Tags: deprecation

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Deprecation

Deprecation 1/1

Title: Deprecation
Fandom: Damages
Pairing: Patty/Ellen
Rating: NC17
Spoilers: Mild season one mentions. Nothing else.
Disclaimer: Don’t own them. Just wish I did.
Summary: Patty is forgetting about those boundaries she keeps around herself.Collapse )

Self deprecation is a carefully crafted tool, used to build walls and set well standing boundaries. Well cemented and well meaning boundaries. 

Boundaries are meant to protect. 

And Patty has got a high wall around herself. It's made out of brick and it's been taken down in sections by a handful of individuals--some deserving, some not--then patched up again with sturdy stone. 

This time, however, she's finding it difficult to keep the walls up. 

It seems as though she's never had a chance with Ellen Parsons. She was at her beck and call since the day they met and even Patty can't explain why. She was yet another tool. A young, naive attorney she could use to her advantage and then move on. And why not? She had done it before. She built her career on using the usable, after all.  The disposable. Ellen was supposed to be disposable.
 
She was SUPPOSED to be disposable.
 
What happened along the way, Patty is still not sure of. Little by little, and through no attempt or fault of her own, the young woman managed to slip in between the cracks and over the course of five years, has managed to partially destroy said walls, one pebble at a time. 

First, it was her rage and the revenge that Patty allowed her. Because she deserved validation. Patty had royally screwed her and underneath the initial surprise and the hurt, she wasn't all that surprised anymore. But she was pained. Surprisingly so. And then, there was the way she tried to rein her back into her life with gifts. One gift. And the games that followed. The back and forth teasing game of wits and jealousy tantrums that were never directly addressed. 

It was foreplay. 

That's the only way to put it. Foreplay to what surged after a painstakingly slow build up that spilled over in an unnecessary argument that turned into a shouting match neither expected, which culminated in an all too short tryst in Ellen's new kitchen that required a mere hiking of skirts. It wasn't passionate, but frantic. And it wasn't loud, but quiet and uncomfortably so when they were done and were then forced to retreat from their position against the fridge. Slick thighs and flushed cheeks and necks sent Patty away without another word about the incident. 

Sometimes, Patty wishes they had had the decency to not have spoken for a couple of days after that. They didn't have the decency, as it turns out. And it was business as usual. Until the following night, in Patty's office, when Ellen fucked her on her desk and then left with a smile on her face and Patty's panties in her pocket

She's tried to end things. Tried to steer away from Ellen and her revolving door of suitors. Go back to their little seduction game. She worked well that way. They both did. Unlike now, when the thought of what Ellen's days away from her involves, drives her insane. Days away, with whatever little boyfriend she's running around with that month. 

She's tried many times. And every time, she's unsuccessful. This is a problem she’s yet to find a solution to. 

"Stop," She says, turning her head away from soft lips to have them land on her cheek instead. Her heart is beating rapidly and she hopes she's still got some strength left to conceal it with a firm grimace. Her shoulder's pressed against the door she can't open because Ellen's holding it shut with the palm of her hand. She's got a good three inches on Patty and she's using them  to her advantage now. She's looming over her, peering down the low cut top the blonde wears and standing dangerously close. 

Patty wants to push her aside, but for some godforsaken, unknown reason, she doesn't dare touch the other woman. Instead, she repeats more firmly, "Stop. Move." 

She told her this morning. In between overlooking testimonies together, she told her. She didn't ask, but TOLD. Because it's not up for reassessing any longer. It's over. Patty's decided it's gone on long enough and she's glad she told her. "We're not doing this anymore. Last night was the last time. I expect you to respect my wishes," She had said. Upon which, Ellen responded with a long lasting, unreadable stare that broke with the addressing of a legal matter pertaining to their case. 

As it turns out, Ellen does not respect Patty's wishes. Sometimes, Patty thinks she doesn't respect her all that much, period. 

