Calm. Breathe. Relax.
Micah Boselli tried to focus on the positives. They were in an actual room, not buried under anything. It was cold, but not unbearably. There was water up to their ankles. Micah had to admit that one would be hard to spin into a positive. David had the students sitting on one of the desks so they wouldn’t be in the water, but it was still leaking in from somewhere. If someone didn’t get to them soon, they’d have to start thinking about boats. She did not want to die in the basement of the dance studio. She didn’t want to die in a leotard. She didn’t want to die because it had been raining for over a week and the roof had finally given out. She knew she had to die someday, but she hoped it would have a little more dignity than any of those things.
David had taken control of keeping the girls calm. He was leading a singalong that only a handful of the students joined in with, but it helped keep the situation from descending into chaos. Micah wasn’t good at taking charge. When the ordeal was over she would have to remember to thank him for stepping up without being asked.
Her feet were cold. She hugged herself and looked toward the ceiling. They evacuate their dance room on the ground floor when the storm first started battering them. Micah had been worried about the large glass windows being broken by high winds, and she thought they could just ride out the worst of the weather in one of the old offices. They had just gotten everything settled in when they heard the horrifying crash from above them.
In retrospect, she wished she had just gone outside. But to where? To huddle in David’s minivan? She doubted they would be able to drive anywhere even if they had gotten to a car. Being in the basement was supposed to be the safe option. She looked down at the water and lifted one foot up out of it. There was no way the room could fill with water. They weren’t going to drown like James Bond in some fiend’s trap. Still, it was hard not to fear the worst.
Neither she nor David could get a signal on their phones. She could hear sirens nearby, but the sound was so distorted she couldn’t tell if any of them were responding to their building. She had tried going back upstairs to see how bad the damage was, but the part of the ceiling that collapsed left a landfill of destruction right in front of the basement door. When she went back down, David had seen the truth in her eyes without even asking. He immediately started up another round of “Baby Beluga” to keep the kids occupied.
That was all well and good. God knew it was hard enough keeping herself calm without a group of panicking pre-teens to deal with, but she was well beyond being placated with kid’s music. It had been an hour since they went into the basement, and she was already starting to crack. She wondered if she would ever get out. She worried about food, about where they would sleep in a room currently housing six inches of water.
She didn’t know how much longer she could play it cool for the kids when the miracle happened. There was the sound of something shifting in the rubble at the top of the stairs. Her first instinct was that the collapse was ongoing and they were about to be crushed by the other three stories of the building. Heart thudding against her ribs, she moved up into the stairwell so she could shout to David to... what? Move the girls further down? Build a force field around them?
But then she saw a light. A beautiful beam of artificial shine coming through the rubble. Someone moved a slab out of the way and leaned into the new opening that had been created. Micah covered her eyes and resisted the urge to laugh hysterically at the sight of the firefighter’s helmet.
“Everyone okay down there?”
Behind the mask and thick bunker coat was a woman, apparently. Micah pushed aside her surprise and overall sense of relief to be helpful. “We’re all in one piece. A little cold and a little shaken up, but we’re okay for the most part.”
“Okay. We’re going to clear a path before we bring you all up. Think you can wait a few more minutes?”
“Anyone need anything?”
“Blankets, if you have ‘em.”
“Coming right up. Hang in there.” The firewoman backed up. Suddenly it sounded like there was a whole army tromping around on the first floor. Debris was slid across the ground, and smaller pieces were being tossed out of the way. The firewoman returned and Micah went up to take the blankets from her. She paused before going back down.
“We have thirteen girls down here in leotards. None of them are older than twelve. Can you tell them it’s going to be okay?”
Micah went down the stairs and motioned for David to bring the girls over. They held hands to they would form a chain as they waded through the water and gathered at the door.
“Girls, this is... uh...”
The firefighter said, “I’m Kelly Lake.”
“This is Kelly. She’s here to help get us out. Everyone say hi.”
The girls complied, and Kelly waved to them. “I know I probably look pretty scary in this get-up, but trust me, I’m one of the good guys.”
“You sound like a girl,” Tiffany said.
Kelly laughed. “I am a girl. I’m a good girl, how’s that?”
Tiffany shrugged and huddled against Cindy’s side for protection. Micah reached down and touched the suddenly shy girl’s hair.
“Just hold on a little bit longer. We’re making it safe up here so all of you can come out. Won’t take much longer, I promise.”
Micah said, “Okay, girls. Let’s let Kelly get back to work.”
They went back to their safe island and David helped her distribute the blankets. There weren’t enough to go around, so some of the girls had to double-up. Micah didn’t think they minded; hugging each other under the warm, dry blanket was just as helpful to their mental state as knowing they were about to be rescued.
After ten minutes, a pair of firefighters came down the stairs to start carrying the girls out. It was slow going, with each girl offering her spot to a friend before finally accepting her own rescue. Eventually two more firefighters came down and assisted in the evacuation. Micah was the teacher so she remained behind until all the students had been carried out. David was the last to go, escorted up the stairs by a male firefighter as Kelly came down. She stopped on the last stair that wasn’t covered with water and looked around the basement.
“You the last one?”
