk to me,” Kim says. “It was a long day without you.”

“It didn’t have to be,” Lydia mutters.

“You’re so smart, honey,” Kim says lightly, watching her from where she’s slumped back against the arm of the couch. “Therefore, I really have no idea what you expected.”

“I expected—!” Lydia nearly spits, even though she’s definitely fighting the thought of curling up against her chest and falling asleep there. “I expected my lawyer to get me home. To her bed,” she adds, to lessen the blow, though with her pointed tone it doesn’t really help.

“For biting a guy?”

“He scared me.”

“He was a public servant,” Kim says into her glass, eyes lightly shut, her voice echoing against her own face.

“A school janitor is not a public servant—” 

“I didn’t say it was fair.” Kim lowers the drink to her lap, cocks her head a little. “Are you losing faith in me?”

Lydia grits her teeth, feeling her fingers slip on condensation as she instinctively grips the stem of the glass tighter. She suddenly feels exhausted, hit by a wave of something dark, quiet and dreamlike.

“No,” she says stiffly.

“How many of these have I gotten you out of?” Kim continues, leaning in, so far that her ponytail falls forward over her shoulder. She must want the conversation over with, too. Lydia suddenly realizes she’s not holding the wine anymore, but can’t take her eyes off Kim’s mouth to notice where the glass went. 

“All of them,” she mumbles.

Kim takes her wine, too, puts it somewhere and threads her arms between Lydia’s, circles them at the dip of her back. Her fingers slide just under the U of NM shirt Lydia’s “borrowing” for the evening as she tugs her in closer. Her eyeshadow’s creased, her ponytail is slowly slipping out, stray hairs fall over her face and she’s still smiling at her and Lydia feels a little bit overwhelmed with, yeah, perhaps a lack of gratitude. 

“Which one of us, statistically, would absolutely survive a night in maximum lockup?” Kim says, quieter, but she’s so close it’s louder than ever.

“You.”

She laughs, and settles herself fully in Lydia’s lap, folding her knees to her side and leaning in to kiss her. Before she does, she stops, just a hair’s breadth short of her lips, her breath warm, hot, heavily wine-scented.

“When are you gonna bite me?” Her fingers tighten in Lydia’s shirt.

“Stop,” Lydia murmurs, flattening against the back of the couch, like she at all wants to get away.

“You bit that guy, and you only knew him for a minute.” Kim keeps at it, voice low and breath baited, her lips brushing Lydia’s with each word. “What do I have to do?”

“I didn’t bite him,” Lydia says weakly. “You… you know I didn’t…”

“Closer than I’ve ever gotten—” Kim kisses her, apparently unable to continue the argument.

Lydia’s relieved she doesn’t have to answer, because frankly, she’s pretty sick of answering that, but Kim’s palm is sliding beneath the leg of her pajama shorts and her fingertips are hooking in the side of her panties and she decides it doesn’t really need an answer anymore anyways. 

Lydia falls back against the couch cushions, ignoring her wet hair and how cold it is down her back, knowing Kim’s already situated to hover over her, close her in there.

“Come on,” Kim breathes between the kisses she presses against Lydia’s neck, her collar, hands irritatingly abandoning her underwear to run up beneath her shirt. She follows them less irritatingly with her mouth, and Lydia finds it a lot harder to ignore her teeth nipping at the soft skin of her abdomen, her collarbone, the law school shirt being pushed over her head. When Kim drops it on the floor behind her and Lydia’s looking back up at her, lips parted, brow furrowed in a couple different kinds of frustration, Kim sighs and smiles for her, gives her a moment of reprieve.

Lydia can only look at her for so long without kissing her, so she does, and Kim’s draping herself over her, trapping her so she can run her tongue along Lydia’s teeth and pause just at the edge of the smooth, sharp, curved canine, the way she always does. Lydia thinks for a moment that the wine tastes richer coming from Kim’s lips. But she knows better than that.

“You want to,” Kim’s saying, carding her nails through Lydia’s damp hair, curling her hands around the back of her head, fond of how it makes her shake a little.

“I don’t,” Lydia grits out and then concentrates every fiber on kissing back, unceremoniously shoving her fingers in Kim’s ponytail and tugging the hair tie out, snapping it around her own wrist. Her blonde hair keeps its curl as it falls across her back, in perfect little waves that raise goosebumps on Lydia’s skin and she’s overcome with how much she really did miss it.

“I want you to.” Kim tosses her head back to shake her hair out, and she’s exposing the soft, flushed column of her neck, she has to know she is. She knows. She smells so lush, so sweet, so much sweeter than that man at the bar.

“No,” Lydia growls, voice small but firm. She doesn’t look away this time.

“Fine.” Kim relents without exactly sounding like it, but she’s bringing her fingertips to her mouth, gently wetting them and making sure Lydia’s still watching her before she tugs the drawstring of her shorts open. “I’m gonna try and outdo your prison wife.”

“I’m getting a new lawyer.” The words drift away as Kim’s fingers slide beneath her waistband and draw slow, gentle circles against her and she decides to worry about the argument later. Kim wins again.

“Maybe they’ll get you off,” Kim murmurs. Lydia concedes, moans in her ear, and Kim flashes her teeth a last time. “I missed you last night.”