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some kind of madness (has started to evolve)

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“I really think you’re gonna like her, Raven.” Octavia says from the floor where she’s stretching out on a yoga mat. She’s got herself folded in half, her chin almost touching her knees.

“I dunno,” Raven sighs, propping herself up on her elbows so she can look down at Octavia from the couch. She’s still so drained from PT that watching Octavia warm up for krav maga is making her muscles ache. “How old did you say she was?”

“I’m not sure,” she looks up and squints, “probably mid-forties? But she doesn’t look it.”

“I don’t do big age gaps, we’ve talked about this.”

“Oh please, it’s not that bad.”

“O, my mom is in her forties.”

“Okay sure, sure, but look.” Octavia unfolds herself into a supine position and pulls her knee up to her chest. “Abby’s cool, and smart, and funny, and really fit. You like fit ladies. Give it a shot.”

“Okay, what’s the catch?” Raven pushes herself up and swings her legs off of the couch so she’s sitting. Her brace is pinching the skin of her thigh and she reaches down to adjust the strap.

“What do you mean?” Octavia asks, her voice pitched high with poorly faked innocence.

“Dude,” Raven gives her this look like, she’s onto her gameOctavia never pushes blind dates this hardand Octavia sighs.

“I already sort of told Abby you’d be there.” Raven makes this face like she’s going to lay into Octavia but Octavia just waves her hands, “the reservations are for seven tomorrow night at the Arkdown. You love that place.”

“I hate you,” Raven groans, rubbing her face wearily. “I’m closing the garage at six! That gives me like, an hour to get ready and get back by campus.”

“Look, don’t worry about it. It’s super casual, okay? Just make sure you get all of the grease off.” Octavia has this pleased-with-herself smile on her face that makes Raven scowl. She watches as Octavia bends herself in half, like the discussion’s over, and Raven leans back on the couch, tilting her head up to the ceiling.

“Does she at least know about… you know… my leg?”

“Of course,” Octavia says, sitting up slowly, “I wouldn’t do that to you Raven, c’mon.”

“Fine,” Raven sighs, throwing her hands up, “I’ll go.”

“Excellent. You won’t regret it.”

Raven wants to snap back ‘you don’t know me’, but that’s a fucking lie, so she just shuts her mouth and watches the ceiling fan spin while Octavia keeps twisting herself into more impossible shapes.

She really hates blind dates.

The Arkdown is Raven’s favourite restaurant and it’s perfect for date night. The lights are always turned down low and the music is soft, instrumental stuff that makes it easy to keep up a conversation, but it’s still lowkey and the food is great. Raven doesn’t have to worry about dressing up or ordering food with a fancy name, but she still gets brownie points for being romantic. Raven never fails the seal the deal after she takes a date to the Arkdown.

Apparently, Octavia thinks they’re really going to hit it off.

Abby is definitely an older woman. Not in like, a wrinkled old lady way, but she doesn’t look like she’s in her 20s, either. She’s already seated when the hostess leads Raven back to the table and Raven looks her over openlyit is a date, after all.

She’s really hot, Raven thinks with a little jolt of satisfaction, feeling smug for a minute. But Abby’s face shifts as she gets closer to the table, she looks shocked, and Raven tries not to feel offended or self-conscious about her weird, limping gait.

She seems to have regained her composure by the time Raven’s arranged herself in her seat, and Raven’s a little grateful that she seems to recover fast. Maybe it won’t be horrible. Abby opens her mouth like she wants to say something but then their server pops up for Raven’s drink order and Abby purses her lips while she waits.

“So, you must be Raven,” Abby says once the server’s gone. Her smile is a little tight, a little forced, but Raven lets her discomfort roll off of her back. Apparently Octavia hadn’t been brutal enough about Raven’s disability.

“Yup,” Raven bobs her head, considering and then immediately dismissing the idea of sticking her hand out for Abby to shake. “And you’re Abby.”

“Got me there,” Abby laughs. It actually looks genuine, and Raven softens just a little. Abby’s initial surprise still smarts, but she hasn’t said anything yet.   

“So, you’re a yoga instructor?”

“It’s more a hobby than a profession,” Abby says, looking relieved at the choice of topic. She takes a little sip of her lemon water, that tight smile back on her face. It’s kind of... prissy. God, everything about this woman is a little prissy. She’s wearing a cardigan to a casual diner. How did Octavia ever think this would work? Raven feels badfor both of themlike, how could Octavia be so wrong?

But then, it’s odd... this woman looks so familiar, sweeping her hair back from her face, licking her bottom lip as she studies the first page of the menu. Raven feels a prickle of recognition raise the hair on the back of her neck, and then there’s a fleeting image of Abby’s tongue laving over a bite mark on Raven’s clavicle.

Raven flushes, shaking her head to get rid of the image. God, I’m such a pervert. She takes a gulp of tea to distract herself and tries to remember what they were talking about.

Oh. Right. “So, what do you do when you’re not teaching?”

“I’m a doctor. Surgeon, specifically. I work at George Washington.”

“Oh cool, I’m actually studying at GW.”

“Oh,” Abby looks stricken and Raven tries to ignore it.

“Yeah, I’m studying mechanical engineering. I would’ve preferred MIT but,” she shrugs, “GW offered a full ride and I was able to stay home. The commute’s not terrible, even though I can’t drive, obviously

“I’m sorry,” Abby sighs, “it’s just…Octavia said you work at a garage?”

