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I And Love And You

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They slowly pull away from the curb, finally getting on the road after a long day. Erin leans over, rests her head on Jillian’s shoulder, takes hold of the hand that is not on the wheel. There’s clapping and loud cheers behind them, slowly drifting out of earshot as they turn the corner. Erin can’t stop smiling, and Jillian notices. “Erin?” Holtz pulls her out of her thoughts, and Erin looks up, eyes wide and bright despite her body feeling the opposite.

“I’m okay,” she assures, moving her head back onto Holtz’s shoulder. She feels a kiss to her hair and the hand holding hers gives a squeeze. It’s obvious to Erin what it means. “I’m fine, Holtz, it’s- This really happened.”

Holtz brushes her thumb over the few freckles on the back of Erin’s hand, her mouth turning up at the corners.

“I know. It feels like it took forever.”

“It did take forever,” Erin laughs softly. “Holtz, this is- It’s real now.”

Holtzmann releases her hand to wrap it around Erin’s shoulders, pulling her closer. They stop at a red light, and she looks down to Erin. “It’s really real,” she grins, dimples forming, then she kisses Erin. Takes her time because it feels like they have plenty of it now, but then the car behind them honks and Holtz smirks as she pulls away from soft lips and kind eyes and she rests her foot on the gas pedal and they drive away.

It didn’t take too long to get here, not really. There were alway things stopping them. Family issues here, a few ghosts there, maybe a fight or two, but they finally got to this point. They were finally driving out towards the coast line and then out further.

They drive for half an hour before Holtz feels the weight on her shoulder grow heavier. It’s late; later than either of them want it to be, but there were so many people and everyone wanted to talk and Erin didn’t even want to leave for while. “One more dance, then we’ll go,” she had whispered into Jillian’s ear. Four songs later they were out, getting into the modified station wagon. Modified because Holtz had to remove all things nuclear and their Ghostbusters logo too, so no one would follow them around.

They got a new car after the Ecto-1 went through to the other side. One slightly more fuel efficient this time. Holtz had been filling the back seat up with whatever they might need on their trip all week. Remembering something vital each day. Toothpaste, bandages, pillows. If there was anything she had forgotten she just hoped she could buy it somewhere on the road.

“Erin, sweetheart, there’s a blanket behind your seat if you want to rest,” Holtz murmurs, eyes staying on the road, arm still around her shoulders.

“No,” the woman grumbles. “I’m staying right here.”

“It’s going to be a while before we get to the first stop. Just lean your seat back and I’ll wake you when we get there.”

“Okay,” Erin relents, sighing softly as she moves from Holtz’s embrace and reaches behind her seat for the blanket. The one from the end of their bed, she notices. The one Holtz brought over to Erin’s after they moved in. The one that was made my Holtz’s grandmother when she was a kid. It didn’t take long for it to become Erin’s favourite shared item they have.

“Hold my hand,” Erin says, reaching her hand out as her eyes close, blanket tucked up under her chin. Jillian grabs it, squeezes it lightly as she starts to hum a soft tune to help Erin drift off to sleep.

Cloud nine, Holtz thinks. This must be cloud nine.

 

+

 

It’s close to two hours later when Erin wakes up, hand still resting in Holtz’s. Erin tucks her head under the blanket to avoid the flashes of the shockingly bright street lamps every few seconds. Beside her she can hear Holtz giggle. “Hey sleepy head. We’re almost there,” the blonde remarks.

Erin brings her head out from the blanket and looks to her hand. She could guess that Holtzmann hasn’t let her hand go at all since she went to sleep, but she knows her best friend knows better than that. She has to drive and she wouldn’t risk anything. Erin constantly feels safe when she’s with the woman beside her in the car.

She stares at their connected hands, looks at the way it shines bright every few seconds as they pass under a street light. It gleams and sparkles and Erin doesn’t feel worthy enough to have such a stunning item wrapped around her finger.

“It suits you,” Holtz mumbles and Erin looks up at her. There’s a soft smile on her face and Erin glances away, back to her hand. The diamond is small, but it doesn’t matter. Erin loves it because it came from Holtz. She’s told her on a few occasions that she doesn’t feel worthy of it being on her finger, and every time Holtz just says she was the one who is meant to have it.

“I’m happy you gave it to me,” she says in the dark car, but between them.

“I’m happy you accepted it.” Air catches in the back of Erin’s throat, warmth in her chest. There have been many nights when Holtz has said that before but it never fails to catch Erin off guard. It makes her world spin, because there is no universe where Erin’s answer would have been no.

Erin brings Holtz’s hand to her lips, kisses her palm then rests her cheek there as she stares at the woman driving for a little longer. Eventually she says, “I love you,” with a dainty smile. Holtz says it back, eyes still on the road but Erin sees the shy grin on her face anyway.

 

+

 

By the time they get to their first stop it’s almost one in the morning, their bodies stiff and heavy, hearts thick. Jillian pulls out the necessary luggage; just two suitcases, relatively small. A young, very tired looking man takes the keys from Holtz and drives the car away as the two women walk into the lobby to check in.

Holtzmann insisted on carrying in both suitcases and Erin can’t help but smile and thank her and kiss her cheek softly. Erin checks them in, taking the key card from the woman at the desk. The black haired woman smiles at them sweetly and congratulates them. Erin looks and Holtz and grins, cheeks flushing. Neither of them can stop smiling and feeling so full of love, like nothing will hurt them.

Erin thanks the woman then walks to the elevator, she leans into Holtz’s embrace as soon as the doors close and they feel the lift moving upwards. Up and up until they’re near the top floor and Erin is ready to take her shoes off and her hair down.