"Please," The young woman begs her softly, smelling of sweet perfume and the fruit salad she had for lunch only minutes ago, daring to touch Patty's waist with just nimble fingertips. 

Patty sighs and knows she's given herself away, but tries again, now at the end of the tether of her reasoning, "No. I told you I'm not doing this anymore. I meant that. So please get out of the way." 

She doesn't get out of the way and this infuriates Patty for many reasons. One being, she doesn't trust herself to not oblige if Ellen were to lean in even an inch, in spite of the glass walls and doors of the conference room. The blonde tries for the door again, her hand firmly turning the handle before she pulls, then darts her eyes up in an galling glare when the door doesn't give. If she plays her cards right, people will think they're having a discussion about something work related. So, calmly, and even toned, she instructs slowly, "Ellen, step aside." 

A silent battle lasting all of fifteen seconds that Patty times in her head follows and Ellen’s eyes are searching. Waiting, for Patty to change her mind. Patty doesn’t change her mind and when she tries the door again, it finally opens, Ellen’s hand falling off her waist, leaving the older woman with room to leave, drawing in a deep breath as she walks in a speedier than usual pace up hallways, turning corners, and blindly avoiding coworkers until she’s reached the safety of her own office, where she makes a beeline for her desk, sitting slowly as she exhales equally so and presses her palms on the flat surface before her. It’s a couple of minutes before she’s gathered herself completely and is then able to return to work. 

The first two days after calling it off are--different. While the two women still work fine together, there’s tension. Lunches are either quiet or filled with minimal conversation all pertaining to work. Eye contact is necessary, of course. It is always necessary. They need to trust what they say to each other as colleagues. But it’s difficult and not long lasting. They avert and fidget now. It’s--different. Mostly because Ellen seems to switch from angry to indifferent within the snap of a finger. Patty hardly knows what to do with this, but she lets it slide. 

On the third day, they are alone. Not that they haven’t been alone before, but they’re alone in the elevator, in a rare moment where there isn’t a third party. This has not happened since Patty refused to touch Ellen, and it’s too quiet. She can hear herself breathe but can’t hear herself think. After a second, Ellen inhales sharply beside her, then takes a step back. Another floor passes them by  and the brunette’s breathing becomes ragged. Patty shivers and for a second, she feels the younger woman step closely behind her--for a second, she feels as if she might touch her and the hairs on the back of  her neck rise. 

That’s when the elevator doors open and Ellen rushes past her, quickly in the opposite direction of what was originally intended. Patty can’t move for a good pause of a moment. The doors nearly close on her before she wills her feet to move. 

That night, she cries. 

She’s not sure why. She only knows that, inexplicably, and unforeseeably, the second she walks into her apartment and the door is shut behind her, it begins to burst from her in painful sobs, gusts of hair that she muffles with her palm until she can’t any longer and slides down against the door, weak and crying on the floor until she’s near dehydration and her head is aching. 

She craves it, too, she knows now. She wants to be touched, wants to feel wanted just as much as Ellen wants her and wants to touch her. But not like this. She’s not willing to play these types of games anymore.

She’s never been comfortable with not knowing what’s ahead and this is an uphill road that would never show her where the downturn is.  

The week that follows is easier. They slowly fall back into quiet discussions and little by little, they’re able to hold each other’s gaze for more than a miserable second. Lunches alone are not as painstaking, and once, they even laugh together about something that wouldn’t be very funny to anybody else. Ellen hasn’t tried to touch her again and while she still desires it during quiet moments alone, Patty knows cold turkey is the way to do it. 

It’s on a Sunday, after her trainer has left, and she’s sat in her kitchen with a glass of orange juice, that she feels an ache in her chest. It’s a month later and inside, she feels suddenly very cold. She feels vacant. The TV in the kitchen blares CNN moderately and the apartment is otherwise empty. Looking across the island counter, the orange juice becomes flavorless against her tongue and she quickly gives up on it. 

