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Summer Came Like Cinnamon

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Claudette Giroux is not exactly having the best off-season of her career. For one thing, she got herself suspended and lost her team the playoffs. For another, she got surgery on both wrists at the same time, so now both of her hands are in casts. For a third, her fucking cable is out.

All together, this adds up to one shitty day. The playoffs are still going, and not only is she not in them, she can't even watch them from the privacy of her own apartment. Self-flagellation should be private, Claudette believes, and that doesn't work in a Philly sports bar. Even showering after her lower-body and cardio workout is a pain in the ass -- it took her about a hundred times as long as usual to get clean while trying to keep her casts dry, and now all she wants to do is lie around naked and feel sorry for herself. And she can't even get off!

Well, that's not exactly true. Claudette is a modern woman: she could dig out her vibrator and find some batteries, or she could hump a pillow, or she could pick somebody up at a bar. But -- ugh. She flops onto her side and tries propping her wrists up on a pillow. They just feel so heavy. And none of those ideas will get her what she wants.

She lies on her back, thinking about how she'd touch herself if her stupid wrists weren't in stupid casts. Fingers, that's what she wants, flicking over her clit, dipping inside of her... It's not so much to ask, is it? But the guys she knows how to pick up aren't usually very good at fingering, since they think it's just a prelude to the main event, and if she picked up a new girl, she'd feel like a dick for not being able to reciprocate.

She knows somebody who's good with her hands, though. Claudette knows for a fact that Dani Brière is. They share a room on the road, and everybody knows that you can't room with somebody for two years without learning a thing or two about their jerk-off technique. You don't even have to be trying, because that would be creepy. It just... happens. So she knows that Dani can get herself off in record time, and the noises she makes, and... well.

There was also that one time when Claudette struck out (in spite of her patented "whisper French bullshit in a likely guy's ear" technique) and came home early, when she was living with Dani. She walked into the living room, thinking someone had left the TV on, and that was definitely not the source of the noise. Dani had a woman spread out on the couch, screaming and gasping.

Claudette backed out immediately, of course, apologizing, and barely saw anything. Not the deft movements of Dani's hands, not the confident, almost smug look on her face, not the fact that the stranger was ginger everywhere... not any of that.

At least, that was what she kept telling herself. But now she's fucking desperate. She squeezes her legs together and imagines Dani between them. Christ, it would feel so good. Maybe blue balls can't really kill somebody -- blue box? blue clit? -- but Claudette feels close to it anyway.

Maybe... maybe she could ask. It wouldn't have to be a thing -- just a friend helping out a friend. She'll owe Dani, of course, but they've done each other favors before. This is just like when she took the boys to school for Dani, or when Dani took Claudette's car to the mechanic for her, in a way.

She rolls over onto her stomach and pokes clumsily at her phone until it wakes up, then dials Dani before she can think better of it -- the landline, because Dani is an old lady.

"Brière household, Dani speaking," says Dani's voice, the way she's trying to train the boys to answer the phone.

"It's Claudette. Are the boys there?"

"What? No, they're at their father's. I just try to keep up the habit anyway. After the time Caelan picked up and said 'Yeah, what?' to Homer --" She breaks off and laughs. "What's up?"

Claudette closes her eyes. "I have a problem," she tells the phone. "Can I come over?"

"Are you all right?" Dani asks, suddenly in Maman-mode. "You don't need a doctor?"

"No, no, I'm not sick," Claudette says. "God, this is embarrassing. I just -- need a hand, okay?"

There's a pause. "A hand, eh?" Dani repeats slowly. "Come on over."

"See you soon," Claudette says, and pokes at the "end call" button. Huh. Did Dani know what she meant? Well, there's no time for that -- she has to get dressed and hit the road before she changes her mind.

Claudette picks out a T-shirt and a plaid skirt with an elastic waist and pulls them on. Dani won't make headlights jokes, so she doesn't bother trying to wrestle a bra on, and underpants would just get in the way of her plan. Her purse and sandals are by the door, so it's barely five minutes before she's on her way.