“Looks like it.”
“Let’s get you out of here, then.”
She was still hugging herself, shivering as she walked forward. Kelly stopped her and said, “Wait. You let the girls take all the blankets, but you must be freezing.”
She tugged at her equipment, shrugging her tank off so she could remove her bunker coat. She pulled it off and revealed she was wearing a shockingly ordinary navy blue T-shirt underneath. There was nothing ordinary about her arms, however. Her biceps were astounding, the kind of arms Micah was used to seeing on tennis players. They didn’t bulge disgustingly, but there was definite power there.
“Here you go.” She draped it over Micah’s shoulders and tucked the collar around her head. “I don’t think I caught your name.”
“Nice to meet you.”
“Believe me, it’s nicer to meet you.”
Kelly chuckled and put her hand on Micah’s back. “Yeah, I’ll bet it’ll be nice to be out of the basement, huh?”
It was, but Micah didn’t want to admit what she had really meant. Instead she let herself be led up the stairs and out of the ruined building, her mind already racing to process everything. The entire first floor was a wreck. She was shocked to see how much it looked like a disaster movie, with the glass front of the building completely demolished and awash with lights from the emergency vehicles. Kelly kept a hand on Micah’s shoulder as she guided her through the wreckage.
The rain had turned into a light mist. It felt so good to be out in the fresh air that she didn’t mind being wet. Kelly signaled to another firefighter and shouted, “We’re all clear inside! Can we see about getting another blanket, a hoodie, something for this woman?”
They stopped at the back of the fire engine as someone came up with a blanket for her. She thanked him and wriggled her way out of the jacket to give it back. In the second her back was turned, Kelly had removed her helmet to reveal one of the most gorgeous women Micah had ever seen. Her eyebrows were thick and dark, but her braided hair was blonde. The eyebrows were large enough that they would overwhelm most women’s faces, but Kelly’s eyes were large enough to remain prominent. She had a strong jaw with a pointed chin that made Micah think of a valkyrie or some other mythological woman warrior.
Kelly looked at her. “Was there something else?”
“Oh. Uh... no, I-I guess not. I just...” She looked toward the group of her students. David had gotten them all gathered under the awnings across the street. “I just spent over an hour keeping those kids calm. I was just enjoying the silence a little, I guess. But I should get out of your way.” She looked down at the blanket. “Where do I return this?”
“Keep it. You can return it to the station when you’re wearing more clothes.”
“Oh. Okay. Thank you.”
Kelly nodded as she finished putting her jacket and tank back on. “Take care.”
Micah started across the street, but she looked back as Kelly left the truck and returned to the building. Strong, sexy arms and a powerful, beautiful face...? She didn’t know exactly how, but she was absolutely certain Kelly Lake was about to become a Problem in her life.
That night, with Alison, Micah tried not to let her thoughts stray too far into fantasy. She was with her long-time... dating... companion... Fantasies were when she was alone, not when she had a fun and sexy with just the right level of kinkiness barista in her bed. Micah squeezed her eyes shut, bit down on her bottom lip, and focused on what Alison’s pierced tongue was doing between her legs. Alison had shown up on her doorstep with takeout from Mediterranean Express, always a guarantee that she would get laid, and spent the next hour treating Micah as if she’d been rescued from a war zone. That sort of devoted attention should have had Micah’s full and utter attention. And yet...
“Babe,” she whispered, moving her hand from Alison’s hair to her shoulder. “Babe, stop. It’s not going to happen.”
“Sounds like a challenge.”
Micah grinned. “I’m sorry. I really am.”
Alison slid up Micah’s body and kissed her chest and neck. “It’s okay. You’ve had a rough day. Lots of stress.” She pressed a kiss to the corner of Micah’s mouth. “We’ll give it a rain check, yeah?”
“Okay. I’m sorry.”
“It’s fine. But if you’re not going to keep me up late, I should probably...”
Micah nodded. “Absolutely. Yeah. No offense taken.”
Alison bent down and kissed Micah goodbye, then scooted to the side of the bed so she could gather her clothes. Alison was young, tattooed, pierced, and rode a motorcycle. Micah knew she wasn’t exactly old... she was still in her twenties, until November at least. But she knew Alison wasn’t leading anywhere substantive. One day Alison would stop coming over when Micah called, or Micah would stop calling, and neither of them would call it a break-up. She reached out and traced the R2D2 tattoo on Alison’s hip.
“Thank you for coming over to make sure I’m okay. It means a lot to me that someone cared enough.”
“Of course.” She leaned across the mattress and kissed Micah. “I was scared when I saw it was your building. But it all worked out in the end.” She glanced down at the blankets. “Well... maybe not all. But we’ll try again when you aren’t traumatized.”
Micah smiled and tousled Alison’s hair. “It’s a date.”
Alison finished dressing and stooped to pick up her shoes. She left the bedroom and, a few seconds later, Micah heard the front door of the apartment close behind her. She kicked away her blankets and got up to go into the bathroom. After she peed she went to the sink and held her hands under the water. She was still thinking about Kelly and the way she looked in her firefighter gear. And then in just the T-shirt. With water dripping down her arms. The lines of her muscles sharply defined by soot and dirt gathered while crawling through the debris of the building.