“Oh, well yeah.” Raven frowns, “on weekends and whenever I have the time. I rent a room from the owner. Octavia’s brother. And he was basically like, live here for free, work on the weekends, keep your scholarship money for a new laptop.”

“Well, that was certainly nice of him.” Abby pauses, worrying her bottom lip between her teeth before rolling her eyes. “I just have a quick question.” Abby has this look on her face like she’s finally ready to get what’s bugging her out on the table. Raven readies herself for the question that is always the inevitable. How’d you get hurt? But then“Can you drink?”

“Uh, whHuh?” Raven rarely misreads these sorts of things so she feels like she’s tripping, mentally, after Abby’s question.

“Octavia …” Abby licks her lips and Raven’s cheeks flush with heat again, “I was going to order a beer but if you can’t drink… legally, I won’t.”

“Oh,” Raven’s mind goes blankdoes she have a fake ID with her? Does she really want to be drinking tonight? The answer is definitely no. “No, I’m not, er- I’m 20. I’ll be 21 in August. But uh, you feel free to, you know, order what...” Raven trails off, realising that Abby is just staring at her with a slightly horrified expression on her face. And then it clicks, the shock on Abby’s face, her continued discomfort, none of it was about Raven’s brace, it was about her age. She smacks her foreheadmentallyand makes a note to punch Octavia at a later date.

“Why wouldn’t Octavia tell me how young you are?”

“Probably because she wanted both of us to agree to this,” Raven sighs, tucking her hair behind her ears. “I have no idea why she does half of what she does. But she did get us both here. We’ll just have to make the best of it, yeah?” Raven has no idea how she went from reluctant participant to cheerleader, but there’s just something sad about this uptight lady across from her and she can’t help feeling like it’s her responsibility to keep this night from being a total bust.

“I guess you’re right,” Abby shakes her head, smiling in a soft, genuine way that makes Raven grin.

Abby insists on ordering an appetizer because, according to her, it’ll give them more time to talk. Raven hates talking about herself but she agrees because, apparently, they both love the Arkdown’s sweet potato fries.

“So, you come here often?” Raven cringes immediately, like she can hear Octavia laughing at her lack of game. ‘Worst pickup line, ever.’

“Mmhm,” Abby nods, smirking just slightly like she caught Raven’s embarrassment. There’s a flush of familiarity in the gesture and Raven’s heart rate kicks up a notch. She knows that smirk. She can’t figure out from where, but it’s familiar, and arousing. “It’s not far from the hospital, but still far away enough that it’s not crowded with hospital people at dinnertime. I like getting their breakfast for dinner.”

“Same,” Raven nods, scrambling to recover her cool. “Er, not about the hospital thing, about breakfast. I like the migas.”

“Never had them,” Abby says, pushing back the sleeves of her cardigan. It’s a totally innocuous motion, but it catches Raven’s eye, and she’s reminded of those handsshiny, blunt nails curling around the hem of a tan skirt, just at the top of Raven’s periphery as she

Oh fuck. Raven shakes her head, reminding herself to breathe, because she’s been holding her breath for a minute and Abby is looking at her like she’s waiting for an answer.

“I’m sorry, uh,” Raven swallows hard, glancing back at Abby’s hands just resting on the table top. “What was the question?”

“I was asking you if I should order them.”

“Right,” Raven clears her throat, “sorry, it’s been a long day. Yeah, if you like eggs, I’d go for it.”

Maybe it’s the way Abby tilts her head to assess the menu, her tongue darting out to wet her bottom lip, but it all comes flooding back to Raven. Abby’s hands were just the gateway; now there’s more than just flashes of a too-tight khaki skirt, there’s Abby’s fingers tugging at Raven’s hair, her pink mouth slack, panting, not saying Raven’s name but saying please and yes. Raven’s whole body goes hot and she tries to hide her face behind her menu as the realisation settles in.

It’s just her luck, of course. Octavia has an uncanny sense for these things, but not even she’d guess the serendipity of setting Raven up with someone she’d already fucked. Raven peeks over the top of her menu and Abby is giving her this look, like, ‘why did I agree to go out with this weirdo?’ and Raven wonders the same thing.

She hopes that maybe she’s mistaken, but Abby shakes her head and looks back at the menu, biting her bottom lip just slightly and… God, Raven’s stomach flip flops and she’s practically transported back to the filthy alleyway outside of Mecha.

All Raven can see now is the woman she met that night, dressed a little conservatively in a tight khaki skirt and an emerald green blouse, her lips pink and wet with whatever she was drinking. Anya, one of the bartenders, had made some snide comment about cougars and ‘dressing for the audience’ but Raven, two whiskeys in, was exactly the audience this woman was dressed for.

After sidling up next to her at the bar Raven’s memory is muddled. She’s not sure how they went from chatting about the shitty music to fucking in the alleyway, but the next image in Raven’s memory is of Abby pressed into the brick wall, the top buttons of her blouse undone. She’d said something prissy about the dumpsters but then Raven had eased down onto her knees—thankful to all that PT for making her bum leg strong enough for this shitand pushed the hem of Abby’s skirt up around her waist.