This sends her on a jog in the park and brings her back to a hot shower that does nothing to soothe her aching muscles. She attempts to read through some paperwork, but nothing seems legible. 

At around noon, she calls up an old colleague she’s attempted to see many times before but has never actually kept her promise to do so. She decides she could use the distraction, and Marge Tolstoy is very surprised to hear from her old college roommate. They have a long lunch and this sends Patty back home by two PM, where she serves herself a drink and puts on an old Neil Young album she hasn’t listened to in far too long. 

The files she intended to read through sit scattered on her dining room table for hours, in which she stares at them and hopes for the ability to concentrate, but it never comes. 

The rest of the day is hell. It’s long and filled with nothing and by the time midnight rolls around, she has to resort to sleeping pills and another glass of bourbon. 

Monday, she’s restless again, but work is a welcome distraction. 

Ellen isn’t around much. This, she half regrets, but mostly, she is thankful for. Here and there, they catch moments together, where they discuss work. All of these instances are shared with their colleagues and at times, Patty wishes they were alone. 

Ellen has adopted a permanent indifferent attitude and Patty--not only does she not quite know what to make of that, but she's losing sight of what to do with herself.  At lunch time, she looks up  in the midst of reading an email, to see Ellen walk right past her office, and down the hall towards the elevator without even an acknowledging nod, cell phone pressed to her ear as she verifies what appears to be a lunch date.     
“Yeah, absolutely, I can’t wait to see you--” 

That, and a flirtatious chuckle, are the last things Patty hears before the brunette disappears into the elevator and she’s left with an ironic smile on her face. She shakes her head and rolls her eyes up at the ceiling, glasses perched on her nose as she contemplates breaking something. Instead, she returns her attention to work and doesn’t come up for air for another three hours. 

Managing to clear her mind of all things Ellen Parsons becomes something to be proud of by the time she’s settled down for the evening. It’s near two in the morning when her phone rings and wakes her from a rare, peaceful sleep. 

Groggy and partially disoriented, she opens her eyes in her darkened bedroom and slowly turns her head towards the vibrating cell phone tittering at the ledge of her nightstand before she reaches over and grabs it.
Without looking, she presses it to her ear and greets sleepily into the receiver, “Hello?” 

There is a momentary silence, and in these mere two seconds, Patty instantly knows who it is.

“Patty?” Ellen replies softly on the other end, “I have--something to show you. It’s about the Larson case.” A pause, “It’s important.” 

Patty sits up slowly in bed and lowers her head, her hair falling forward, in a curtain framing her face as she presses her palm to her eyes and replies gruffly, “It’s late, Ellen--”

“It’s important,” She repeats, as if it will make a difference. 

 “Leave it with the doorman and uh--I will look at it in the morning.” 

“It can’t wait, Patty. Can I come up?” 

She sighs in reply. She licks her lips, presses worried fingers against her temple and rubs firmly. 

“I’ll be up in a minute,” Ellen says before any other objection can formulate in Patty’s brain, and the blonde is hanging up and up on her feet, reaching for her robe within seconds. 

She doesn’t bother with switching on any lights as she walks through the darkened apartment and down the stairs towards the front door. She doesn’t intend to allow Ellen in for longer than a second and no further than the foyer, but by the time she’s standing on the opposite side of the doorway and Ellen is staring back, empty-handed, she knows all the strategizing is useless. 

“What did you want to show me, Ellen?” She asks, hand securely on the open door. She stiffens as Ellen’s eyes take in her appearance. Loosely fitting white silk pants, paired with a black lace camisole laid bare to the young woman's eager stare as her robe falls open and showcases her completely. The look in the young attorney's eyes is more than hunger and this makes Patty feel completely exposed, and makes her  core instantly ache. 

“I don’t have anything to show you,” Ellen confesses. She steps closer slowly. It only takes three steps, but it feels like an eternity. 

