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Gamble

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“Truth or dare?” Lena asks. Fareeha’s sitting across the lounge floor from her, staring down the green, tapered neck of the wine bottle—the barrel of a loaded gun—the seven of them finished prior to this game. Fareeha can already tell, before she’s even responded to Lena, she’ll need the alcohol. She’s not drunk—she doesn’t think anyone is—but they’re all pleasantly buzzed.

Fareeha eyes Lena a moment. “Truth,” she says slowly.

“Are ya an ass woman or a tit woman?” She fires off the question like she’s been waiting the whole night to ask.

Fareeha rolls her eyes. Angela is diagonal from her, laughing into her hand. The doctor really shouldn’t be here. She should be getting much needed rest, not here, being asked invasive questions by one Lena Oxton. Not here, one truth away from discovering Fareeha’s more-than-friendly fondness of her. She’s reminded suddenly and horribly of her high school years.

“Is this really something of interest to you?” Fareeha asks.

Lena slaps her own thighs. “Come on, answer the question!”

Fareeha slides her eyes over to Angela. Angela meets her gaze a moment, and one blonde brow arches when she does. Fareeha averts her stare in an instant. “Tits.”

“Right on,” Lena cheers. “Alright, spin the bottle, Fareeha.”

Fareeha reaches over and spins the smooth body of the bottle between her fingers. It passes each person—herself, Angela, Jesse, Lena, Lúcio, Aleks, and Amélie—three times before it settles on Lena.

“Dare,” Lena says, before Fareeha can even beg the question. “Give me your best shot.”

Fareeha grins. “I dare you to kiss Amélie.”

Lena’s head snaps to the side to look at Amélie who is very preoccupied with filing her nails and not their meaningless little party games. “I change my mind!” Lena sputters. The group of them laugh at her, Lúcio rattling her by the shoulders to hype her up. “Truth!”

Fareeha wags her finger. “You know the rules, Lena.”

“But—”

Amélie stands suddenly. She grabs Lena’s jacket cuff as she cuts through the circle of friends. “Come on, ma chérie.”

Lena stumbles to her feet. “Uh—okay.” They disappear into the supply closet down the hall.

Everyone is howling with laughter now. Fareeha meets Angela’s eyes across the circle. The doctor’s pink lips mouth the word, “mean.” Fareeha points to herself, mouthing, “me?” Angela smiles brilliantly at her, all teeth.

When Lena and Amélie eventually return, Lena is terribly red, dark lipstick smudged all across her cheeks and mouth and neck. Amélie is absently filing her nails again as she struts out behind Lena and takes her seat perched on the armchair in the corner of their circle. Jesse, lying back on his elbows, lets out a low whistle and tips his hat.

“Oh, shut it, Jesse,” Lena says, her feigned anger dissolving into a silly giggle. “My turn, then.” She leans in and spins the bottle. It points at Angela. Lena sets her wicked smile upon the unsuspecting doctor. “Angie, what’ll it be?”

Angela sit ups a little. “Dare.”

“A risk-taker, I fancy that,” Lena admits, a dark gleam in her eye. “I dare you to give the cowboy here a lap dance.”

Angela’s wide, blue eyes flash over to Jesse, lips parted. “Oh, um.”

Jesse sits forward so fast his hat nearly flies off his head. “Whoa there, now, hold on just a second—”

“Pipe down, Jess,” Lena quips. She looks at Angela through the orange lenses of her glasses. “Go on. We won’t judge. We’re all pals here, isn’t that right?”

Angela closes her mouth and gets up purposefully, fists clenched at her sides, and strides over to Jesse. Fareeha has to collect her jaw from the floor. Whatever protests she has die in her throat.

Jesse stutters, “Doc, you really don’t gotta—” She sits, straddling his lap. His eyes are wide, and he traps his hat against the back of his head, coughing uncomfortably into his other hand. “Alright then, guess this is happenin’.”

Fareeha has one question: where did Angela learn to move like that? Her spine pulls Fareeha’s eyes as it swivels, narrow hips rolling to a slow, sensuous rhythm. One quick glance around the room, and Fareeha can see the whole lot of them are blushing. Jesse buries his face in his hat not even half a minute into the performance.