It hadn’t taken much to get her off, she’d been wet and wanting well before Raven had popped open her blouse and put her mouth against the thin material of her bra. She’d cried out for it, scrabbled for purchase along the wall until she gave up, sank her fingers into Raven’s hair, and held on as Raven laved her swollen sex with her tongue. It isn’t rocket scienceno, that’s what Raven goes to school forand Raven’s good at whatever she puts her mind to. When the woman had begged for more, she’d been perfectly capable of providing that. The woman came fast, swearing and tightening around Raven’s fingers as she pulled on Raven’s hair. When she went still and released Raven, she’d almost fallen over, and Raven had laughed, hauling herself to her feet by holding onto the woman’s legs.

Raven’s knee-jerk assessment of Abby was completely wrong. From what she remembers, there is nothing uptight about Abby.

“Have you ever been to… um…” Abby looks at her with a wide open, curious expression, and Raven can feel her face getting hot with embarrassment. Talking about sex is easyhow many times has she had phone sex with someone she’s dating? But this? This is entirely different. ‘Hey you remember that one time I fucked you in the alleyway and we never even exchanged names?’ Raven blanches, but Abby is already hooked.


“You know, a gay bar. Have you gone to any?”

“A few,” Abby shrugs, plucking a sweet potato fry from the basket between them. “Why?” She dips it in the cup of ketchup and takes a bite. Raven’s cheeks get hotter as she watches Abby lick some of the ketchup from her fingers.

“Well um, it’s just, you and I have already met.”

“Really? When?”

“I want to say it was June, Pride weekend. At a gay bar.”

"That wasn't me."

"It was totally you.” Raven says, a little exasperated. “I mean, without a question.” Abby just looks skeptical and Raven sits back in her chair with a scoff. “You honestly don't remember? In the alley next to the club? You came so hard you almost fell over?" Raven has no trouble dredging up the memory now, but this time there isn’t any embarrassment accompanying it, just frustration.

"Which one?"

"Whi—what do you mean which one?" Raven is dumbstruck, but Abby just continues to look skeptical.

"There are a lot of gay bars in DC, Raven. Which one are you talking about?"

"Mecha, the dance bar next to the one where the Dykes on Bikes were."

Abby goes quiet and Raven thinks she's got her. But then, quietly, "when?"

"What do you mean? Last June.” She doesn’t even try to not sound offended. She’s totally offended. Raven is many things, and one of them has always been memorable in bed. Or against a wall, in this case, and the fact that Abby is just sitting there with this look on her face like she can’t place Raven between her legs is mortifying.

“Oh.” Abby purses her lips, “last summer was … chaotic. I did a lot of things I’m not necessarily proud of…”

“And one of them is letting me eat you out ten feet from a dumpster.” Raven crosses her arms over her chest, her lips pressed into a tight line.

“I—” Abby covers her mouth, a blush starting from the tips of her ears and spreading down her face and neck. Raven snorts and rolls her eyes. “That was you?

“That’s what I’ve been telling you.” Raven rolls her eyes.

“You… oh my god you were nineteen!

“Hey don’t say it like it’s a disease or something,” Raven frowns.

“No! It’s just,” Abby wipes her hands on her lap and tilts her head back with a groan, “my kid is nineteen.”

“You have a kid?”

“That’s the least surprising thing, Raven, I’m forty-seven.” Abby looks weary and takes a sip of her water.

“Shit, really?” Raven covers her face—her mom’s younger than Abby.


“Nothing, it’s just. Shit.” Like she would ever tell Abby that her mom’s four years younger than her. “I’m sorry, I should go. This was a mistake,” she moves to haul herself out of her chair and Abby reaches across the table, grabbing Raven’s hand quickly.

“No—Raven,” Abby sighs, letting go of Raven’s hand. “Please, stay. I’m sorry. This,” she gestures between them and then the whole dining room, “it’s not my forte.”

“No, that’d be random hookups in alleyways.” Raven purses her lips but settles back into her seat.

“From what Octavia told me, I’m not alone in that department.” Abby fixes Raven with an unreadable expression and Raven cringes a little.

“Yeah. Well. Last year was crazy for me, too. I caught my first boyfriend cheating on me and then I fucked Octavia’s brother. After that I started sleeping around with a lot of girls, uh, women, and… Well, Octavia’s been trying to get me to settle down for a while, now.”

“You slept with Octavia’s brother and she still talks to you?”

“Oh she was pissed for a while, but we’ve been close for years so…” Raven shrugs. “I swore off dudes and we moved past it.” Raven leans forward in her chair, watching Abby for a moment, checking to see if she’s getting skittish. “You still want to do dinner?”

“Definitely,” Abby says, relief evident in her voice.

They order their food and spend the rest of the dinner awkwardly smoothing over the fact that they’ve gotten each other off. When Abby excuses herself to use the restroom, Raven sends a ‘thank you’ text to Octavia because, really, awkwardness aside, it’s the best date she’s had in months.

The last time Raven went on a real date was a few months after Finn had gone to New Haven for college. She was still nursing her post-break up wounds and the guy had seemed nice, until he attempted to kiss her in front of her mom’s place after saying he’d never scored with a disabled chick. Luckily, their neighbour’s psychotic mutt Stacey had been on the porch and scared the guy away with her ferocious snarling and yapping.