And then, she’s close. She’s so close and looking at Patty as if she hasn’t looked in years. 

Her lips part, as if she wants to say something, but it never happens, and Patty has to take this as an advantage, “Ellen--what are you doing?” 

Ellen doesn’t look at her when she speaks next, “Can I come in?” 

Wordlessly, Patty steps aside after only a moment of objection and as soon as she closes the door, she feels soft, possessive hands circle her waist from behind, then slide around her middle until, thinly arms are embracing her tightly and wanton lips are softly laving the back of her neck. 

She lays her own hands, flat on the door, and she sighs, both in relief and in self frustration. She’s come too far to fall now, but she hasn’t really much control. Her head falls forward and she feels nearly defeated as Ellen’s hands continue their slowly paced search. They move across her abdomen, her ribcage--until they cup her breasts and she molds them firmly against her palms. At this, Patty’s mouth falls open and she feels the moisture pool quickly between her legs.

Ellen gently pinches Patty’s taut nipples and the older woman curls her fingers against the door, her lips forming a sharp gasp before one hand falls lower and cups her crotch through the silk of her pants. She’s wet and she knows Ellen can probably feel it, but the friction against her clit is almost too good to pass up as the brunette presses the heel of her hand with more gusto, and in turn, Patty moans, pressing the other woman to step closer, bringing their bodies as closely together as humanly possible while she continues to rub the blonde into a miserable frenzy. 

Her hips buckle forward and she gasps when Ellen pushes her flat against the door, pressing herself onto her back as Patty rests her forehead to the cold surface, panting heavily as able fingers press hard against her opening, rubbing in a slow, circular motion through the cotton of her panties. She feels Ellen’s breath, hot against her neck, her tongue , her teeth and lips, no doubt, leaving marks here and there. She hears her name in a harsh whisper and she whimpers as the other unforgiving hand pinches her nipple harder.    

"You can't tell me you didn't miss this--" Ellen says behind her, nipping briefly at Patty's earlobe, then adding in a lower tone, "--how could you get off without me?"

In spite of the pleasurable build within her loins, Patty's eyes open and she grimaces in disgust. The words bring her back to the initial incentive of her staying away, and with difficulty, she wills herself to move, then brings her hand down between her legs, where Ellen is still working her. She grips and stills it, her breath heavy when she speaks, "Stop," When Ellen attempts to continue, Patty turns  her grip higher and pulls at the young woman's wrist until she's able to move out from between the tall, thin body and the door.
Never glancing back, she runs a trembling hand through her hair and hopes that her still tingling legs will take her safely back up to her bedroom, "Just go, Ellen," She tells her, turning up to take the first step northbound.

Along with the emptiness left in the room and the void in Ellen's arms, she's filled with a sudden inexplicable sense of loss, which braids itself with the string of anger she's been carrying around for nearly a month now, and a reckless self abandon that she can't really place outside of the burdening association with Patty fucking Hewes. Or fucking Patty Hewes. The placement isn't clear yet. She's breathless and flushed and she thinks it has more to do with being pushed aside than the rush of arousal of only seconds ago.

Desperate and restless, she paced around her living room earlier until she was sure she'd left a track of indented footsteps around her coffee table and grabbed her car keys with her mind as single tracked as it has ever been.

Now, she's moved from pacing in her living room, to pacing in Patty's and none of it looks like progression. It's here that a sneaking chill up both her arms reminds her that she's left her coat behind in her rush to get where she is.
 
Glancing up the staircase Patty has just disappeared through, she is blindsided, once again, by the overwhelming urge to act without initial plan. Before she knows it, she's running up the stairs, taking two steps at a time until she's stomping her way on the second floor, straight through to Patty's open bedroom door, where Ellen stands for a moment and regards the space she's seen so many times in too many private moments to count.
 
The bed is unmade an the bathroom light is on. 
 