The room, Erin thinks as soon as she enters it, must have cost over half of their budget. Everything feels perfect. Right from the plush cream coloured carpet to the crown moulding on the ceiling and right down to the temperature. All of it is perfect, and Erin turns to Holtz who stands near the door looking at Erin like she’s the only damn thing in the room. Erin's heart swells, gestures for Holtzmann to come closer to her by a motion of her index finger.

Their hair is still up in the respective styles, and their make-up is still in place, barely a smudge to their eyeliner, lips still painted in soft pinks. Everything still the same as the morning except everything is different, and that feeling encases the room.

Erin shrugs, “Holtz,” she begins. “If you want to wait until you aren’t as tired then-

She answers the unfinished inquiry by sliding an arm around Erin’s waist, pulling her in close, kisses her with such fervour it takes Erin’s breath away. It feels different too, the way Holtz kisses her now. Different from how it was at the alter, different from how is has been in the past. It’s not languid and easy, it’s…

Holtz kisses Erin and it’s like lighting a match.

Hands go to the back of Erin’s dress to unzip, to touch every part of newly uncovered skin found, because Holtz knows she has all the time in the world right now. Jillian drags the dress down Erin’s body, kneeling down in front of her so Erin can step out of the dress and her shoes with ease. Then lips are trailing over the tops of Erin’s thighs, over her hips, hands moving over her body with such reverence.

“Jillian,” Erin giggles, shaking her head slightly then looks down to the woman on her knees before her. Erin touches the top of her hair, fiddling with the curls. Wondering, waiting, for the moment she gets to run her fingers through it. Then Holtz kisses her hip bones and wraps her arms around Erin, forehead resting on her mid drift, and she inhales as if it’s the first time she’s been able to breathe.

Erin feels the change between them, the room filled with radio silence.

“Jillian,” she grabs the blonde’s attention and she looks up with bright, glowing blue eyes, and Erin doesn’t know when she started saying the woman’s first name so much. The woman stands on her own two feet, hands resting on Erin’s waist. There is a simple yet stunning chemise separating Holtz’s skin from hers, yet Holtz still has her full white suit on still. She smiles, and Erin sighs.

Holtzmann then proceeds to bend down with little trouble, which does not happen often. Picks Erin up.

Bridal style.

 

+

 

When Holtz enters Erin, the older woman makes a sound she wasn’t aware she was capable of.

“Yes,” she gasps, tossing her head against the pillows, arching up into Holtz’s chest. They haven’t been together in a week because of many last minute arrangements and stress, and it feels like it. There’s a restless aspect to Erin that Holtz feeds off of. It reminds them of their first time, an unwavering force of energy that sparks between them.

“Say you’re mine,” Holtzmann gasps, being gentle right up until this moment.

She nips at Erin’s throat, hard enough to leave a mark, and Erin hisses, catches the eyes of the woman hovering above her, eyes dark and dangerous. “Is that what you want to hear?”

Jillian interrupts the steady rhythm with a deep, off beat push of her fingers, and Erin’s stomach churns. “You’re mine,” the engineer growls, Erin knowing the words should be off putting, but somehow they aren’t, it’s just Holtz. Erin has wanted to be just hers for such a long time now, like this is what she has been waiting for her whole life, since before she even met Holtz.

But they’re here now, together, moving against each other instinctively and Erin is strung out on the feeling. She can’t cohesively string words together in her mind to form a response. Holtz has a hand on Erin’s thigh, grips it hard and hitches her leg up further, making Erin wrap her leg around Jillian’s waist. Erin’s hips move in time with each movement of Holtz’s fingers, her nails digging into the blonde’s shoulder blades, her body shaking everything getting hotter and wetter, and Erin is so close. All harsh breaths and weak moans in a soprano timbre.

Holtz watches her pant and moan and then she’s hitting that spot that has Erin jerking beneath her. They’re so close, pressed together, and Erin is on the edge biting her lip so hard she tastes blood and she makes herself look at Jillian. “I’m yours,” she croaks. “All yours.

Then Erin cries out.

 

+

 

They go to shower, to wash away all the dirt and grime and sweat of such a long day. They take off their make-up which had finally started to smudge before they step into the shower. Erin looks to Holtz, sees how blissful she is. Wonders if she is mirroring that same look.

Maybe it’s just the afterglow, but she doesn’t think so.

They get the water so hot it fogs up the mirrors, makes their skin bright red, a interesting contrast to the white tiles of the bathroom. They make love to each other again, the chorus of their soft sighs and hard moans echoing off the walls, their hair sticking to the tiles. And after they fall into bed again, speckling the sheets with water drops still rolling off their bodies, and Erin pulls the blanket up, holds Jillian tight against her.

They sleep like the dead, and it’s only the beginning.

 

+

 

Erin wakes to the sound of her phone buzzing, blinking harshly at the pure white light that filters through the curtains they didn’t close the night before. “Someone probably wants to know that we got here alright,” Holtz predicts sleepily, nuzzling Erin’s shoulder and presses her lips to the warm skin. Erin checks her phone.

It’s Abby, of course. Who else would it be?

Have fun and enjoy yourselves, Mrs. Jillian Holtzmann.

Erin giggles softly, a smile spreading across her face, her eyebrows furrowing as she hears Holtz’s phone buzz from the other side of the bed. “Mine was Abby,” Erin explains, rolling over to face Holtz just as the other woman reaches for her phone this time.

Girl, you two better be having some fun. Spare me the details, but take care of your missus, Holtzy.

“Mine was Patty,” Holtz chuckles, shoving her phone back on the table beside the bed, Erin wraps her arms around her waist, humming into the skin of Holtz’s back, leaves soft kisses there. Then, quick as a fox, Holtz pushes Erin onto her back and moves down her body, pressing soft kisses every inch or so. The sheets fall away from them and Erin shivers against the air, suddenly cold in comparison to what it had been the night before. Her thick, tangled hair still damp against the pillow, and Jillian is handsy now.