Raven’s hopes hadn’t been high for this date, but Abby had surprised her; she made her laugh, asked her all sorts of probing questions about her studies, and never once mentioned her leg. Though it's a shining quality, it's not even remotely the most attractive part about Abby. The woman is smart and sharp-witted and quick to crack a joke. She has her own trauma, for sure, but there's a softness to her still, that doesn't feel fragile or untouchable. Raven can see it in her eyes, and it makes her want more than just dinner and dessert. 

Abby’s looking over the bill when Raven’s leg starts to throb, hot bolts of pain shooting out from the static ether below her knee and hitting her right in the hip. She’d been tense most of the dinner, even though everything after the bumpy start had gone so smoothly, and now that everything is calm, she’s paying for it dearly. She grimaces and starts digging into the muscle of her thigh with her knuckles, the only trick she knows to stop the pain, even if it’s only temporary relief.

“Are you alright?” Abby tilts her head, brows knitted together with concern.

“It’s my leg. Anytime I get all tense it starts to hurt like a moth—uh, bad. It starts to hurt bad.”

“Like a motherfucker?” Abby raises her brows, looking serious for all of two seconds before she laughs at the look on Raven’s face. “Sorry, sorry. Are you in physical therapy?”

“Twice a week. It’s done fuck all besides build up the strength in my thigh so I can balance my weight better. Which I’m sure you appreciated.” Abby blushes and bites her lip which just makes Raven smirk. “But, my therapist says the ache won’t get any better if I don’t learn to relax first.”

“You should do yoga,” Abby says simply, handing the bill over to the server before she can let Raven add her credit card.

“Hey I can pay-”

“You work part-time at a garage just to have a place to live, Raven, I think I can handle this.” Abby waves her hand, dismissing the topic. “Have you considered yoga?”

“You sound like Octavia,” Raven says sourly.

“And you sound like a brat.” Abby purses her lips and Raven humphs. Abby sighs and leans forward. “At least let me show you a few moves that will take the pressure off the nerves in your hips.”

“Will that actually help?”

“More than kneading the muscles in your thigh. C’mon, the yoga studio is ten minutes away. I’ll drive.”

Abby spends the whole drive to the studio talking about the genuine physical benefits of yoga. Raven tries not to roll her eyes, because Abby seems so sincere, and if she were being really honest with herself, her enthusiasm is kind of endearing. She wants to help. It’s a first, that’s for sure, and Raven lets herself get a little excited. At least at the prospect of being close to Abby again.

“The studio charges top dollar for classes, but teachers are allowed to use the facilities whenever, for whatever purpose.”

“This feels like a trap. You don’t happen to have another hobby of harvesting organs, do you?”

“No,” Abby laughs, turning into the parking lot of a little strip of fancy boutiques.

The yoga studio looks like it costs an arm and a leg just to step inside. It’s yuppy and too clean and smells like eucalyptus and lavender; Raven feels gross and dirty again and she absolutely hates it. But she follows Abby like a trained puppy. Abby seems comfortable, at home, and Raven watches the muscles in her back work as she shrugs out of her cardigan and heads towards the door labelled ‘Women’s Dressing Room’. Raven hesitates at the reception desk, the throbbing in her leg so bad, almost-wishes-she’d-brought-her-pain-pills bad, that she’s feeling a little woozy. Abby turns like she can sense Raven’s waffling, her face all soft and sincere.

“C’mon, I’ve got some spare workout clothes you can wear. You’re going to want a good range of motion otherwise you’re just going to hurt even worse.”

Raven feels like an idiot. The pants Abby had in her locker were too tight through the thighs, so Raven’s in her underwearimmensely thankful for the boxer cut she’s started wearingand a baggy shirt from the studio’s lost and found that smells like lavender detergent. She even had to borrow a hair tie from the front desk to put back her hair. Abby, on the other hand, puts her hair in this messy braid and she’s wearing these skin tight yoga pants and a tank top that cuts low and reminds Raven of how great her tits look. Abby doesn’t seem to notice Raven’s ogling, she just leads her through the to a small, windowless room in the back. The door says ‘Free Meditation’ over it and there are pillows and gym mats stacked along the walls. Abby flicks the light switch and a dim, warm light fills the room, making it feel a little less threatening. Raven tries to relax, leaning against the doorframe as Abby walks into the space, looking as comfortable as if she was in her own home.

“Do you want to get down on the mat before you take your brace off?” Abby asks, grabbing a thick gym mat and a folding chair from the wall opposite the door.

“Do I have to take it off?” Raven hates taking her brace off, it makes her feel weak and useless and pitiful. There’s nothing she hates more than being pitied, and the last thing she wants is for her own pride to ruin the evening.

“Mm, you’ll need to bend your leg and that brace is keeping it rigid. Which probably isn’t helping with the pain you’re in right now.”

A little shock of pain makes her flinch. She sighs, knowing when she’s beaten. “I’ll lie down first.”

Abby nods and unfolds the chair, placing it in the middle of the floor before she spreads out the mat next to it. “Lie down so the chair is on your good side,” she says, before heading over a storage unit and pulling bins off of the shelves.

“All of my sides are good.” Raven says it mostly to herself, but Abby lets out a huffy little laugh and Raven grins. She ambles over to the mat and realises, oh, Abby put the chair out so Raven could get onto the floor without help.

That’s nice, Raven thinks as she sinks down onto the chair and then eases herself off of it and onto the floor. Everything about Abby is nice, even the prissy way she drinks water, and Raven is having a hard time melding that image of Abby with the one of her begging to come.