Her eyes opened and she stared at herself in the mirror. Despite the fact she’d just kicked a perfectly good lover out of bed, Micah reached down and put her hand between her legs. She closed her eyes again to fully envision the beautiful blonde firefighter as she touched herself. Alison had done a lot of the work to get her to the edge, but now Kelly was going to be the one tipping her over. She rested her other hand on the counter and rocked her hips against her fingers, grunting quietly as she remembered how the coat smelled. Not great, of course, but definitely appealing.
“I want you to fuck me,” she grunted. She pictured it, the firefighter picking her up and laying her on the desk. Water rising all around them, the building crumbling around their ears. She breathed faster as she pictured Kelly kneeling between her legs. Kissing her thighs and her mound before she pulled off one glove with her teeth and began to use her fingers. She imagined they belonged to Kelly, imagined they were doing this while sirens blared and the air around them became wavy with heat. Of course the building was on fire. It was her fantasy, so why stick strictly to what actually happened?
She came quickly, slapping her hand on the counter as she pressed her hips against the sink. Her hair had fallen into her face and, when her fingers stopped shaking, she pushed it back over the top of her head and looked into the eyes of her reflection. She knew she should let it go. She knew that the best thing for everyone involved was to just move on like nothing happened. It was just a fantasy. It would fade if she stopped feeding it. All she had to do was move on with her life, fuck Alison a few times, maybe role-play to scratch the itch, and forget Kelly Lake existed.
There was just one problem with that. She still had a blanket to return.
Almost a week after the dance studio’s destruction, Micah was waiting in Storyville Coffee wondering if she’d made a huge mistake. She dropped off the blanket at the fire station and asked about Kelly Lake. The man who received the blanket said she was off, but he could get a message to her. Micah almost ended it there. Fate had kept them apart, so she should just take the hint and walk away. But she gave him her number so Kelly could call her if she wanted to meet up for coffee sometime. She thought there was something knowing about his smile, but he only promised to give Kelly the message next time he saw her.
A brief phone conversation led to them making a date to meet at the coffeehouse. Not a date. Bad choice of words. They were just meeting up outside the confines of a catastrophe so they could get to know one another better. She’d snagged one of the plush chairs next to the fireplace and spent half her cup of coffee wondering if the location was too romantic or loaded with intent. It was a very impressive place to meet a casual acquaintance. The ambiance was conducive to intimate conversation. Behind her, arched windows framed the famous Public Market Center sign like some cliché Seattle postcard.
She was about to walk out and hope Kelly didn’t hate her for it when the woman in question walked in. Her hair was down and she was wearing a black silk shirt tucked into gray slacks. The outfit helped soften her build, but it was still obvious she was a powerful woman. She walked with her head up and shoulders straight, pausing at the entrance to scan the room before she spotted Micah. She smiled, lifted two fingers in greeting, and pointed at the counter. Micah nodded that she would wait for Kelly to order and sank back into the chair.
Micah knew she could have backed out at any point before that. She could have let the memory of Kelly Lake fade until it became as tangible as her high school crushes. But now that she’d seen the firefighter in the flesh again, now that Kelly’s beauty and magnetism was refreshed in her mind, she knew there was no way to back down. She needed a firm and definitive rejection from Kelly if she wanted to get on with her life.
Kelly came over with her coffee and a pair of sea salt caramel rolls. She used a napkin to put one of the rolls on Micah’s plate. “Hi. I noticed you didn’t have a snack. I don’t know if dancers are allowed stuff like this...”
Micah said, “Oh, we all cheat from time to time. And if it’s a gift, I can’t say no. It’s the law.”
“Then consider it a gift.” She sat across from Micah. “I was kind of surprised when Trevor said you wanted to get in contact.”
“You don’t get people who want to say thank you?”
Kelly shrugged. “Sometimes, sure. They’ll stop by the station or send an email. They rarely go to this extreme.”
“It’s fine. How is everything with the studio? Are the kids missing class?”
“No, there’s a high school nearby that’s letting us use their auditorium. It’s not quite the same thing, but it will do until we get another permanent space. We’re having a fundraiser to rent a new space. Do you know the band Radiation Canary?” Kelly nodded. “Their lead singer used to be an instructor at the studio. Our director knew her personally and asked for a little help. So she’s going to help out.”
Kelly said, “Oh,” and there was a lot carried on those two little words. Surprise and disappointment. She averted her gaze as if physically changing tracks in her mind before she leaned forward. “Okay. Uh. I’m not sure what the department can offer for the fundraiser, but we’ll be happy to help in any way we can. Tours of the station, maybe?”
Micah held up her hands. “Oh! No! No, I’m... I wasn’t... I’m not asking you to... I mean, if you want to, we’d accept your help, but I didn’t come here to ask you about that.”
“No, I’m sorry.”
They chuckled when their rapid-fire exchange finally petered out. Micah said, “Sorry. I’m sorry for the confusion. I was just telling you about the fundraiser because I’m nervous. And I babble when I’m nervous. The truth is... the thing I wanted to, uh, talk to you about is, uh...”