“Mrs Jillian Holtzmann,” the blonde calls her, pressing wet kisses to the inside of her thighs. Erin opens her legs at the same time Holtz pulls them apart. “Mrs Holtz, Mrs Holtzy, Mrs Holtzmann,” she almost sing songs, raspy and blithe, voice still heavy with sleep, but god, if the way Holtz looks at her doesn’t get Erin going in zero to ninety.

Amusement is clear on Erin’s face at her little song, but then Holtz dips her tongue right into her opening, no nonsense, no hesitation. She eats Erin out like she’s been starving for years and years, like Erin is the most delicious thing she’s ever tasted, and noise rips from the brunette’s throat, but she just doesn’t care. She feels liberated, and Holtz is rapturous. Hands are tight around Erin’s thighs, leaving hand prints that are bound to still be there the next day, and Holtz’s chin is actually dripping but this is how they love, and it’s the best way to wake up.

Best.

 

+

 

Eventually Holtz’s stomach begins to concave, makes more vicious sounds that Erin that morning, because she wasn’t actually a meal, even though Erin is a necessary construct of Holtz’s daily diet plan. The room service is fast, and they share a feast of waffles with whipped cream and pancakes with fresh strawberries and two sides of bacon, on Holtz’s request. Around the time they’re finishing up, neither of them putting on more than underwear, Erin swipes a finger through the cream and spreads it across Holtz’s inner thighs. Licks it up, groans at the way Holtz’s hands weave through her locks of hair. Erin devours her, gives back to Holtz just as good as she got.

 

+

 

By the time they’ve finished it’s already after lunch, but according to Holtzmann it’s all on her schedule, so they leave the hotel again early afternoon, setting off on their trip. Hartford is nice, but Holtz is eager to get out on the road. They’re driving again, Holtz still not telling Erin where they’re headed, but they’re happy. Deliriously happy.

When they stop in the early evening for food Holtz grabs Erin’s hand as they walk down a main street, trying to find some small place that appeals to them. They find a quaint café, tables on the sidewalk outside with small candles, and it’s perfect. They steal food off each other’s plates, ignoring the glances of people who smile as they walk past.

Beneath the table, their feet play, and Erin’s cells convulse with how much is all still unknown. She’d been open to letting Holtzmann plan their honeymoon, giving her complete freedom, but she’s itching to know. Organisation works for Erin, and the reigns have been taken from her, she feels like she’s lost, but blissfully so.

“Can I give educated guesses, and then you tell me if I’m close?” Erin suggests. Holtz snickers, denying her with a shake of her head, leaning back into her chair. Erin sighs tiredly with a roll of her eyes.

“I like it when you’re not in control. You get antsy,” Holtz grins, a wild look in her eyes. “I really enjoy that.” Erin smirks, and after a moment she leans in, rests her elbows on the table.

“I have it on good authority that you love it when when I’m in control,” Erin observes, a glint in her eye, the corners of her mouth turning up in amusement. Holtz smirks.

“Different type of control,” Holtzmann murmurs, almost a growl, then she winks and Erin feels her heart skip a beat. Then just as fast as Erin’s heart stopped, Holtz moves to stand, pulling some money out her pocket and leaves it on the table. Her hand is out, ready for Erin to take it, so she does.

Street lights shine a path back to their car, the glow making Erin’s hair shine and Holtzmann’s eyes twinkle, and Erin just feels content. She stops Holtz in the street, pushes stray hair back behind her ear, puts her arms around the blonde’s waist, and starts dancing. There’s no music, but she doesn’t need it. Erin feels music in her heart, and she knows Holtz will start to hum something to her.

So Holtz does, without pause, without fail, she rests her head on Erin’s shoulder, and hums a tune. Erin knows this one too, sighs into Holtz’s hair because it’s for her, just her. For just tonight.

They dance slowly down the street back to the car, Holtz singing the chorus to the song, Erin twirling in her arms every so often. “I like dancing with you,” Erin confesses, Holtz stops them.

“You don’t do it often,” she replies, pulling away from Erin’s embrace, searching for the car keys because, as Erin observes, they’ve reached the car. The physicist tries to hide her disappointment, does a horrible job, but she was dancing, and it was a moment. One she wants to replay already, and it just ended. That’s what Jillian does to her.

“I did it last night,” Erin pouts, jutting her bottom lip out.

“It’s kind of tradition to do it though,” Holtz shrugs, moves her head side to side, almost making a point. “You should dance with me more.” Erin can't argue that she doesn’t like it, and she smiles.

“Okay, I’ll dance more with you.”

Holtzmann cheers, throws her arms in the air and spins on one foot. “Item one, get Erin to dance with me more, check!”

Heat rises in Erin’s cheeks as she goes to hug Holtz, holding tight she nuzzles her face into the woman’s neck, whispers, “My mom was happy at the reception, you know.”

“She loves you.” Holtzmann tells her this, stern, not asking for a response, as she knows Erin always argues back. Her words are true and unfiltered and it’s not often Erin is graced with this version of Holtz, but here she is, open and willing and Erin doesn’t know how she ended up with someone so perfect, after all she’s been through.

They stand there, chest to chest, and Erin starts to shiver. “Let’s get on the road huh, I know about a place not far from here,” Jillian tells her, and Erin plants a kiss on her lips, soft but strong. Almost a thank you, and Holtz knows what it’s for, Erin doesn’t need to say it.

 

+

 

Daylight is just breaking when Holtz shakes her awake, telling her, “Get dressed.”

“What?” Erin mumbles groggily, disorientated and glancing at the clock. She’s had five hours of sleep. “Jill, what the fuck?”