It’s a work in progress.

The studio is dead silent except for muted sounds of their movements; velcro ripping open as Raven undoes her brace, the thump and rustle of whatever Abby’s moving around in the bins she’s digging through. Raven eases the brace off of her leg, pushing back the panic of losing whatever control of the limb she has, and moves it to the side. She adjusts her leg so it’s straight on the mat and then leans back on her elbows in time for Abby to turn around.

“All set?”

“Mm.” Raven clenches her hands into fists and forces a tight smile. Abby moves the chair out of the way and squats at Raven’s side, setting down a clear plastic ball and a foam roller next to her. She looks Raven over for a minute, her eyes sweeping up and down Raven’s legs for so long Raven starts to squirm under the intensity of her gaze. “So Doc,” Raven says when the awkwardness gets to be too much, “are we going to start or are you just going to stare at my scrawny leg all night?”

Abby shakes her head, a little smile on her face when she looks back at Raven. “Your leg isn’t scrawny, actually. Where does the paralysis begin?”

“At my knee.”

“And the worst pain is in your thigh and hip?”

“Mmhm.” On cue, the muscles in Raven’s thigh seize up, making her flinch and wince.  “Are you doing myofascial release?” Raven asks through gritted teeth, nodding at the ball and the foam roller.

“A little. I want to work on some trigger points so you won’t hurt yourself doing these stretches.”

“Are you licensed for that?” Raven asks, head cocked and brows arched.

“No,” Abby raises her brows, “but I have been taking classes. How’s your upper body strength?” Abby’s tone is all business but her expression is soft, her brows knit together in a look that might be concern. She leans forward and settles onto her knees, looking at Raven’s bare legs one last time before settling her gaze back on Raven’s face.

Raven smirks, “pretty good. I can hold myself on top of things for a while.” Raven says it with a smooth, even tone but Abby still blushes, and Raven’s smirk turns into a grin. “Like a foam roller, Abby, get your head out of the gutter.”

Abby is nothing but gentle as she works with Raven, easing the knots out of her muscles until Raven is loose and relaxed enough to try some poses. Raven is used to painful PT sessionsmost of the time Octavia has to help her up the stairs to her apartment because her legs are totally useless and made of Jell-O. One time, Bellamy had to carry her and it’d been so mortifying she’d made her therapist promise never to push her that hard again. But, her physical therapist is a 28-year-old dude who has a massive crush on Octavia, so she never has a problem with being distracted during her therapy. Working with Abby is a completely different story.

By the time they’ve moved onto the yoga part, Raven is flushed and short on breath, and not because she’s out of shape. Abby flits around Raven, adjusting her position, helping her move her leg here and there. She doesn’t feel weak or pathetic when she lets Abby take control like that, and that fact alone should put Raven on edge, but instead she just feels comfortable.

The poses are easy enough, stuff her physical therapist has suggested (as in, one time he gave her a piece of paper with them on it), but Raven isn’t really paying attention because Abby’s hands, warm and soft and gentle, are sliding up the skin on Raven’s back or holding onto Raven’s thighs. Raven’s only human, a human who happens to really enjoy sex, so it’s really not her fault that she keeps messing things up. Abby is patient, like she’s not caught onto Raven’s game, and she doesn’t seem to be fazed by all the touching and proximity. That is, until Raven’s lying on her back with her eyes closed and Abby’s hovering somewhere near her feet. She can feel Abby’s hands on her good leg, resting just above the knee, and she knows that Abby is looking at her but she can’t open her eyes. Not yet.

“Lie down on your stomach,” Abby says, her voice rough. That gets Raven to open her eyes. Abby’s face is flushed, as flushed as Raven’s feels, and her mouth is open like she wants to say something, but her chest just rises and falls, rises and falls like she’s holding it all in. Raven could make some asinine comment or soothe the worried furrow of Abby’s brow, but she’s extremely cautious of how dangerously aroused she is, and how that can easily muddle her actions. So she doesn’t bother to think of a cocky response, she just rolls onto her stomach and edges back onto the mat, waiting for Abby to do… whatever she’s going to do.

It takes a moment, but then she feels Abby’s hands on her hips, strong fingers digging down into the joints. “How does that feel?”

“Uh,” Raven’s blinks, realising, it doesn’t hurt. Well, it does, but the kind of pain you get from pressing on bone, not the kind of pain that comes from somewhere else, that makes her teeth ache. “Holy shit. Yoga is magic.”

“I told you,” Abby laughs and moves her hands onto Raven’s back, kneading the muscles over her shirt. Raven relaxes into the mat, letting the tension in her shoulders and hips go. Abby hits this sweet spot just between Raven’s shoulders, and Raven lets out a surprised moan, arching her back a little. It sends a little shock through Raven and she feels Abby lift her hands away from her body. It’s the first time Abby has stopped touching her since she got her on the mat, and the loss of contact is unpleasant, to say the least. Raven totally realises that it’s a little fucked up to get addicted to someone’s touch so fast, but she’s past the point of caring and onto wanting more.