Kelly gestured at the plate. “Why don’t you take a bite of your roll and give your brain a chance to catch up with your mouth?”
Micah smiled. “That’s actually a really good idea.”
She picked it up and took a bite. The roll was good enough that she almost forgot about her anxiety. She settled back in her seat and chewed carefully as her mind and heartrate settled down. She was impressed with Kelly’s strategy. It gave her a moment to compose herself and get over the awkward shuffle they’d just gone through without making her feel self-conscious or judged. She swallowed the mouthful and took a sip of her coffee, then dabbed her lips with her napkin.
“Before we go any further,” she said, “I want to know I’m not wasting my time. Are you a lesbian?”
Kelly furrowed her brow, curious rather than confused. “No. I’m bisexual. Is that good enough?”
“For my purposes,” Micah said. “I want to sleep with you.”
Kelly’s eyebrows shot up. “Wow. That’s blunt.”
“No, I like it.”
Micah grinned. “The truth is, I’m not looking for a relationship right now. And to be completely honest, I don’t know if I could handle being with someone whose job involved running into burning or collapsing buildings every single day. I’d be a mess of anxiety. So I’m not asking you out on a real date. But I think you’re sexy as hell, and you... there’s... ah...”
“Do you need another bite?”
“No.” She rubbed her hands on her thighs. “I have this fantasy. It started when I was a teenager. I used to be big into comic books. Superheroes. And I was always aroused by the idea of these powerful, physically perfect people who would swoop in and save the day. I moved on when I actually grew up. But then all these Marvel movies started coming out and being into superheroes was cool again...” She pushed her hair out of her face. “Black Widow, Gamora, Agent Carter...”
Kelly smiled and nodded slowly.
“Yeah. So...” She cleared her throat. “I was in a building that collapsed, and then you came in like a superhero. You were wearing the uniform, you had a mask on, you pulled those kids out, you made sure I was safe. You’re the closest thing I’ve ever seen to a real-life superhero. And I guess I decided if I didn’t at least try to make my fantasy come true, I would always regret it.”
Kelly leaned forward, arms on her knees and hands linked. “So... you want to, what, role-play?”
“Not necessarily. You’re close enough to a superhero in real life that you don’t have to put on some silly costume.”
“Do you own any costumes?”
“We’ll leave that revelation for another day.”
“Huh.” Kelly leaned back and crossed her legs. “No relationship. No strings or complications.”
Micah nodded. “Right.”
“Question. If we end up having a really good time, would the possibility be open for future casual encounters?”
“I’d be open to that. You wouldn’t even have to crawl in through the fire escape like Spider-Gwen.”
“Oh, she’s a... um... she’s... never mind.”
Kelly smiled. “God, you’re cute.”
Micah said, “Cute? Not sexy?”
“They’re not mutually exclusive. I’ve done the casual thing. One night stands. I’m not really a fan. But this is up front, honest, everyone aware of what they’re getting into. That makes a difference.”
“You can have some time to think about it if you want. There’s no--”
“I’ll do it.”
Micah almost choked on her words. “Really?”
“You’re gorgeous. You’re adorable, like I said. And you’re upfront about what you want from a lover. Those are three really attractive qualities. Besides, you like buff women, and I have a fondness for petite ladies who have a dancer’s build. Can I confess something?”
“Might as well.”
“I almost mowed down our probationary officer when he tried to go down after you. As soon as I saw you in that leotard, I wanted to see... more of you in that leotard.”
Micah smirked. “Really?”
“I may have looked like a superhero to you, but you were the one in skintight Lycra. Trust me, the attraction went both ways.”
“That’s a relief.”
“Uh. Right. Uh, we should work out when this will happen.”
Kelly said, “I tend bar on my days off. This Friday I’ll be at the Old Flame until ten. Do you know it?”
“It’s right across the street from the place where you returned the blanket.”
“Okay. Shouldn’t be too hard to find, then.”
Kelly said, “So. You can come by, have some drinks, a snack. We can spend a little time together, and then... your place? Mine?”
Kelly nodded. “Okay, then.” She leaned forward. “Should I bring my turnout gear?”
Micah knew she was joking, but for a full minute she actually considered saying yes.
Micah expected something corny when she thought of the Old Flame as a firefighter bar. She thought of tacky decorations, a bar designed to look like a fire truck, giant mannequins in bunker gear looming over the booths. Instead she found a quaint, cozy bar that looked like countless others she’d been in. The only concession made to their fiery clientele was a wall full of photographs depicting the firefighters who had worked across the street since the bar opened.
Kelly was holding court with a row of drinkers, backlit by the mirrored wall of drinks behind her. She wore a black Old Flame T-shirt and jeans, and Micah realized it was the third personality she’d seen in as many meetings. The professional hero, the casual coffee date, and now the harried but calm barkeep. Micah wasn’t sure which version she preferred; she would have considered herself lucky to spend time with any of them.