Twice, Claudette almost argues herself into turning around, but twice, she convinces herself that she has to keep going. Hey, if Dani doesn't want to help her out, they can always drink beer and watch a movie. And if Claudette doesn't show up, Dani definitely won't help her out.

She pulls into the driveway, feeling a little déjà vu. The house is just like it was when Claudette lived there, the yard scattered with the boys' toys. Awkwardly, she knocks on the front door.

"I'm coming!" Dani calls back. A moment later, she opens the door, dressed in her workout gear, Flyers sweatpants and a tank top. She wears her sweats hiked up to her actual waist, not rolled down on her hips like Claudette wears hers. It's sort of cute. "Well, come in," she says briskly.

"How's the off-season treating you?" Claudette asks, following Dani inside to the kitchen.

"Not bad," Dani says. "I only had to have one wall repaired." She gives Claudette a little smirk over her shoulder. "Can I get you anything?"

It's four in the afternoon, a perfectly good time to start drinking, Claudette thinks. "A beer, if you're having one."

Dani nods sharply and pulls two bottles out of the fridge. "You see the opener anywhere?" she asks rhetorically, scanning the counters.

Claudette picks it up from the corner nearest her. "Found it," she says. "You'll have to, uh..."

"I know," Dani says, taking it with an unreadable expression. She opens both beers and passes one to Claudette. "You need me to pour it in your mouth, too?"

"Nah, I think I can handle it," Claudette says. She takes a long drink. A little weak for liquid courage, but it'll do. When she swallows, she notices Dani watching her, and tilts her head questioningly.

"Let's go to the living room," Dani says.

Claudette does, and flops into her usual corner of the couch with her beer, letting her casts rest on her stomach. "These things are such a pain," she says, almost managing not to whine.

"I bet they are," Dani says, taking the opposite end of the couch. "Who did you piss off to get both at the same time?"

"God, I assume." Claudette takes another long sip of beer. "I mean, shorter combined recovery time, blah blah blah... but it's awful."

"So what did you need my help with?" Dani is looking at her over her own bottle. It doesn't do a very good job of hiding her tiny smile, which makes Claudette feel brave.

"Guess," Claudette says. She lets her legs fall apart, just a tiny bit, and watches Dani's face.

"Let me see," Dani says. Her expression doesn't change, but Claudette is pretty sure her eyes flicker down for an instant. "You called me, and not, say... Hartsy or Jagr."

Claudette chokes on a swallow of beer. "Don't even," she says.

"Not help with the pickle jars, then, eh?" Dani says innocently.

"No, I do not need help with pickle jars."

"Hmm." Dani examines her fingernails, which -- Claudette noticed already -- are short and clean. "Then... this wouldn't have anything to do with the time you walked in on me, would it?"

"I don't know what you mean," Claudette lies. At least she didn't choke this time.

"You don't remember?" Dani sets her beer down on the end table and -- oh Christ -- gets down on her knees. "I think I was about... here when you came in," she says, sitting back on her heels and looking up at Claudette.

She gulps, fighting down a blush. "Uh, I think that's starting to ring a bell..."

"Good," Dani says. She rests a proprietary hand on Claudette's left knee. "Claud', tell me what you want."

"I'm so horny I could die," Claudette blurts out. "I just -- Dani, I want you to finger me so bad." She covers her face with one hand, embarrassed, but Dani tugs it back down by the wrist.

"I could do that," she says. She moves her hand a little north of Claudette's knee. "Why me, though?"

"You won't just treat it like foreplay," Claudette says. And when did this stop being subjunctive? Probably around when she got Dani Brière on her knees. Oh, fuck, does she look good there. "And I -- I bet you're good at it."