Raven knows Abby hasn’t moved. Everything is still and silent in the room, like they’re both holding their breath, but Raven can feel the heat from Abby’s body, where her knees are touching Raven’s thighs, where she places her hands on the mat on either side of Raven’s shoulders. Raven holds her breath and makes a choice, turning herself over so she’s on her back. She inhales sharply when she sees how closely Abby’s face is hovering to hers, Abby’s eyes wide and curious and uncertain. There’s this energy that passes between them, like Abby’s waiting for permission to do something and all Raven has to do is nod her head and Abby’s mouth is against hers, moaning against Raven’s lips like she’s been waiting for it forever.

Abby kisses like... like no one Raven's ever kissed before. It's fearless and roiling with desire and so hot. Memories from the alley get pushed aside as Raven makes space for every sensation of having Abby like this. Just touching her is like fire in Raven's lungs, burning her up from the inside until all that’s left is the feeling of Abby's mouth on her own, sharp teeth on her lips. Raven runs her hands up Abby's sides, surprised by how her hands tremble to touch her, but then Abby moans again and all manner of concern or worry disappears. Raven wonders at how she ever let Abby walk away from the alley that night, marvels at the idiot who missed out on a whole year of this kind of passion that's burning between them.

She pushes up under Abby’s shirt, caressing the hot, smooth skin of her sides. A shiver runs through Abby’s body and Raven smiles, sliding her hands up further until she’s cupping Abby’s breasts.

Abby lets out this little muffled moan, almost sounding disappointed, and pulls away from Raven, pushing herself back so there’s space between them again.  

“What is it?” Raven frowns, pulling her hands away from Abby’s body just in case.

“I don’t … god, Raven, is this even okay?”

“It was a year ago, why wouldn’t it be now?” Raven tilts her head, propping herself up on her elbows so she’s back in Abby’s atmosphere.

“Because we know each other’s names this time and,” Abby purses her lips, “doesn’t having sex on the first date violate some kind of unspoken dating rule?”

Raven laughs and cranes her neck to press a kiss to the corner of Abby’s mouth. “Does that mean you want there to be more than one date?”

“I…” Abby rolls her eyes, “wouldn’t object.”

“And unless you’re having real reservations about having sex right now, I’m not objecting to this, either. I’ve wanted you since the restaurant, Abby.” Abby inhales sharply and kisses Raven again, kissing her like it’s the first time and the last time combined. It’s completely uncomfortable because Abby is supporting herself on her palms and Raven’s up on her elbows, but fuck it. Raven’s shoulders will ache to hell and back if she can just keep kissing Abby.

“This is ridiculous.” Abby pulls away, not far, her mouth still so close that her lips brush against Raven’s.

“Is there somewhere else?” Raven bumps Abby’s nose with hers and steals a quick kiss that Abby doesn’t pull away from.

“No-” Abby swallows, “I just want to touch you and I can’t like this.”

“Is that all?” Raven chuckles, feeling a little smug. “Then I need you on your back.” Raven says, biting her bottom lip lightly. She watches the indecision flit across Abby's face, kiss-bruised lips pressed into a line, brows pinched together. Abby opens her mouth but then something settles in her expression and she pushes off of Raven.

“Then you should move.”

Having Abby underneath her is probably the best thing Raven’s experienced in a really long time. She has her down to just her flimsy racerback tank top and a red thong, which is an image that Raven will gladly hold onto forever.

Everything about Abby is soft and sensitive and no matter where Raven touches her Abby lets out these little noises of pleasure, like Raven’s hitting all of the right buttons without trying. She rubs down the front of Abby’s tank top, feeling the softness of her breasts beneath the material, grinning when Abby makes a noise that Raven can only equate with purring.

She moves the hem of Abby’s top up and strokes the velvety skin of her stomach before tracing her palm lower to cup Abby between her legs. The flimsy red material of her thong is already damp and the realisation of how ready she is hits Raven like lightning. She rubs Abby with the heel of her palm and is rewarded with a groan. Abby lifts her hips to meet Raven’s touch, chasing the sensation like it controls her.   

Raven moves her hand away, because things could get out of control really fast and she really doesn't want this to end too soon. Instead, she focuses on getting them both more naked. She pulls her shirt off first and then Abby’s tank top, tossing both to the side with a messy flourish that earns a huffed, coarse laugh from Abby. Raven grins, immediately thankful for Abby’s ‘no back up sports bra’ dilemma that left them both braless for this venture. Abby’s tits are right there, no further undressing, and they’re even better than Raven remembers.

“You’re gorgeous,” Raven sighs, admiring, Abby’s nipples already tight with arousal.

“Oh,” Abby scoffs, cheeks flushed red from either arousal or the compliment.

Raven dips her head down and trails kisses from Abby’s mouth to her chest. “You are,” she insists, dragging her tongue over right Abby’s nipple. She’s rewarded with a whimper as Abby’s hands settle on her back. Raven bites, lightly, and immediately soothes with her lips and tongue. Abby hisses, digging her nails into the muscles of Raven’s back and Raven grins, using her free hand to cover Abby’s other breast. She squeezes a little roughly, grazing the edge of her thumbnail against the nipple, and Abby’s moan is choked off in a gasp. Raven interprets it as encouragement.

She could just keep going, really, move her mouth down off of Abby’s breast and kiss a path to the scrap of red material. Abby’s skin is soft and so perfect and she makes all the right noises when Raven touches her, but she’s pacing herself, taking advantage of the privacy and unrestricted access to Abby’s body. She moves back up, shifting so their chests are touching. The feeling of Abby’s skin pressed against hers is amazing.

