There's a few additional complications to anonymous, no strings attached one night stands when you're an established, previously registered superhero and people know your name as well as your face. Were Jess to think about how this thing with her and Carol started, that's probably one of the reasons. It's a matter of convenience – stress relief with someone you trust completely, who doesn't have expectations or calls you names afterwards or might snap a picture of you in a compromising position and post it on social media as proof.
Positions like this: Carol's head buried between Jess's thighs, which rest on Carol's shoulders – cling to them, really, with a death grip Jess knows she can take, a little bit rougher than either of them could be with a regular human. Nothing's happening yet, but the muscles in Jess legs are quivering with anticipation because Carol is good at this, alternating between licking and sucking, a scrape of teeth now and then, relentless, never letting up so Jess can catch her breath. Then again, she's had years to learn how to read Jess's body just right, plenty of time to find out what she likes and how she likes it.
They're not together. It only happens when they're both single and never during the period where either of them grieves a previous relationship; this isn't rebound, exactly. They're helping each other out, scratching an itch while they're unattached and not accountable to anyone. Convenient stress relief, honed to perfection.
One hand underneath Jess's ass, Carol directs her until her hips are tilted at just the right angle; the other is already splaying her open, for now just looking. She blows out a breath, and it makes Jess shiver, her hands balling the sheets to keep from reaching down and putting Carol's mouth where she wants it – impatience won't be rewarded. Carol looks up, mischievous grin playing on her face, and then she finally, finally licks a long stripe from just above Jess's taint all the way up through her cunt. There, she lingers, sucking gently, while her fingers shift to tease at her opening.
“Fuck,” Jess says, panting, breathless already. “You're amazing. I love you.”
In the heat of the moment, while true, the words don't even quite register -- Jess babbles a lot of dumb shit in bed, and so does Carol; most people do. There are more important things on her mind, like the way Carol's tongue plays at her clit and her fingers work their way up inside her, the mind-blowing orgasm that's surely in her future.
The words don't come back to her until after said orgasm had been had and returned and they're curled up next to each other, drifting, both of them half-asleep. They're the last thing Jess thinks about when she falls asleep, and pretty much the first thing that ghosts through her head the next morning.
Jess carefully extracts herself from Carol's embrace. She's halfway out of bed when Carol clears her throat behind her.
“Going somewhere?” Carol asks, and Jess freezes.
She can't talk about this, not yet. Not until she's had some time to come to terms with it, get used to the idea. But now she's trapped; staying means she'll have to talk, and running means making a scene, drawing attention to the fact that there is something she needs to work through.
“Okay,” Carol say after a moment of mutual silence, because she can read Jess like and open book, always could, and unlike Jess she's the type of person who faces problems head-on instead of letting them grow and fester and then eventually explode. The adult in their friendship, clearly. “Is this about what you said last night?”
And Jess could lie, play it down, say it was a dumb side effect of arousal and she got lost in the moment. That is, in fact, her first instinct. But there's Carol, looking at her all serious and imploring with that expression on her face that means, you're an idiot and a spectacular pain in my ass, but I adore you anyway, and Jess can't do it. She can't deny this. Doing so would mean she wasn't going to get another window to tell the truth for a good long while, and suddenly the very thought seems terrifying and wrong.
“Well,” she says instead. “I haven't thought about it much until today, honestly, but I think I do. I love you, that is, and not just as friends.”
Carol frowns. “So that's... new?”
“Yes,” Jess confirms. “Quite.”
“Hmm,” says Carol, and hums thoughtfully. That's her problem-solving mode alright; Jess knows it well. Ice runs down her spine, a cruel little voice in the back of her head starting to speak up, try and convince her that Carol could never feel the same and she just pissed all over a good thing.
“What?” she asks, mostly to fill the silence and keep from panicking.
Carol rolls her eyes. “I'm busy figuring out how to tell you that I think I may have loved you from the first time I watched you come apart in my hands, that I'm drunk on the way you give yourself over and just trust me whenever we're together, the noises you make, how you squirm and shiver and, for once, don't bother holding back. But it's not just that. You're infuriating and complicated and you're driving me to the edge of a heart attack at least once a week because you don't have any sense of self-preservation. You don't know how to rely on people and try to take care of everything on your own. You're selfless and loyal and clever. You're beautiful in every way a person can be beautiful.” She pauses, cocks her head to the side, and grins. “I love you, Jessica Drew, and it was about fucking time you caught up.”
In the face of a speech like that, “wow” is a rather insufficient reply, but it's all Jess got right now. She says it again, for emphasis. Because, yeah. “Wow.”
“Eloquent,” Carol quips, her tone fond if a little mocking. “Anything else you'd like to add?”
Yes, and no. Because Jess has so many questions, she does, it's just that none of them really seem to matter. “Why didn't you tell me?”
“I knew you weren't ready. I didn't want to pressure you, make it weird.” Carol rolls her shoulders; the broad grin has gotten replaced by a small smile, tight but honest. “The way I saw it, either you'd figure out you feel the same at some point, or we'd keep being friends. Win-win, right?”
Jess shakes her head, slowly, a little exaggerated. “For someone so smart, you can be really dumb sometimes.”
Carol opens her mouth to reply, but Jess decides she doesn't need to hear her rejoinder; there are better things she could be doing right now. She leans forward and wraps her arm around Carol's neck, draws her in closer. The kiss they share is somehow unlike any of the others that came before it, infused with another meaning – not more, necessarily, but new.
Given her track record with relationships, Jess should probably be nervous. Carol is her best friend; there's so much more on the line if this doesn't work out. But because it's Carol she's sure that, whatever happens next, they won't lose each other.
And maybe, just maybe, that's going to make all the difference.