She follows it and stands in the second doorway. Patty looks over from where she stands, braced over the sink, shoulders hunched in defeat, eyes hard but lacking surprise. 
 
Glares meet in defiance and neither says a word for what seems like an eternity. Patty is attempting to will Ellen to leave and Ellen is attempting to will Patty to say something to prompt her to send her on a verbal attack. 
 
Neither happens, and Patty decides that she's too tired for this. Never breaking eye contact--an intimidation tactic she's grown very fond of over the years-- she pushes herself off the marble counter top and breezes right past Ellen, back towards the foot of her bed, where she proceeds to remove her robe and tosses it aside onto the nearest chair, while Ellen continues to watch.  
 
Seconds tick by and just as quickly, Ellen begins to realize what's happening and why she's been rejected. Still standing between the bathroom and the bedroom, she finally speaks up as Patty pulls the covers back, ready to climb back into bed, "What exactly were you expecting, Patty? A little romance?" Ellen's tone is cold and maybe even a bit condescending, but it's the only thing she's got.
 
Patty stops briefly after patting down a pillow and her eyes dart upward with a sarcastic chortle, "Romance, Ellen? Do you really think we deserve romance? I tried to kill you, you tried to ruin me, and then we forgave each other--whatever that means--that's as romantic as it's going to get. I think we're both well past those types of--juvenile misconceptions, don't you think?" She sighs, looks down at her awaiting bed and decides against resting. Instead, she meets Ellen's expectant gaze once more and adds, "Why do you always come back?" 
 
"Why do you always beckon me back?" Ellen counters. And after a beat, she feels like confessing, "I just do."  
 
They spend so much time not saying much, that looking at each other, they way they are now, feels the most organic. They visually dissect each other with a meticulous yearning and in turn, they are glad to be dissected. Such complex people should only truly be seen by their equals, and at some level, they have become equals. To both their standards.
 
Still, the question as to why she keeps coming back even when she repeatedly tells herself she doesn't want to, is a vexing matter Ellen's yet to figure out.
 
Their entire relationship continues to be one giant fucking Rubik's Cube that never lines up. 
 
She thinks, sometimes, that it's because any partner, boyfriend, husband, or otherwise will never really hold her attention the way Patty does--will never fascinate or intrigue her the same way. Just as well, she can only have Patty in doses. With an open road she can take whenever she's become too consumed with the magnetic like attraction that exists between the two women. At some point, the line between Ellen Parsons and Patty Hewes would be blurred, and then where would she be? Needing something that to some level could be poisonous. But still, subconsciously, she already needs her. She needs the connection and the uniqueness of their relationship.  
 
"You tolerate me," She tells Patty finally, shrugging, then adding firmly, "And I you." 
 
Patty smirks, and nods briefly, "I know you won't believe this, but there are very few people in my life who tolerate me." 
 
Ellen returns the soft smile and says in mock disbelief, "No. You?" 
 
"Don't you want a family, Ellen?" Patty asks, arms securely over her chest, "Kids...a husband? Didn't you say that to me once? How are you going to get all those things if you keep--"
 
"--fucking you?" Ellen finishes for her. And she likes that Patty doesn't blush at the profanity. There are many things she likes about her, she realizes, "I don't know if I still want those things, honestly. I like this--" She motions between them, "--I like having the choice to walk away when I want and come back when I want. I don't know if I want to be a wife. Maybe I want both things." She shrugs and smirks again, but is phased by the lack of response from Patty, who simply stares back as if inspecting her, "I don't know."
 
Patty wishes that didn't sting as much as it did. Not that she doesn't know what she's embarked on with Ellen. Patty is not, has never, and will never be an innocent bystander. She refuses to be. She can be on either end of a war, but she will never be in the middle. Still, the fact that Ellen thinks of her as a mere convenience is more difficult to actually hear come from the young woman's lips. "I suppose this little arrangement is--advantageous to us both. We use each other for convenience in every aspect of our lives now. That's uh--" She chuckles dryly, "--that's as liberal as it gets." 
 