Abby reaches up, tracing her fingertips along Raven’s jaw before pulling her into a kiss. Abby moves her hands away from Raven’s face and into her hair, gently tugging the elastic out so her hair falls in a cascade on either side of her face. Raven runs her teeth against Abby’s bottom lip, humming with pleasure as Abby runs her fingers through her loose hair. She could easily turn to putty like this, but then Abby bites Raven’s lip and trails the nails of her free hand down Raven’s back and to her ass.

“Damn,” Raven gasps, breaking away from Abby’s mouth. Her legs shake a little and she shifts so her hips are pressed down more as Abby rolls her hips up to meet her. “Fuck,” Raven gasps, her resolve buckling a little. She presses a quick kiss to the corner of Abby’s mouth and then maneuvers her body until she’s kneeling between Abby’s thighs. She runs her fingertips down Abby’s sternum, over her stomach which twitches and jumps at the lightness of the touch, and then hooks her fingers in the waistband of Abby’s underwear.

“It’s tempting to rip these,” Raven says, the idea sending a jolt of arousal between her legs, “but I won’t.”

“I wouldn’t mind,” Abby mumbles, twisting her hips.

Getting Abby’s underwear off is a little awkward, though, Raven’s bum leg makes anything technical way less sexy. She sort of wishes she had ripped the damn things off, but Abby laughs and helps her, and for the first time ever, Raven doesn’t mind. She just tosses the thong over her shoulder and slides down onto her elbows.

“This is crazy,” Abby laughs, looking down the length of her body at Raven. Her skin is all flushed under the warm low-light of the room and Raven bites her lip, looking Abby over completely.

“You...want it though, right?” Raven is confident she knows the answer, but Abby's all but trembling, spread out and vulnerable. Abby meets her gaze, desire snapping between them like a whip, and Abby nods, lips parted. Raven dips her head down, kissing the soft skin over Abby’s hip and Abby lets out a soft ‘oh’, her hips lifting up just a little at the contact.  She ghosts the tips of her fingers up the insides of Abby’s thighs, skimming along her bikini line but never touching anything important. Abby’s legs and hips twitch in response as Raven focuses on leaving a deep purple hickey over Abby’s hip bone.

“Please,” Abby chokes out. Now she's trembling as Raven’s fingers brush through the coarse curls covering her sex. “Raven, please.” Raven doesn’t mean to be any kind of rough but Abby’s breathless begging triggers something feral in her. She hooks her arms around the undersides of Abby’s thighs and brings her forward until her cunt is right there, splays her hands over Abby’s hips, and licks. One teasing stroke of Raven’s tongue and Abby lets out a choked moan, twisting her hips towards Raven’s mouth. It would be so easy for Raven to drive Abby fast and hard into an orgasm, but that’s what happened last time. This time, she wants to take it slow. She exhales slowly, calming the urge to just lay in and fuck Abby senseless, and presses down on Abby’s hips.

“That’s cruel,” Abby huffs, but stops moving anyway.

“I know, but this time we don’t have to rush.” Raven grins and leans back in, sliding her tongue up through slick heat at Abby’s core. Abby makes a choked noise, her hips twitching and jerking against Raven’s firm hold. Raven moves her mouth up to Abby’s clit, wrapping her lips around it and sucking, hard and sudden, a flash of heat coiling between her own legs as Abby lets out a moan that stutters and trips over itself. Her hips rock against Raven’s face, but Raven is far too distracted by what her mouth is doing to chastise her.

Raven,” Abby whines on a huff of breath and Raven knows exactly what she wants.

She brings her hand up, swirling her fingers through the wet heat at Abby’s entrance before pushing two in. Abby hisses and Raven holds her hand still, soothing Abby’s clit with her tongue for a moment before gently moving her hand. She twists her wrist slightly and scissors her fingers inside, her ministrations slow to match the pace of her mouth on Abby’s clit.

Raven is practically giddy from it all, the taste of Abby in her mouth, the feeling of Abby’s muscles twitching and throbbing around her fingers. But then Abby’s thighs press close to Raven’s face and her little huffing breaths cut off with a curse.

“F-fuck! I want—” Abby’s words dissolve into something that Raven doesn’t hear because her own moans drown Abby out.

Whether it’s the need in Abby’s voice or the fact that Abby cursed, all pretense of drawing things out flies out the window. Raven drops the teasing touch of her hand and starts to thrust. She curls her fingers, pressing up inside at the same time she drags her teeth, ever so lightly, against Abby’s clit so it makes the woman’s whole body shudder.

Abby’s fingers thread through Raven’s hair and for a moment the touch is just tender, but then she grips the locks tight, practically whining out a plea for more. Raven groans, moving her tongue in sloppy shapes around Abby’s clit as she fucks Abby harder. Abby’s breath is hitching, over and over and Raven knows she’s right there on the edge, she can feel her muscles spasming and trembling as a warning. Raven’s past the point of caring, she pushes harder, curling her fingers inside Abby over and over as she rubs the flat of her tongue over her clit.

Everything goes very quiet, almost like a vacuum sucking all of the noise out of the room, and then it’s like a too-tight string snapping—Abby lets out this loud, throaty moan that just dissolves into breathy panting, her whole body shaking and trembling with the effort as she comes.