She managed to find a space at the bar. Kelly glanced over, acknowledging the arrival of a new customer before registering who it was. She smiled and nodded hello before raising a finger to tell her she would be just a minute. Micah waved her off and waited. She planned to take the time to prepare something to say when Kelly came over. In a perfect world, she would have spent the week leading up to the encounter for planning, but then she wouldn’t have recognized herself if she was actually ready. She was somewhat relieved by the knowledge that their meet-up was solely sexual. They didn’t have to play games or go by polite society rules. They were going to leave the bar, go home, and fuck.
She suddenly really needed a glass of water.
Kelly made her way over. “Hey. Glad you could make it. What are you drinking?”
“Uh, just water.”
Kelly retrieved a glass from under the bar and filled it with a nozzle. “You look great, by the way.”
Micah looked down at herself. She’d tried to find the line between trying too hard and making the best impression, which ended up being a knee-length black skirt and a dark-red blouse. “Thank you. You look amazing.”
“You’re welcome. And thank you, too. I’ll be right back.”
“Oh, don’t worry about me.” She sipped her water as Kelly moved back to the other end of the bar. The room was packed. There was no way everyone present was a firefighter, but there were plenty of men who matched Kelly’s build. Micah tried to imagine any of them as a superhero and failed, even though one man had the very trite Superman logo tattooed on his bicep. Trying too hard, every last one of them. But Kelly? Kelly was effortlessly super.
Kelly made her way over after fifteen minutes. “Sorry about that.”
“Don’t be. You have to work.”
“Only until ten. I have someone to cover the rest of my shift.”
Micah tried not to blush. “Oh! Okay. I don’t mind waiting if you have to stay late.”
“Good to know. Are you sure you don’t want something else? We have sandwiches. Pretzels. On the house, since you’re my guest.”
“I’m fine. Thank you, though.” She leaned forward and lowered her voice. “To be honest, I’m a little nervous.”
Kelly patted her hand. “Would it help if you knew I was nervous, too?”
“Then rest assured. I spent the whole day cleaning my apartment before remembering we agreed to go to your place.”
Micah laughed. “That does make me feel moderately better. Thank you.”
Kelly winked and went back to work. Micah sipped her water and continued to watch the crowd. Close to ten everyone began to filter out as if responding to some signal she’d missed. By quarter to, she had enough space for three other people on either side of her. The other bartender, a blonde man, started taking more and more orders while Kelly spent more time at the far side of the bar tallying up her tips. When she was finished she made her way over to Micah.
“Hey. Didn’t rethink things in the past hour?”
“Nope. After seeing your butt in those jeans, I think I’m more determined than ever.”
Kelly flashed a smile. “I like the way you think, tiny dancer.” She gestured to get the male bartender’s attention and signaled that she was leaving. He waved goodbye as he pulled another mug, and Kelly traded her apron for a leather jacket.
“Leather jacket?” Micah said. “Okay, if you weren’t the picture-perfect badass before...”
Kelly laughed and put an arm around Micah’s waist. She guided her out of the bar and, once they were in the dark of the parking lot, slipped her hand into the back pocket of Micah’s jeans.
“That okay?” she whispered.
“It’s very okay.”
Kelly squeezed. Micah leaned against her for the all-too-short walk to Kelly’s truck. Kelly spun her around and pressed her against the cab, surprising her with a kiss. Micah made a surprised sound at the back of her throat, but she overcame her shock as Kelly’s tongue swept across her lips. She gathered handfuls of Kelly’s hair in her hands and tugged gently, just enough to make sure Kelly didn’t pull away before she was ready for the kiss to end.
Finally, though, the kiss had to end. Kelly kissed the corners of Micah’s mouth, then the tip of her nose. “Sorry. I’ve wanted to do that since Storyville.”
“I hope it wasn’t disappointing.”
“Mm. Not at all.” She kissed Micah again, just a peck this time, and stepped away from her. She unlocked the passenger door and ushered Micah into the cab. Micah fastened her seatbelt and checked her lipstick in the visor mirror while Kelly walked around to get behind the wheel.
Micah said, “Out of the parking lot, bear left. Then go straight until you hit Emerson.”
“Gotcha.” Kelly started the car. “I just want to let you know that if there’s any point during the night when you want to call things off, just say the word and I’ll--”
Micah reached across the seat and put her hand between Kelly’s legs. She cupped the denim and squeezed, watching Kelly sit up straighter. She gripped the steering wheel with both hands, her lips twisting into a wry smile as she settled against Micah’s fingers.
“All right,” she said, drawing the word out to several syllables.
Kelly started the truck and pulled out of the lot, rearranging her legs so they were parted enough for Micah’s hand. Micah regretted her impulsive act almost instantly; not because she didn’t want to be rubbing Kelly through her pants, but because it left her in an awkward position on the seat. She was also right-handed, so trying to do anything with her left hand felt strange. After a few seconds of teasing through the jeans, she moved her hand to Kelly’s thigh. It was a much more natural position and didn’t run the risk of pushing Kelly too far before they got to the apartment.
“Can I ask if you do this a lot?” Micah asked.
“Hook up with people I meet during rescues? No.”
“Then why are you doing it now?”