“Come on,” the woman beckons, jumps even. “We’ve gotta get in the car now if we’re going to reach the place by sunset.”

“Sunset?”

“Yes, sunset. Babe, I know you just woke up but you’ve gotta move your cute ass, like, now,” she grins, impatient.

You kept me awake last night,” she accuses, pushing her bangs out her eyes and rolling over to stand on lug legs, completely naked.

Holtz scoffs, disbelieving, and Erin can tell she’s had her morning coffee, which Erin finds mean as hell. “I did tell you we needed to get to sleep, you’re the one who wanted it so bad.”

She realises what she’s said about three seconds after she has said it. “I mean-

“Oh no, you’re not getting away with that. I’ll remember that later Jillian Holtzmann.”

Erin proceeds to slam the bathroom door shut, and Holtz wants to kick herself just thinking about what she could be in for later.

She’s really done it this time.

 

+

 

They’ve been on the road all morning and Erin hasn’t been asked to drive yet, so Erin asks every ten minutes if Holtz wants to take a break but the blonde keeps resisting, saying Erin will get them lost with a chuckle on her tongue.

“I’m not going get us lost. You can tell me where I’m going,” she says, making a fair point, Holtz knows it, there’s just one thing that’s a problem.

“Yeah, except I don’t really know where I’m going,” she confesses, awkwardly smiling with a tug of her lips.

Erin whips her head around. Glares at Holtz like her world is about to end. “What do you mean, Jill?” she speaks, voice low and rough, just frightening enough to send a chill down Jillian’s spine.

“I know where we’re going to end up, I just don’t know how to get there,” she pauses, narrows her eyes. “Yet.

“Okay, where are we going? I’ll get it up on maps,” Erin reaches for her phone, but Holtz pushes her hand down and takes the phone from her hands, deposits it in the glove compartment, and then takes out a map. It’s ripped at the corners and in the creases, there are pen marks all over it, it’s a very old map and Holtz gives it to Erin.

“There’s only one way to do a road trip,” Holtz announces haughtily. “And it’s got nothing to do with technology, for once,” she goes on, looking at Erin from across the car. “Plus, I kind of wanted to see if you fit the stereotype of being the wife with horrible navigating skills.”

Erin rolls the map up and swats her with it, laughs too, carefree and hair flying, and she’s left with no breath in her lungs and a kiss on Holtz’s cheek.

 

+

 

Holtzmann turns onto a few small roads that Erin finds hard to hold back from asking why she’s doing it. She doesn’t know where Holtz is going, and it worries her, forms a knot in her stomach but then Holtz places her hand on Erin’s thigh and tells her, “Not long now. There’s this place I heard of,” and Erin feels fine again. Trusting Jillian is one of the only constants in her life.

They drive for half an hour longer, the road they travel along  is encompassed in tall, leaning trees and bushes, and all Erin can see is green and the road ahead of them. She doesn’t know where they’re going but in this moment she finds that she doesn’t care, because it’s beautiful, and she’s there, right in the middle of it all. It’s a bout of silence when she looks over to Holtz, leaves her pulse to the erratic tick of this woman and her pronounced jaw, notices that her collarbones are visible under her loose shirt and she thinks about what it would be like if she were to lean over and lick- and that’s when Erin remembers what she’s wearing.

So, okay, maybe some of this had been planned out.

Revenge is sweet like honey, and all it takes is Erin brushing her hands over her thighs for Holtz to shoot a look in her direction. The skirt she wears is a deep crimson, something she’d sure Holtz has never seen before, and it ends two inches above her knees. She drags it up quietly. “Erin,” the blonde murmurs, voice thick and wanting.

Sunlights filters through the trees, casts bright splotches over her skin.

She drags the skirt up until her tanned, unblemished thighs are in full view. Brushes her fingers over them with a lover’s touch. Doesn’t look at Jillian, but can hear the way she takes in air like she’s suffocating, like she’s about to take her last breath. “What are you doing?” she asks, but she already knows.

Victim to circumstance, really.

Erin parts her knees, and slips a hand between her legs.

Holtz groans, loud, and clenches the steering wheel. “Erin, are you-

“Wearing underwear?” Erin lifts her fingers to her mouth, drags her gaze up to Holtz, hopes, fleetingly, that they do not crash in the next few seconds. She sucks on them, licks them clean of her juices. “No,” she answers with almost a child like innocence, then speaks slowly, just so Holtz processes it. “Why would I? I wouldn’t want to ruin them. Didn't you know? I just want you so bad.”

Holtz pulls over immediately, turns the engine off and unbuckles her seatbelt. Leans over to Erin and kisses her. Presses her lips against the brunette’s so hard it could bruise, nips at her lips then draws her tongue over the spots to soothe. Erin’s hand snakes down to her belt buckle, it undoes with a snap and whips back to it’s rightful place behind the seat.

It doesn’t take Erin any time to decide to push Holtz back, to tell her to take her pants off and rest her legs over Erin’s shoulders, because after all, “I really do want you bad, Holtz,” she tells her with a wicked grin and a lick of her lips.

“Be quick, we’re on a tight schedule,” Holtz breathes, hot and heavy as she bends and curves to find a comfortable position in the front seat of the fucking car, but she honestly does not care. Not a bit.

Something between the two seats digs into Erin’s stomach, probably the handbrake but she ignores it. Ignores the way it presses into a rib or two because the heel of Holtz’s foot is digging into her back, right between her shoulder blades, the other planted on the floor over at Erin’s side of the car. All Erin can feel is the way Holtz’s wetness drips down her chin, the way Holtz’s thigh tenses up and trembles against her cheek, it’s all she feels. All she knows.

Words rip from Holtz’s throat and Erin can only groan against her, not daring to pull away for a second.