Raven guides her down, gently, only moving away when she feels Abby jerk at the touch of her mouth. She presses her mouth to Abby’s thigh instead, pulling her fingers out slowly. Abby twitches, cursing lightly under her breath as Raven pushes herself back to her knees and then clumsily crawls over Abby’s leg so she’s kneeling at her side.

“Sorry,” she says sheepishly, nudging Abby over so she can lie down next to her on the mat. “Meant to drag that out, but...”

“I’m not complaining,” Abby laughs, wrapping her arm around Raven’s back as she settles down and rests her head on Abby’s shoulder. Raven hasn’t even gotten off but she feels high as a kite, everything inside of her a warm kind of satisfied even though she’s still turned on. She could fall asleep right there, her head propped up on Abby’s shoulder, completely at ease in a yuppie yoga studio. It’s all a little too domestic and white bread for her normal kind of post-sex routine, but Raven is way too content to care. Abby presses her mouth against the top of Raven’s head and exhales, slowly, like she’s thinking exactly the same thing as Raven.

She really is starting to doze when Abby kisses the top of Raven’s head gently and says, “we can’t stay here.”

“Why?” Raven groans, but she knows why and pushes herself up into a seated position without any real protest.

“I wouldn’t mind lying here all night but, I’m on call for forty-eight hours starting at noon tomorrow. I’d like to lie down in a real bed for a little while before that.”

“Fair enough.” Raven bobs her head in understanding and reaches for her brace. Abby drags herself off of the mat and pulls her tank top back on, much to Raven’s dismay, and goes about collecting her discarded underwear and pants, both of which ended up much further away than Raven had intended. “Can I help … with anything?”

“Just worry about getting your brace back on without pulling a muscle.” Abby says as she tries jumping back into her underwear while walking back to the shelf where she’d found the foam roller.

“You weren’t too worried about me pulling a muscle earlier,” Raven grins at Abby’s back, but dutifully focuses on getting her brace back on.

“And I’m glad you didn’t.” Abby walks back to the mat with a spray bottle and a handful of towels. Her cheeks are pink and she looks vaguely embarrassed as she sprays down the surface of the mat. “I wonder if the owners would notice a missing mat,” Abby mutters, kneeling down at the foot of the mat to wipe it off.

“For future use?” Raven grins, testing the tightness of the straps around her unfeeling calf.

“No, so I don’t feel guilty about someone else using it.”

“Pfft,” Raven rolls her eyes, reaching down to bend and stretch the toes of her bum leg. “No one but you will know. Plus, that’s disinfectant, right?” Abby nods, crawling halfway onto the mat to wipe down the other half. “Chill, it’ll be fine.” Abby turns her head to look at Raven with an expression on her face that Raven interprets as meaning, ‘are you serious?’, but she doesn’t say anything in response. She just finishes wiping down the mat and then gets up, grabs the mat by the handles on its side, and hauls it back to the stack along the wall. Raven scoots over to the chair and uses it as leverage to get herself onto her knees and then her feet. If Abby notices, she doesn’t say anything or offer any help, which Raven adds to her growing list of memorable qualities.

She watches Abby wander around, making sure the room looks exactly like it did before they arrived. She grabs Raven’s borrowed shirt from the floor and then sprays something that smells like eucalyptus in the air, erasing the last traces of their presence. The room had looked homey and comfortable before, but now all Raven can think of is getting Abby naked somewhere else, somewhere better.

Once Abby is done surveying the room she stands in front of Raven, looking at her like she wants to say something but she’s not sure what it is. Raven gets it. They’re both at some sort of crossroads where the next move could take them in any direction and neither of them wants to make the wrong decision. Raven’s pretty sure that whatever it is, the night can’t be over.

“Now, about getting you into a bed…” Raven pulls Abby close and kisses her, grazing her bottom lip with her tongue. Abby’s hands are on her abs, fingers splayed wide. Raven reaches down, taking hold of one of Abby’s hands and pulls it up over her breast, the touch making both of them shudder.

Abby breaks off the kiss with a gasp, stepping away from Raven, “we can't, my kid's at home.”

“Does she know you're on a date?”

“Well, yes…”

“But not with a woman,” Raven finishes for her.

“Yes,” Abby sighs, “it’s not like I’m ashamed it’s just… I'm sorry.”

“Don't be,” Raven says, sounding slightly more irritated than she'd intended, “I mean,” she rubs her forehead with her knuckles and smiles weakly, “coming out isn't easy.” She gets it, she really does. She’s never even said anything to her own mom.

“It’s not that, it’s just… we don’t have the greatest relationship and I don't want to give her another reason to hate me. Bringing a much younger woman home after the first date might just do that.” Abby looks at the floor and Raven gives herself a swift mental kick for being an asshole.

“Come to my place, then.”

“Raven,” Abby looks back up, her expression wary, “I don't think—”

“You don't want to bring anyone home yet, that's cool. But I don't have those hang ups.” Raven steps back into Abby's space and gently rests her hands on Abby's hips. “I want you in my bed, Abby, come home with me.” Abby looks at her, even and unchallenging, and something in Raven’s face must settle the argument for her because this guarded look in her eyes falls away and she leans into Raven’s body with a smile.

“I’d like that,” Abby says, almost a whisper, tilting her head to kiss Raven softly on the mouth.