Ellen frowns in reply and shakes her head, "Patty, I'm not using you."
 
"Yes, you are." Patty nods, "You can't help yourself. It's nothing new to me. I've always known this. In spite of the partial glimpses of loyalty you've shown me over the years, your priorities are very clear. I'm okay with that. Surprisingly so." 
 
The smile plastered on the blonde's face, pisses Ellen off more than it should and she has to bite her cheek for a moment to keep from storming out, "You know my priorities, do you?" 
 
"I have a pretty good idea, yes..."
 
"Right."
 
"Yes." 
 
"And what are yours, exactly, Patty?"
 
"My career," Patty replies plainly. Calmly. 
 
Ellen grits her teeth. "Oh. You talking about using people is laughable. But then again, you should know. I learned it from you." 
 
"You keep telling yourself that, Ellen. I'm sure it makes you feel like more of a human being." 
 
"I'm not like you, Patty." 
 
Patty breathes in sharply and quickly replies, "You know, you keep fighting this 'mini-Hewes' image people have of you, but really, if you hate me, and the choices I've made in my life, why on earth or you still here?" 
 
"I don't want to be you," Ellen repeats, licking her lips in frustration. 
 
"--but you sure as hell love fucking me." The blonde retorts with a wider smirk, her hands now dropping comfortably to her sides before one moves back up to rest on her hip and she draws in a deep breath to continue, sounding as conversationally blasé as ever, "--why is that, Ellen? You're fighting so hard not to be me, but we stop having sex for a month and you're racing across town in the middle of the night to fuck me against my front door?" 
 
She's sounding a lot like she's talking about the weather and keeps saying 'fuck', and Ellen is stuck in the midst of being aroused and being completely infuriated. "I didn't come here for a lecture or a psychological evaluation--"
 
"No. You didn't."
 
"Why are you ruining this?"
 
"Ruining what? What's there to ruin? You come and go as you please, why can't I send you away when I please?"
 
"Because you can't toss me aside without reason."
 
"But--you can toss ME aside."
 
"It's not the same--"
 
"It is the same, Ellen."
 
"--it's not."
 
"Why not?"
 
"Because I need you to be here when I need you!"
 
Patty's brow furrows in confusion and she tilts her head, momentarily forgetting what the point of her poking at Ellen was to begin with, "I'm supposed to just be here when you're bored? When you feel like it? My life is supposed to be put on hold to accommodate your cravings?"
 
"I can't have all of you, Patty!" Ellen nearly shouts. She hates that she has to, but it's shut the other woman up and that was the incentive. "I can't. We would KILL each other being together all the time. I would let this consume me and it would ruin both of us. I can't--I can't have all of you, but I can't not have this. Patty. I can't." She's fighting the urge to cry and a distant memory of Patty calling her a parasite and kicking her out of her apartment, and effectively, out of her life brings on a pain in her chest she had not allowed herself to feel to its full capacity back then.
 
Patty is silent.
 
And Ellen wonders if she's said too much. If they were better off side stepping the situation. The situation. She was definitely much better off without sudden realizations she does not have room for in her life. Patty's staring at something to her right. Not saying a word.
 
And Ellen is not about to let it go on longer, "God damn it, don't you have anything to say? You were spilling bullshit by the truck load only a minute ago, no you're done?"
 
"Yes," Patty sighs, "I'm done."
 
Ellen throws her hands up, groans in frustration and begins to pace around the room. Why she's still standing in this woman's bedroom, while she wants so badly to hate her, is making her blood boil and she shouts at the ceiling, "What the FUCK am I still doing here!"
 
Patty, meanwhile, watches her move around and wonders the same. Because although her heart is racing, she can't get herself to move or so anything that might alleviate the situation. She's not sure she has the ability to utter words that won't be cutting.
 