"I am." Dani says it with the same confidence she has when she says she plays well under pressure. Claudette curses under her breath. She thought she was turned on before; apparently, that was nothing. "But how did you know? Maybe you remember walking in that night a little better than you said, eh?"

"I -- maybe," Claudette says. "That's a possibility."

Dani pushes her knees apart, running one fingertip slowly up the inside of Claudette's thigh. "So you noticed I was doing a good job," she says. "Did you notice she looked like you?"

Did she ever. That's part of why it's such a go-to image in Claudette's spank bank: it's so easy to imagine herself there instead. After a moment, she realizes Dani's hand has stopped moving, and opens her eyes. Dani is looking up at her, waiting.

"I didn't see her face," Claudette hedges. "Did we look alike?"

"Not really," Dani says. "Not in the face. But she was a redhead, and that was close enough for me, that night." She strokes a little circle on Claudette's bare leg, not meeting her eyes.

"Wait," Claudette says. She feels like she's missed something. "She looked like me on purpose?"

"Yeah," Dani says, like this is obvious and not earth-shattering. "So can I finger you now?"

"Be my guest." Claudette opens her legs wider, and Dani settles herself between them, flipping Claudette's skirt up so she's exposed.

"Somebody was sure of herself," Dani comments. "No underwear?" She traces a line higher and higher.

"If you said no, you'd never have noticed," Claudette points out. Through a tremendous effort, she's managing not to move her hips, to let Dani take her time.

"Tell me what you want," Dani says. Her wandering fingertip has reached where the leg elastic would be if Claudette had bothered with underpants. "What were you hoping I'd do to you, when you left your underwear in the drawer?"

"Your fingers," Claudette says desperately.

"I got that," Dani says, her voice dry, stroking two or three fingers alongside Claudette's cunt. So close to where she wants them, but not quite. "What do you want me to do with them?"

"You're going to kill me." Claudette starts to reach out to touch Dani's face, then stops. Can she do that? She's not sure. Better not. "I want you to touch me -- touch my clit, put your fingers in me, Dani, please!"

"There you go," Dani says, finally slipping her fingers into Claudette's folds and finding her clit. "Was that so hard?"

Claudette doesn't answer; she's biting the knuckle of her index finger to keep from making noise.

Dani catches her eye and says, "That's no fun. Come on, I want to hear you."

"Like you got to hear that other woman?" Claudette asks.

"Exactly," Dani says. She licks the pad of her thumb, then does -- something -- that makes Claudette groan. "Yeah, chérie, you like that?"

"Fuck," Claudette says, as Dani's wet thumb rubs over her clit again. "Yes. More, fuck, please." She forces her eyes open so she can see how Dani looks when she's driving two fingers into her. "Oh, shit, Dani!"

"You can move, you know," Dani says. Her voice is starting to sound a little ragged around the edges. "Help me do you right."

Claudette has to collect herself a little first, with Dani working fucking magic. "Okay," she says, and thrusts, fucking herself on Dani's fingers. "God, it's not like you need the help," she says, rocking her hips in little circles.

"Hmm?"

"You're -- oh, fuck -- you're already -- better than I imagined," Claudette says. "Oh -- !" She comes almost without warning, clenching around Dani's fucking magic fingers and fisting her hands in the hem of her skirt.

"Do you want me to stop?" Dani asks, when Claudette opens her eyes again.

"Only if your hands are tired," Claudette says.

"Are you calling me old?" Dani asks, stroking her clit just this side of too hard, making her gasp.

"No, you'll know when I'm calling you old," Claudette says. "Like this: You're old."

"You'd think you'd be nicer to the woman who's wrist-deep in your cunt," Dani says mildly.

"Or what?" Claudette asks, hoping she'll do that almost-painful thing again.

"Or I might stop," Dani says, and laughs. Then she does it again, and it feels even better than before. "You said you imagined this."

Claudette's lost the thread, arching up into Dani's hands. "I -- what did I say?"

"That you imagined me fingerfucking you," Dani says patiently.