Kelly smiled. “Like I said, you fill out a leotard really well. And I like the idea of being someone’s hero. Maybe it’s a big egotistical, but I like the way I felt when you said I reminded you of a superhero. And what you suggested, the whole idea of just having sex with no strings attached. I’m at a place where that’s very appealing.” At a stoplight she reached down and touched Micah’s hand. “This is as much for me as it is for you. Just in case you were doubting that.”
“I was.” She scooted across the seat and put her right hand between Kelly’s thighs. “The light is green, officer.”
Kelly cleared her throat. “Actually I’m... uh, it’s just firefighter. It’s a rank in the department.”
“Oh. I stand corrected. Just drive.” She unzipped Kelly’s pants, and Kelly shifted on the seat as she pulled into the intersection. Micah pressed two fingers against the crotch of Kelly’s underwear and put her head down on her shoulder. Her lips were right next to Kelly’s ear, so when they got to the right corner she said, “Turn right here.”
“You could just tell me where we’re going. I know the neighborhood pretty well.” Kelly’s voice was steady, but it was obvious she was striving not to stutter.
“But then I couldn’t whisper in your ear.”
She looked out the windshield. “It’s right up here. Just past Thirty-fourth. Go past the building and there’s a turn-in where you can park. You’re so wet.”
Kelly grunted and focused on her driving. She pulled into the narrow one-lane alley behind Micah’s building and parked in the first empty spot she saw. She shut off the engine and moved her hand down to cover Micah’s. They moaned in stereo with each other as they kissed, Micah’s middle finger tracing the wetness in Kelly’s underwear.
“You’re going to make me come.”
“That’s the point.”
Kelly pulled Micah’s hand away. “Not my plan. My plan involves a very long night. And teasing.” She pecked the corner of Micah’s mouth. “Which apartment is yours?”
Micah looked out the windshield and pointed. “Second floor, on the right.”
“Stay here.” Kelly got out of the truck and walked around the front. She opened the door and offered Micah her hand.
She locked the truck and, in one smooth movement, turned around, crouched, and scooped Micah up in her arms. Micah clapped a hand over her mouth to cover her surprised yelp, laughing as Kelly adjusted the weight in her arms. She smiled at Micah and carried her to the walkway. Micah put an arm around Kelly’s neck and held on tight as she was carried up the stairs.
“Was this part of your fantasy?”
“Something like this, yeah.”
Getting the keys out of her pocket required a bit of a juggling-slash-contortionist act, but she managed. Kelly put her down and Micah pushed the door open with her shoulder as she pulled Kelly inside with her other hand. She turned on the light to reveal the comfortably cozy apartment she called home. There was a half-wall next to the door and Micah leaned against it, letting Kelly come to her. After a moment of scanning the room, Kelly stepped forward and put her arms around Micah’s waist. She pulled her forward, their hips meeting hard, and Kelly kissed her as she moved her hands down to cup her ass through her skirt.
After a moment they pulled apart to catch their breath. “Do you want me to be rough?”
“No,” Micah said, “just... just...” She ran her hands over Kelly’s arms, something she’d been dying to do since the night of the collapse. “Just be strong.”
“I think I can do that.”
They kissed again. Kelly moved her hands lower and bent her knees. She leaned back and Micah took what she hoped was a hint. She hooked her leg against Kelly’s hip and bounced off the other. Kelly caught her and Micah moaned. She thought that sort of thing was only possible in the movies, but she could feel Kelly’s arms flexing against her sides. God, the woman was built. She was solid power and strength, and being carried by her was even more arousing than she imagined.
“Which way?” Kelly asked.
“Oh, um, your left... into the living room.”
Kelly pulled away from the wall and moved her lips to Micah’s neck. She licked and sucked, and Micah rolled her eyes back in pleasure. She was breathing hard enough to worry about hyperventilating, but she forced herself to be calm and focus on what was happening. Kelly bumped against the side of an armchair and altered her course.
“Straight ahead,” Micah said. “Through the archway into the... ha-ah-all...”
Kelly chuckled and licked the sensitive spot again, making Micah squirm.
“Then r-right, into the bedroom.”
Kelly went through the doorway into the hall, but instead of turning she pressed Micah against the wall. Micah moaned and ran her hands through Kelly’s hair, nipping at her bottom lip. She pressed her back against the wall to take some of her weight off Kelly. She pressed the crotch of her jeans against Kelly’s stomach and rocked her hips up and then slowly back down. The hall was dark and the living room light shone through Kelly’s hair, turning a simple blonde into a golden aura.
Micah lowered her head to kiss Kelly’s neck and the hair draped across her face. She picked up an odd smell and angled her head so she could breathe it in better. As soon as she identified it, she moaned.
“Oh, my God. You smell like smoke and honey...”
“You like that, huh?”
“I want to cut this off and make a pillow out of it.”
Kelly chuckled and pulled Micah off the wall. She carried her the rest of the way into the bedroom. “I’m going to throw you down on the bed.”
Micah let go of Kelly and let herself be shoved backward. She landed hard and bounced, scooting back on the mattress and propping herself up on her elbows. Kelly crossed her arms and pulled her T-shirt off. She tossed it toward the wall, where it slipped between the headboard and the wall.
“Damn,” Kelly said.