“Harder, please, Erin.”

“Don’t s-stop.”

“Fuck, right there, faster.”

The car horn blares, but Erin can only just hear it betweens Jill’s sounds.

“Faster, Erin, fuck.”

“Faster, faster, uh faster!”

Holtz comes, yells out in pure pleasure and want and need. Erin feels numb from the wrists down, apart from one exception; she can feel Holtz still clenching and holding on, the blonde whispering, “Don’t move.”

Erin kisses the woman’s centre softly, slowly pulls her fingers away. Holtz looks down at Erin, watches a smirk form on her face, notices how her eyes are dark and satisfied.

The physicist sits back up, all too casually straightens her skirt and crosses her legs as she buckles up her seatbelt again. Holtzmann barely moves, hands still gripping the steering wheel and  the back of her seat, mouth dropped open.

“Well?” Erin questions, looking out the windscreen expectantly.

“What?”

“Are you going to drive again? I thought you said we’re on a schedule.”

Holtz stutters, mumbles something under her breath, tries to find the connection in what just happened but comes up short, which has Erin grinning.

“Unbelievable,” Holtz whispers.

 

+

 

It’s dark by the time they reach Holtz’s destination, Erin has no idea where they are, even though she directed them here. Jillian tells Erin that Gorin gave her the keys and that it’s theirs for however long they want to stay. It’s a small cabin like place with a big deck that overlooks… Nothing. Erin can see nothing but darkness, and it almost terrifies her, but Holtz wraps an arm around her waist and tells her to wait until the morning to see the view.

Erin waits, and walks out to the balcony in the morning, stunned. Absolutely floored because there’s nothing but the open sky and a vast valley shrouded my the morning mist that drops into an abyss that Erin finds almost comforting. It’s the world’s most private area, it’s just her and Holtzmann and she doesn’t know how to be more grateful.

Yet two days later the quiet and loneliness is oppressive, seeps into Erin’s bones because it’s so different from the booming city that never stops. Erin thinks she’s had just about as much as she can handle and that’s when Jillian announces it’ll be their last night, they’ll leave in the morning. Still, a part of Erin enjoys the chance to be left alone to her thoughts, and on that last night Holtz takes her hand and they travel through a beaten path, right into a clearing with cut grass. Erin can hear the faint sound of a creek trickling as she wonders if there’s snakes and spiders, but Jill assures her she’ll protect Erin, and it’s chivalrous and kind and so Holtz, and how she’s in love with her, how she loves.

They lay down a blanket and watch the stars, so cliché and overdone, and that’s when Holtz starts speaking with no filter, nothing holding her back. Erin knows she rarely does this, thinks back to the only time she has ever seen Holtz do this. Straight out a romance movie, heavy talks and soft kisses. She starts talking and doesn’t stop until she’s through.

“I kept wondering,” Jillian mutters, Erin’s head resting on her chest, arms wrapped around her tight and unwavering. “If I would ever find someone who loves me back as much as I love them. It plagued me, broke me sometimes. I thought maybe I wouldn’t ever find someone who understands me as I am, not on the inside,” Holtz swallows hard, stares at the sky. “But then you came along.”

“I really believe we were meant to find each other,” she continues after a moment, words coming out easier. “We fit, Erin. Like we were made for each other, and what amazes me is that I know you know it, too. It’s not just me making this up.”

“Jill, I-

“No,” she stops Erin, pressing a kiss to her forehead. “You don’t have to say anything, I’m just glad you’re here. I only wanted to tell you that I love you, and I don’t think our love will ever die, simply because you love me just the way I am, and I love you just as you are.” Instead of trying to say anything else, Erin manoeuvres to straddle Holtzmann, and the engineer’s mouth drops open an inch or so. “Erin, we’re in a field!”

“Shut up, Holtz,” she growls, hands not hesitating to find the zipper on her pants, fingers slipping into the band of her cotton briefs, lips pressing against her neck, teeth nipping her ear lobe. “You’re my wife and I don’t give a fuck.”

Holtz cries out.

 

+

 

The next destination just happens, because Erin gets too restless to stay in the car any longer, and Holtz is getting tired too, not that she’d admit it. Erin knows they’re in Colorado but not sure on exactly where but wherever it is, it’s beautiful.

They find a hotel, one that’s hidden against the edge of a mountain, and Erin knows it’ll cost too much for one night but Jillian assures her it’s okay, and it’s what a honeymoon is for, after all. By the time they move their bags upstairs it’s early evening and Erin wants to walk. “I’m sick of being in that car,” she reasons with Holtz. Wraps her arms around her neck, the lack of close physical contact taking its toll on her, and Holtzmann too, because she squeezes Erin and leaves a lingering kiss on her neck.

“Let’s go,” the engineer says, walks out of the hotel, hand in hand with Erin.

They walk down the main street of the town, too late in the day for stores to be open but fairy lights are strung up in trees and shop windows, and Erin can see the stars in the sky when she looks up, thinks about how it looks like a mirror image. Wonders how she found Jillian, with all the people in the world around them, how she, Erin Gilbert, found her soulmate.

Not that she believes in these things, but how nice it is to find someone that you feel so close to, someone who understands you and takes you as you are because that’s exactly why they love you. Deep inside her mind, Erin knows it was written in the stars, so she looks up and says a silent thank you for bringing her the love of her life.

Holtz squeezes her hand, brings her back down to Earth and gestures to a small bar they pass. Erin nods, smiles softly.

They share a plate of fries and get drunk on the cheapest wine they can get, and for the life of her, Erin thinks maybe it wouldn’t hurt to not be the responsible one for once, since she’s there and all, and this ladies and gentleman is how she finds herself skipping down the street back to the hotel singing silly songs to Holtz, twirling around lampposts like she’s in a musical, Holtz chasing after her and laughing. The sound is so big and bright and Erin never wants to hear anything else for her entire life.