"Of course I did," Claudette says. "Oh, fuck, do that again!"

"I mean before your wrists."

"Of course I did," Claudette repeats. "Jesus, it's like you think you're not fucking... hot and good at hockey and hot and..."

"And good at hockey?" Dani finishes. She has that little smile going again, and her fingertips brush across something inside of Claudette that makes her eyes roll back in her head.

"That too," Claudette says earnestly. "But yeah, even before I interrupted you that time, I thought about you."

"You should have said something," Dani says. She's fucking her slowly now, long smooth strokes. "Claud', why didn't you say?"

"When?" Claudette asks. "'Oh, hello, my one female teammate, who's going through a shitty divorce, sometimes I think about you when I jerk off!'"

"That long?" Dani says quietly.

Claudette just keeps going; she's on a roll. "Or over grilled cheese, maybe. 'Boys, this is crazy, but I'd really like to be your stepmother!'"

"Claud'," Dani says, and then all of a sudden she's in Claudette's lap, kissing her like it's about to become illegal. And oh, God, the way Dani kisses probably is illegal in some places, like those American states where everything fun is forbidden. She's just as fucking expert and thorough as she is with her hands.

Claudette strokes one hand down Dani's back to the swell of her ass -- or that's what she means to do before the casts get in the way. Damn it, that's usually one of her better moves, too.

Dani pulls back. "Did you forget about them?" she asks, trying and failing to stifle a laugh.

"Take it as a compliment," Claudette says. "I -- Dani, fuck. I had no idea you --"

"I figured," Dani says. "Well, I wasn't sure at first if it was that you didn't know I was 'into you' --" She doesn't actually put air quotes around the phrase, but Claudette can hear them anyway. "-- or if you just, you know... weren't attracted to aging divorcées having sexuality crises."

"Jesus, 'aging divorcée' sounds like you're in your seventies," Claudette says. "You're barely old enough to be a cougar!"

Dani kisses her again, and somehow manages to get her hand back between Claudette's legs. "You're sweet," she mumbles. Claudette comes again with Dani's voice in her ear, making even more noise than the first time. She's not sure whether to be embarrassed or proud.

"My turn," Dani says. Before Claudette can apologize for her hands or come up with an alternate plan, Dani shoves down her sweats and starts jerking herself off, with her hand still wet.

Christ, it's the hottest thing she's ever seen -- Dani balancing on Claudette's lap, bracing herself with one hand on Claudette's shoulder while she gets herself off with the other.

"God, you're beautiful," Claudette says. "I can't wait until I get these casts off so I can touch you right." She tries the back-stroking thing again, this time just using her fingers, and Dani leans into the touch like a cat. She doesn't break her rhythm, though. It makes Claudette wonder what it would take.

She leans forward -- slowly, she doesn't want to knock Dani over or anything -- and nuzzles her right where the tight tank top pushes her breasts into cleavage, tasting fresh sweat.

Dani curses. "Please --" she says, arching her back to push her breasts closer to Claudette's face.

"Since you asked nicely," Claudette says. She tugs at Dani's top until she can get her mouth on one of her nipples. It makes Dani cry out, so she does it again.

Moments later, Dani lets out a sort of high-pitched sigh -- the louder version of the sound Claudette remembers from late nights on road trips -- and topples sideways, off Claudette and onto the couch. She lies there in a pantsless heap for a little while, catching her breath, while Claudette watches her.

"Don't pick up any more redheads," Claudette says impulsively.

Dani opens one eye. "Don't pick up any more anybody," she says.

"I think you've spoiled me for anyone else." Claudette picks up Dani's hand and gently laces their fingers together.

"Good." Dani gets up -- not letting go of Claudette's hand -- and pulls her pants up. "Want to have another beer and fall asleep watching Goon?"

"I like this plan." Claudette watches Dani walk to the kitchen for beer, swaying her hips deliberately. Maybe this off-season won't be so bad after all.