“Fuck,” Lena murmurs, blinking at the spectacle, “that’s kinda hot.”

Angela stands up and returns to her seat as if she didn’t just perform an erotic dance in front of a group of people. Jesse collapses onto his back, gasping, and Fareeha thinks he must have held his breath the entire time.

“Was it really that bad, Jesse?” Angela asks with a coy laugh.

“I’d really rather you never spoke to me again, Doc,” he mutters, words muffled by his hat. “Actually, don’t even look at me.”

Angela laughs and leans over to spin the bottle. It lands on Aleks.

Aleks gives her a big smile. “Truth, Doctor.”

Angela has an impish look in her eye. It startles Fareeha that it doesn’t seem entirely misplaced. “Have you ever had sex in headquarters outside the dorm?”

Aleks’s face doesn’t even twitch. She crosses her arms. “Perhaps. Yes.”

Lena butts in, “Where? Who?

Aleks waves her off. “You only have one question.” She spins the bottle. It points to Fareeha.

Fareeha stiffens under Aleks’s smug gaze. “Truth.”

Aleks laughs. “Fareeha, my good friend,” she begins, considering her a moment, “tell me, when did you first realize you liked women?”

Fareeha feels her whole body seize up. She sneaks a glance at Angela. She is looking at her expectantly. Everyone is, actually. She is very aware of the line of sweat down her spine, sticking her shirt to her body. “It’s too late for a dare, I suppose?”

“You bet your sculpted arse it is,” Lena laughs.

“Well,” she sighs, “I was sixteen, and I, uh.” She scratches the back of her head. “I saw Dr. Ziegler over here.” She gestures to the doctor, but she doesn’t dare look at her. “Topless in the locker room.”

Fareeha,” Angela squeals with laughter, and it’s the most delightful, reckless sound she’s ever heard from Dr. Ziegler, the image of composure. “You told me you didn’t see anything!”

“You’re a tit woman, are ya, Fareeha?” Lena asks, digging her elbow into Lúcio’s ribs. The two clutch theirs sides and hoot.

Fareeha can feel Angela’s curious eyes on her, but she doesn’t look up. She clears her throat and reaches for the bottle again. “Let’s just spin this damn thing, okay?” She does. It lands on Lena.

“Oh, gosh, again?” Lena blows a lazy tuft of hair out of her face. “Truth.”

“What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you?”

“Aw, hell,” she grumbles. She bites the inside of her cheek. “Fine. I was in a restroom at a pub, yeah? Then I was all done and left and I accidentally hit my fucking recall, and I was back in the bloody stall, and these two blokes were necking in there!”

Aleks booms with laughter, her large arm slung across Lúcio’s shoulders as he slaps his knee. Jesse’s whole body shakes, the hat falling off his face. Even Amélie is smiling to herself. Lena grumbles under her breath and spins the bottle. It lands on Angela.

The doctor purses her mouth. “Dare.”

“Let’s see the tits that made Fareeha gay.”

“Excuse me?” she asks. A flush rises from her chest to her face.

Lena makes a shooing motion with her hand. “Lose the top.”

Fareeha tries to interject, “Lena, come on, don’t make her do tha—”

“It’s alright, Fareeha,” Angela assures her. She looks Lena dead in the eye, her gaze almost sultry, as she very deliberately undoes each button of her white blouse. Lena watches each button unfasten, stares unblinking as the fabric slides off the doctor’s tiny frame, baring the milky expanse of her chest and the pale pink lace of her bra and the light dust of freckles across her shoulders.

“Fuckin’ hell,” Lena gulps. Amélie snorts from atop the armchair.

“Live up to the memory, Ree?” Lúcio asks with a chuckle. Aleks claps him on the back as she trembles with laughter.

Angela still looks entirely composed, sitting on her legs, hands folded neatly in her lap, not a hair misplaced on her blonde head. She’s not fazed at all it seems by the several pairs of eyes upon her. Instead she remains somehow the most professional, put-together person in the room—even without a shirt on.