Erin takes Holtzmann’s hands, spins around with her while singing some melody from The Sound of Music, then something drops on her forehead and it’s wet, and Erin is ready to scream about what it could possibly be because they are walking under trees sporadically but then-

“It’s raining,” Holtz says, looks up to the sky and puts her hand out, palm up, waiting for another drop. Erin pauses, feels a rain drop fall on the top of her head. She grins, idea lighting up in her mind like a goddamn lightbulb.

“Race you back?” she asks, stepping backwards slowly, watches as Jillian starts to grin and move forward herself.

“Last one there is the rotten egg,” she yells, starts running and rushes ahead of Erin. She turns and chases after Holtz, catching up in no time.

“I have longer legs, I’ll see you there,” she breathes, runs faster, pushes harder, and Holtz laughs again, music to Erin’s ears.

Erin gets to the hotel seconds before Holtz, slowing down as she gets to the revolving door, rests her hands on her knees trying to catch her breath, hair stuck to the back of her neck and clothes plastered against her skin. It’s pouring down, but she doesn’t care. Except Holtz runs straight past her, yelling, “First one to the room!”

“That’s not we said, Holtz. Holtz!” Watches as Holtz smirks at her behind the glass, and Erin races inside after her.

They push into the elevator together, and Erin psychs herself up to sprint when the doors open at their floor. Almost rushes out when the elevator stops on a lower floor to let someone else in.

Erin notices her uniform first, and then her short brunette hair, and tiny stature. Erin thinks she looks like a travel-size version of herself just as this stranger shoots a look to Holtz, eyes her up and down, and fucking smiles. The way only Erin does these days.

She’s not the jealous type, not so much anymore. The cheap wine and the thrill of racing Holtz has given her an edge tonight, something inherently reckless about her. Something about this tiny woman is making her feel unhinged, and something strikes her hard and in the gut, in her alcohol induced haze, how the woman sharing the elevator had looked at Holtz when they were waiting to be given a room key, and why is she going up to their floor? Erin wonders. Holtz is wearing a ring. Her ring. The ring Erin had given her. And this other woman, in all her gall, is still looking at Holtz like she’s a piece of meat.

Erin sways closer to Holtz, perhaps it’s because she’s drunk, but this woman looks to Erin and Erin looks to her, and seriously, Erin is not jealous. She got the girl, and currently she no longer feels insecure about herself or her life, far from it, so the thing that happens next is kind of an outlier for Erin’s existence right now.

She proceeds to kindly grab Holtz’s ass.

And that woman chokes on air.

Holtzmann, standing there like oblivious lesbian she is, pulls Erin in for a kiss, unashamed of the fact the numbers are climbing and there’s someone else in their presence- Holtz pushes her up against the wall of the elevator, grabs her hand and winds their fingers together, pushes her legs up around her waist and kisses the hell out of her. Erin moans loudly, just for the show. Erin kisses her back, and there’s this juvenile and kept part of her that revels in the thrill of publicity, which Holtz seems to bring out in her. She thinks mine, mine, mine, nice try lady, but she’s mine.

This smaller brunette woman practically runs from the elevator when the doors open, but by then Erin has forgotten she was even there in the first place. And as Holtz realises the doors are open she pulls away, walks out backwards whispering, “I’m going to win, and as my prize I want you, naked and sitting on my face. Deal?”

Erin’s knees go weak, but it’s fine, because she’s letting Holtz win this. She walks to their door, which has been left open. Erin finds Holtz already partially undressed standing by the bed, waiting for her.

“As promised,” Erin undresses, pushes Holtz down on the bed, straddles her face in no nonsense style, knees barely touching her ears.

“I can’t believe you actually-“ Erin cuts her off by bending down slightly.

“Shut up,” she smirks, notices how dark Jillian’s eyes become in an instant, has no time to say more as Holtz begins nipping and licking.

And when Erin screams, she hopes that woman from the elevator can hear her.

 

+

 

They leave the next day, later in the morning, Erin too sore to move much before a long, hot shower. Erin sits across from Holtzmann as they fly down the road and eats one pringle after another, slipping one to Holtz every so often. She eats them unashamedly because it’s the only thing she can stomach for now, and she’s realising why Holtz loves them so much. She turns the radio dial and pops another into her mouth. Checks her phone.

She’s regretting having anything to drink last night, especially the cheap wine, because there’s a dull ache in her head that she can’t entirely ignore, still though, it’s better than a sharp pain from being properly hungover. They stick to the highway, and the scenery becomes less and less beautiful as they drive through Wyoming. Abby has texted her again, asking how it’s been, notifying her that they’ve had a couple busts back in New York but it’s all fine, and Erin feels nervous at the aspect of life going on without her, without them. Guilt settling into her heart for a moment.

But then Holtz turns up the radio and she’s confused right up until she isn’t.

A grin splits her face, drunk on love and some stupid, melting haze, and when she thinks back to different relationships, to how it was even in the beginning, she knows this is different and way better. There wouldn’t be any way for it to be remotely similar. It’s not even in the same ballpark.

“When it feels like, the world is on your shoulders,” Holtz sings, perfectly, obvious years of practice showing. Erin giggles, a sporadic sound, bites her bottom lip at it.

“And all of the madness, has got ya goin’ crazy,” she tries, only half volume. She doesn’t consider herself a singer but Holtz is always quick to disagree, often shouting that she has the voice of an angel. And still, Holtzmann juts out her right hand to take her palm and lifts it to her mouth, and Erin can’t stop smiling, even if it makes the headache worse. Jillian twines their fingers together, all the while singing, and holds her hand there, over the centre console.