“Damn,” Micah said, but her attention was focused on Kelly’s body. She sat up and dragged her fingers over the tight muscles of Kelly’s stomach. There wasn’t an obvious six-pack, no disgusting body-builder’s overly-defined abs. From her bra to the waistband of her jeans was a solid plane of smooth, tanned muscle framed by muscular obliques. She looked like a statue or a drawing in an anatomy textbook.
She ran both hands over Kelly’s stomach and then leaned forward to kiss it. “God, you’re perfect.”
“Hey.” Kelly had been stroking Micah’s hair and now she moved to her cheek, pushing her head back so she would look up. “All this talk about me being perfect, beautiful, whatever--”
“I know you’re just a person...”
“Sh. Shut up.” She moved her thumb over Micah’s lips. “You’re gorgeous. When you walked into the bar tonight, and you sat there waiting to take me home, I felt like the luckiest woman in the room. I’m not doing you a favor here. I’m not playing superhero because you asked and I’m a nice person. I’m doing it because that was an easy way to get you into bed. I want you, Micah. As much as you want me. Maybe more. Okay?”
“Got it,” Micah said.
“Good. Take my pants off.”
Micah looked down and unbuttoned Kelly’s jeans. The zipper went down with a raspy hiss, and Kelly helped her push the denim down and off. The underwear quickly followed, and Micah put a hand on Kelly’s stomach to push her back one step. Her fingers shook against Kelly’s skin as she bent down and pressed her face against Kelly’s mound. Kelly stood on the balls of her feet, knees bent, and held Micah’s head in place. Micah licked two fingers before pressing then against Kelly’s folds, stroking them as she extended her tongue to tease the hood of her clit.
Kelly’s breathing became rougher. Micah curled her middle finger and pressed the knuckle against her and Kelly’s entire body trembled.
“Wait. Not yet...”
Micah groaned. “You have to let me make you come eventually, woman.”
Kelly laughed and pushed Micah back on the bed. “Oh, I will. I’ll be begging you for it.” She straddled Micah, naked and amazing in the dark bedroom, and pushed up her shirt. Micah squirmed to get it off and arched her back as Kelly kissed her stomach. Once her shirt was out of the way Micah dropped her hands and dug her fingers into the muscles of Kelly’s shoulders.
“God damn,” she said, “it’s like you were carved! Sorry. Sorry.”
“Hey, I worked hard to get this body. It’s nice to be appreciated.” She nuzzled Micah’s breast through her bra.
“Thank you for letting me borrow it for a night.”
Kelly grinned and licked the curve of Micah’s breast. Her hands slipped around Micah’s sides to unclasp her bra. It was thrown away into the darkness, and Kelly tugged at the material of Micah’s skirt.
“Are you wearing panties?”
“Can I tear them off?”
Micah’s eyes widened. “Can you do that?”
“I don’t know. Let’s see.” She curled her fingers in the material, brushing extremely sensitive skin as she did, and pulled. The elastic slipped against Micah’s hip, and something may have ripped, but the underwear remained firmly in place. Kelly gave it another tug and the waistband dug painfully into Micah’s skin.
“Ow!” Micah laughed. “Stop, stop. I don’t think it’s feasible.”
“Damn. So much for being a superhero.”
“Mm, you were so close there for a second.”
Kelly said, “I’m still so close.” She slid up Micah’s body and kissed her. She pulled more gently on Micah’s underwear, and Micah rocked her hips from side to side to help her get them off. They were both gasping when Kelly sat up and pulled Micah to her lap. Micah sat down, her skirt draping both of them below the waist, and Kelly put a hand in the small of Micah’s back. Her other hand guided one of Micah’s hands between them, and they spread their fingers out to touch each other. Micah’s other hand curled around Kelly’s neck for balance, and she began to rock her hips against Kelly’s hand.
They stared at each other, eyes wide, lips parted, both of them moving in a slow and gentle rhythm. Kelly had sweat on her brow and her upper lip. Micah leaned in and licked the beads off her mouth. Kelly’s fingers pushed inside of her and Micah arched her back with a low growl. She leaned back and Kelly automatically moved her hand up to support her. She pushed down against Kelly’s hand, her own hand stroking Kelly as steadily as possible, but tremors were working their way through her entire body.
“I know I held back,” Kelly said, “but you don’t have to. I want to make you come as much as possible. I want to make you come all night. Come for me, Micah.”
“Yes. Right now, Micah. Come for me. I want you to come.”
Micah cried out and stopped fighting it. She knew her neighbors could hear, knew that it was very likely the prudish old man next door had just clapped his headphones on, but she didn’t care. Kelly deserved every decibel, deserved to know exactly how powerful the orgasm was. Kelly leaned forward to kiss and lick her chest as she came. She closed her lips around one of Micah’s nipples, causing a wave of aftershocks to wash over her.
“You are the... most amazing... person. I’ve ever known.” Micah cradled Kelly’s head to her chest. “I can’t believe you just fucked me.”
Kelly laughed, a low and silent rumble. “You have a finger in me.”
“Can I finally finish the job?”