She leans over, and Fareeha forces her eyes away, too unnerved by the possibility of seeing a little more of the doctor’s breasts than Angela is willing to show. Angela spins the bottle. It lands on Amélie.

Amélie cocks a sharp brow. “Truth.”

Angela gives her a quick onceover. “What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done with that grappling hook?”

Fareeha has never seen Lena so at attention. The whole room is gawking at the Frenchwoman, actually, never having heard her speak more than two words in one breath. She answers Angela’s question now at great length, sparing no details as she describes how while she dangled upside down from her grappling hook, trying to line up a shot for a kill, she had a threesome with two other girls. Angela looks all too pleased with her answer.

Lúcio interrupts the silence that follows with, “Amélie, you’re kind of a freak, y’know that?” Lena snorts beside him.

Amélie gives him a self-satisfied smirk and has Lena spin the bottle for her. It points to Angela.

“Dare.”

Amélie leans forward in her seat to level her dark stare with Angela’s. “Kiss Amari.”

Angela’s blue eyes find Fareeha in an instant. Fareeha feels her breath catch in her chest.

“In the closet you go,” Lena cackles. “Payback, Fareeha.”

The two of them get up wordlessly, as if marching off to answer a distress call. Angela doesn’t look behind herself. She just walks down the hall and into the supply closet. Fareeha follows her in and shuts the door. It’s dark in here, cramped, but they manage to nestle their bodies between the shelves of paper towels and bucket of brooms. The air is hot and thick, and Angela Ziegler is topless, and her breasts are pushing against Fareeha’s ribs.

 “Angela, we don’t have to do this. We can just lie and say that we d—“ Angela grabs her neck and forces her head down to meet her lips. Their mouths collide rather clumsily, teeth bumping, but Angela’s warm and the gentle pressure of her lips makes Fareeha’s entire body go slack. The doctor cups her jaw and presses into her mouth a little more insistently, a proper, pretty kiss, before she draws back.

“You won’t make a liar out of me, Fareeha Amari,” she murmurs.

Fareeha smiles and leans in. “Truth or dare?”

Angela’s eyes twinkle in the light that filters in through the crack of the door. “Dare.”

“Kiss me again.”

Angela grins and clutches fistfuls of Fareeha’s T-shirt, pulling her into her body. They meet again, open-mouthed and needy, and Angela grunts and it makes Fareeha wonder if the closet is really spinning or if it’s just her. Angela’s body is supple against her own, the skin she finds at her waist soft and yielding beneath her fingers.

“Truth or dare?” Angela gasps into her ear as Fareeha kisses her neck and plays with the waistband of her skirt.

“Truth,” she answers in a harsh breath.

 “Did you like what you saw in that locker room?”

Fareeha delights in the private smile in the doctor’s words. “Yes,” she rasps, “very much.”

Angela makes a sound between a pant and a laugh. “Do you like what you see now?”

Fareeha smiles against her collarbone. “It’s not your turn anymore, Doctor,” she tells her. “Truth or dare?”

“Dare.”

“Take your bra off.”

Angela’s voice is throaty in her ear. “I dare you to take it off yourself.”

Fareeha lifts her head and grins. She presses her up against the wall, reaching around to unclasp her bra. “Truth,” Fareeha whispers into the shell of her ear, and Angela shivers, “I like you a lot, Angela.”

Angela kisses the corner of her jaw as her bra falls to her feet. “Truth,” she answers, “I’ve wanted this for a long time.”

Fareeha’s mouth finds hers again, her hands find her breasts. She shudders under the doctor’s cold fingers that slide beneath her shirt.

There’s a knock at the door. They pull apart, breathless.

“Oi, are you done snoggin’ in there or what? We gotta spin this thing.”

“We’ll be right out,” Angela answers, her voice hoarse, her face flushed, a few fair hairs escaped from her ponytail. The doctor turns and draws one finger down Fareeha’s swollen lips, her blue eyes following the slow path. “One last dare,” she murmurs. “Come back to my room after this.”

Fareeha smiles. “I never back down from a dare,” she assures her.