Erin looks at the open road before them, smiling at how free she feels. The song ends, and Holtz tells her, “Your brother would be so proud and happy for you.”

Erin goes blank.

Numbly blank.

She’s genuinely stunned. Like shock, but more along the lines of being in a body of water, not knowing how deep it is, going to put flailing feet on the ground, and finding nothing but abyss. That toss of her stomach, a bottomless pit.

She feels cold at the question, and she doesn’t know why.

Holtzmann doesn’t know what she’s said until she’s said it, and maybe that’s the tragedy of being so effortless these days. Holtz doesn’t think to hold back with her anymore.

“Why would you say that?”

Jillian finally does look at her, looks down at their hands.

Erin hadn’t even realised she’d pulled her away until she glances down herself.

“I don’t know,” Holtz shrugs, but Erin can tell she’s hurt her from the way Holtz gets mechanical, robotic. “It was just a thought.”

Erin blows air between her lips, tries to move the bangs away from her eyes.

She suddenly feels so, so tired. Wants to go home.

“It’s not exactly a pleasant one,” she admits quietly, terse, looking back at the open road and going to hold Jill’s hand again. But instead, the woman driving makes Erin hold hers flat. Holtz pats it softly, lovingly, strokes little circles with her thumb, and Jill, she’s trying to fix it too.

“That’s okay, Erin,” she assures. “We don’t have to talk about it.”

“Thank you.”

Erin grimaces. The pringles have made her feel sick at her stomach.

 

+

 

They’re still driving when the sun goes down, sky going dark and big clouds roll in, so dark they’re almost black. There’s a storm coming.

They haven’t spoken in hours, Erin needing the silence, to be left alone with her thoughts. Holtzmann has given her the time and the space, knowing she stepped over a fragile line earlier.

The rain starts, pounding down heavily on the roof, and soon Erin can hear booms of thunder, looks for the bolts of lighting in the distance. Soon the car starts to shake with the force of the wind, and the sky lights up the road when they get closer to the lightning.

“I’ve got to pull over, Erin, I can’t drive in this wind and I don’t know when we’ll get to a motel,” Holtz explains, slowing the car.

Erin mumbles, “Okay.” Still letting thoughts consume her mind, taking her over, screaming at her, just like the thunder roars around the both of them.

They’re alone out on the road, not having passed a car in an hour or more, and suddenly silence falls between them. It’s awkward and unwelcome, the small space of the car making Erin feel small and trapped. Trapped in her mind, trapped between two raging storms, it’s weighing on her.

“I’m… sorry,” Holtz pulls Erin out of her own mind, almost grateful for it because she needs the distraction, her thoughts getting suffocating while they’re still, and she needs to air it out now.

Erin takes off her seatbelt, turns to Holtz and looks at her, for the first time in hours and notices how hurt the woman looks, how Erin made her feel like this. And she feels guilty. Erin fiddles with the bottom hem of her shirt, collects her thoughts. She opens her mouth, closes it. Opens it again, looks into Jillian’s eyes.

“He would,” she speaks steadily. “He would have been proud of me, happy for me.”

Holtz’s eyes focus on Erin, tilts her head sideways, softening to Erin right before her eyes. “Erin-

“No, Jill. Listen. Just listen. I know I’ve told you the story about how he died and I was only thirteen, but I still think about this. How he might be here with me, going through my life with me, side by side and tearing shit up,” she smiles, pictures her brother smiling at her with kind eyes. “About a month before the car accident, he caught me writing down a girls name on my notebook. He saw me, and you know what he did?” Holtz shakes her head. “He just asked, ‘You like her?’ and I was scared. I was terrified he might tell our parents and they’d hate me, or that he would hate me.”

She pauses, takes a deep breath to steady herself, and Jill grabs her hand, squeezes it tight. “I told him yes, I liked her, and he just smiled. Told me that it was alright and I could like whoever I wanted to.”

Tears fog her vision, and she blinks, the droplets falling onto her cheeks and Holtz is quick to reach out and wipe them away.

“He knew,” she continues, choking up. “He knew who I was even before I did, and then he was gone in a heartbeat. But he still loved me for who I was, and I know he’d be happy for me, and that he’d love you but I can’t talk about it because I get sad and angry. Because why couldn’t my parents be like him and just accept everything. He never thought I was crazy. Not once.”

She's crying, then, tears darkening her shirt as they drip off her chin, can taste the salt on her lips, the smell of it so heady, permeating everything, and then Holtz is pulling her in. Cradles her in the front seat of the car while wind whips around them, whistles and sings so loud it engulfs the silence. Holtz is rocking her and she hurts. She aches all over.

“And I’m sorry,” she tells Jillian, whimpers into the womans chest, tells herself it’s going to be okay, and Holtz is trying to hold her together by the seams right there on some deserted road. “I didn’t mean to push you away like that, but it’s hard to think about him. What if he was here, you know? What if he was at the wedding, right next to me and dancing with both of us. He would have loved you so much. We would have had a good life growing up together, getting old, but this is where we are, and it’s alright. It’s just hard,” Erin murmurs into her skin, sniffing wetly.

Holtz’s face crumples, and she kisses Erin’s cheeks, kisses her brow.

“I promise that’s all I meant today. I was only thinking about what it would have been like, and I didn’t think before I spoke. I need you to understand that, and I wasn’t trying to make it hurt more,” she tries to tell Erin, make her understand. “But we have each other, right now, and I know he’s with you. Always.”

Erin cries harder, with just about as much reckless abandon as the rain hitting against the windows of the car.

But it passes. It passes, and Erin sits up, holds Holtz’s hand as they drive onwards.

 

+

 

They come across a motel, and they decide to stay the night because the storm is far from over.