Micah lifted herself up and added a second finger, watching Kelly’s face as she twisted her hand to press her thumb against Kelly’s clit. Kelly returned her gaze, strands of hair stuck to the sweat on her forehead and cheeks. She craned her neck up and Micah met her in the middle for a kiss. Their tongues met, and Kelly dragged her fingernails down Micah’s back.
“It’s your turn, Kelly,” she whispered. “Come for me. Please come for me.”
Kelly’s eyes closed. She pressed her face against the curve of Micah’s shoulder, and finally surrendered to the orgasm she’d been fighting since the truck. She lifted up off the mattress and tightened her grip on Micah, pulling her close, moaning loudly but muffled against Micah’s skin. Micah kissed Kelly’s hair and breathed in the smoke and honey scent that must have been indelibly imbued into the roots by now. Kelly said Micah’s name in the throes of her climax, bucking against her hand before the tension faded from her body.
When Kelly had stopped twitching, Micah leaned back and pulled Kelly down with her. She stretched her legs out and parted them so Kelly could settle between them. Kelly moved drowsily, as if half-asleep, but she dug her knees into the mattress and braced one hand against the headboard. Micah put her hands on Kelly’s hips and gasped in surprise as Kelly began to thrust upward against her. In her experience, even the best sexual encounter was followed by a brief collapse and snuggling. She was still sensitive from her first orgasm as Kelly’s thrusting pushed her toward a second.
“You weren’t kidding, were you?” she asked breathlessly.
Kelly smiled. “If we’re only going to have one night, I’m going to make it count.”
Micah put her hands on Kelly’s ass to guide her thrusts. They were both breathing heavily, and drops of Kelly’s sweat fell onto Micah’s body. One landed on her lip and Micah let it sit, imagining she could taste the other woman through it. She didn’t expect to last long, and she was quickly proven right.
“I’m going to come, Kelly,” she gasped. “Don’t stop fucking me.”
Kelly groaned and pressed hard against her, and Micah cried out as she came again. She didn’t have the mental capacity to remember the last time she’d had two orgasms in such quick succession, but she was willing to bet it couldn’t be counted in weeks. She curled her toes and put all her weight against Kelly’s body, trembling as the tension and adrenaline seeped out of her. Kelly settled on top of her, crushing her into the mattress in a good and comfortable way, and Micah took the opportunity to trace the lines of her muscles. Kelly’s ribs expanded with every breath. It felt like being underneath a gorgeous, well-crafted machine.
“Do you want me to roll over?”
“Okay.” She kissed Micah’s eyebrow. “I just need to catch my breath.”
Micah whimpered. “There’s more?”
“I haven’t gotten you off with my mouth yet.”
Micah whimpered again. “You’re going to be the death of me, Firefighter Lake.”
Kelly lifted her head and kissed Micah. “Hope not. If things look dire, I’ll just save your life again.”
“My hero,” Micah said.
In the morning, Micah rolled over while still half-asleep and saw Kelly Lake, naked and goddamn glorious, standing in a beam of light coming in through the window. “Holy shit, you’re Wonder Woman.”
“Wonder Woman was brunette.” Kelly crawled back onto the bed and stretched out like a cat. Micah changed position so they could kiss good morning. Kelly tasted like Scope and peppermint. “I didn’t use your toothbrush,” she said, sensing Micah’s thoughts.
“Oh, good, because that would be gross. Considering you had your tongue... and my tongue was... well. I mean. Using my toothbrush would’ve been beyond the pale.”
Kelly propped herself up on one arm. “I was trying to decide if I should wake you or if I should just go. I want to respect our little arrangement. But I also didn’t want to cheapen it. You know?” She narrowed her eyes. “I’m perfectly fine with keeping this a casual, one-night thing. But I didn’t want you to think it was completely normal for me. I haven’t had sex like that in a long time. In fact, that one thing I’ve never done before.”
“I’m a fan.”
“Me too.” She touched Micah’s nipple with her thumb. “I’m a big fan of you.”
“Ditto.” She put her hand on Kelly’s hip. “I know casual was my idea. But I think I got more than I bargained for with you. If you want to go ahead and arrange a second night...”
Kelly said, “I’m off again on Tuesday.”
“Tuesday works. I could... maybe... take you out for something to eat before we go.”
“Sounds suspiciously like a date, Miss Boselli.”
Micah shrugged. “Maybe. Maybe I was only okay with keeping it casual when I was still idealizing you. Maybe I can see through that now. Maybe... maybe I’m not okay with dismissing the chance of a relationship with the woman under the mask.” She touched Kelly’s face. “Would that be okay?”
Kelly nodded. “Sure. I think I can stand a few dinners.”
Micah smiled and slid closer to Kelly, resting her head on Kelly’s chest. She had always known that the shine would fade, and the object of her hero worship would be pulled down off her pedestal. She wasn’t prepared for the reality to be so much more impressive, or that she would be much more interested in the real woman behind the fantasy. She’d gotten the opportunity to have one of her biggest dreams come to life. Even if Kelly wasn’t really a superhero, she was close enough to cross it off her list.
Now she was looking forward to exploring the reality behind the fiction. She couldn’t wait to find out more about Kelly’s secret identity.