Heavy rain still falls, thunder rumbles every so often, but Holtz wraps her arms around Erin’s waist and makes her feel safe and protected. But Erin doesn’t want that, somehow it isn’t what she needs, she doesn’t need Holtz protecting her from the world. She wants to feel open to it tonight, so she kisses Holtz like she’s still mad at her, like she wants to tear this woman apart, wants to tear herself apart.

That night they are side by side, face to face, when they fuck.

Have to work at the release, build up a sweat, muscles singing with fatigue, and after Erin comes, burying her scream into the crook of Jillian’s neck, she traces the blonde’s face and watches her fall asleep. She looks peaceful as she does, but there’s a slight frown on her face, and that’s why Erin still conflicted. There’s still a lot they have to learn about each other, and Holtz saw a glimpse of a side to Erin that she’s never seen before, and for a moment Erin wishes she could take it all back. Wants, for a second, that Holtz doesn’t have to know her so well so she doesn’t have to face her darkest and most painful memories. She stays awake for one more hour, just like that.

She makes sure Holtz is fully passed out before she lets more tears fall.

 

+

 

They reach Seattle in a couple more days, Holtz deciding she wants to drive down the coast, Erin still not knowing what the plan is but finds it a luxury by now. She’s learnt to stop worrying about it, and it feels carefree and simple, makes a note in her head to thank Jillian when they get back home.

The drive along the coast is filled soft-bending roads, trees littering one side as they can see glimpses of water on the other, and it’s a peaceful aftermath, quiet. They’re only on the road for two hours, and Erin rolls down the window and relishes in the cool breeze against her skin, the wind in her hair.

“Your hair is getting so long,” Holtz notes, half smiling. “I like it.”

She hasn’t had much of a desire to cut it lately, apart from her bangs, and it’s slowly growing past her shoulders these days. Erin finds herself in tandem, fond.

“Me too.”

 

+

 

It’s early afternoon when they stop, finding a nice resort right by the beach with a vacant room overlooking the ocean. The place is still swarming with tourists outside, but no one bothers them, and they wonder if it’s just the west coast that’s oblivious to what happens in New York with the ghosts, or if they just don’t care enough to approach them. Either way the women are grateful for the peace.

They go to a small cafe next to the resort for a bite to eat after driving for so long that day. Erin writes ‘Mrs’ on the check and she smiles.

Stares at it just long enough for it to sink in that this is what she’ll be writing for the rest of her life. It takes her breath away, wonders if she’ll ever get used to it.

It’s a good kind of surprise, like Christmas every morning.

They head back to their room, and Holtz throws something to Erin. She catches the fabric, looks down and smiles.

“To the beach!” Holtz calls out, pulling out two beach towels from her suitcase and grins at Erin, happily giggling like a child.

“This is my wife,” Holtzmann introduces her as to some couple they meet down on the shore, as Erin rubs the SPF50+ into Holtz’s delicate skin. Holtz has a one-piece that looks like she’s ready to become a lifeguard at any given moment, yet Erin wears a strapless black two piece. They’re both so different and Erin wouldn’t have it any other way. She likes the contradiction of Jillian as a person against her own calmer disposition.

Erin pushes her palms flat on Holtz’s back, one between her shoulder blades close to her neck and the other hand just beneath. She straddles the woman as she looks out at the blue water through the window while Holtz sucks and nips her collarbone at the same time she sinks two fingers into the woman above her. Erin shoves her face into Holtz’s neck to quiet herself, bites down when it’s all too much.

When she draws blood, Jillian won’t let her live it down.

 

+

 

They drive a little more the next day, trying to find a secluded area by the ocean. Erin notices the perfect spot and Holtz drags her down a rocky, sandy path with their towels. They slather on more sunscreen but there’s a ninety percent chance they’ll both get burnt from the lack of shade in their new found quiet spot. This wasn’t part of Holtz’s plan, but even if they do get sunburnt they both know it’s worth it.

Erin’s bathers are black, a deep contrast against the tan, almost white sand, and Holtz buries her feet in it, leans back against Erin. When the brunette flips them over, it’s abrupt. She pins Holtzmann down and crawls between her legs and kisses her languid and lean, she’ll never tire of kissing this woman, and she never wants it to end.

Sand gets everywhere.

 

+

 

They find a lookout to watch the sunset. They empty the contents of the boot onto the back seat, Holtz pulling out the pillows and blankets, setting them up so the two of them can lean back and stare out. Overlooking the ocean while the sun sets is one of the most beautiful sights Erin has ever seen, and she’s seen a lot of beautiful things. Her favourite sitting right beside her, holding her close. “Are we going to start heading back tomorrow?” she asks Holtz, biting her lip.

“Yeah, I’ll turn east when we get to San Francisco,” she informs Erin sadly. “We can come back though.”

“Do this all over again?”

“Yep, all over again, promise.”

“Promise?” Erin murmurs, slipping one of her legs between Holtz’s.

Holtz nuzzles her neck. “Promise.”

 

+

 

A few days later they pull into the garage at the firehouse, finally back at home. Holtzmann turns the car off, sits there not moving for a moment. Turns to Erin, who is already eyeing her with a content smile on her face.

“This is it,” Jillian says, sliding her yellow-lensed glasses up to rest on top of her head. “This is where it begins, you and me.”

“I know,” Erin whispers, take’s Holtz’s hand, threading their fingers together slowly. “You prepared for it?”

The woman nods, and Erin can see tears pooling in her eyes.

“Hey, Jill-

“I’m happy,” she mumbles, smiles too, and Erin takes a snapshot in her mind because this is a moment she never wants to forget. “I love you,” Holtz says, with such earnest and joy that Erin feels tears in her own eyes.

“And I love you, too.”

 

fin.