"Do you think this is what I want?" Ellen asks, bitter tears stinging her eyes, "This isn't normal. This isn't what normal people do. Normal, well functioning adults, don't become involved with someone who's tried to kill them. I held a gun to your FACE. What am I supposed to say, Patty? That I love you?" She waits for an answer, a desperate look in her eyes that's mirrored in in Patty's before she says in a mere whisper, "I don't know why--Patty, say something!"
 
She knows her tone is too loud, and anyone else might have been annoyed, but the older woman remains unscathed and Ellen has to wonder, "Does nothing shake you? You stand there, not saying anything--and I look like an idiot." A pause. "Just like everyone else in your life. You either do nothing or hurt them until you're rid of them." Patty blinks, and this strikes something within Ellen, "Is that what I have to do to get a reaction from you? Say hurtful things like you do? Get a rise out of you to get a valid answer?"
 
At this point, all Ellen's seemingly managed out of Patty is a strong willed frustration, which she demonstrates by pinching the ridge of her nose to avoid the familiar beginnings of a headache. 
 
The truth is, she's mostly frustrated by the way her own bedroom has trapped her. This, she was definitely not expecting. Being forced to talk and make sense of things she had to intention of making sense of. She wants everything to go back to uncomplicated. To it just being over and done with. She should have sent Ellen away. She should have never opened the door. She should have done this, should have not done that. It's all that's circulating the recesses of her brain and she'd rather embrace the anger than the emotion Ellen is expecting to see. 
 
It bursts from her anyway. Patty's a passionate woman. Always has been. Especially when she's being prompted, or pushed in a direction she does not wish to go, and that is the case with Ellen now, it seems. 
 
She sighs heavily, turns from where she's standing, walks back and forth a couple of times before pausing, and sending Ellen a side glance as she says calmly, every word calculated, manageable, "I don't know what to make of you, Ellen."
 
This isn't something Ellen wanted to hear or even expected. Then again, not much Patty says or does is predictable. She's a book written in some foreign language. She's delicate and intricate, and complicated. Ellen is rendered speechless because she's realized that the woman captivates her more than she cares to admit. Brown, doe eyes stare back helplessly and melt against a softening blue stare.
 
"You don't know what you want,” Patty says, “Everything in your life is replaceable. I see it in you. You want to make a name for yourself and this is what you're striving for at this point in your life. Everything else takes a backseat and I refuse to sit in the sidelines."
 
A snort that surprises both women escapes Ellen, but she quickly composes herself to reply, "I don't expect you to wait in the sidelines. You're--YOU. The thought has never even crossed my mind. And yeah, I do want to make a name for myself. Of that, I can absolutely tell you that I'm sure. I'm also sure that you're the only person I can't dispose of. Not because you're useful to me--although you are--I don't know why.  I guess that's the most frustrating part of all of this. That I don't know why I keep coming back. But you don't know why you keep me around either." She shrugs and offers a small smile.  
 
The smile does nothing to ease the tension in Patty's brow and when she speaks, she does so instructively and sternly, "Don't even think about trying to toss me aside like a dirty dish rag, Ellen."
 
"I won't."
 
"And I don't want to know about your--" The last word of her sentence is said with a grimace she can't fight, "--boyfriends. I don't need you parading them around like little trophies. It's not very becoming."
 
Ellen fights the first genuine smile of this whole ordeal, and nods accordingly instead, "Fair enough."
 
"Good."
 
"I don't want to know about yours either." The look of surprise Ellen receives amuses her and she responds with a look of her own, "Oh come on, Patty. You think that because you don't flaunt them publicly, I don't know about them?"
 
Patty's mouth opens in protests, but shuts again when no sound resonates. She inhales instead and begrudgingly echoes Ellen's earlier agreement, "Fair enough." 

“Great,” Ellen nods. 

It should feel lighter. Now that things to have settled down a bit. But the calm is a little disturbing when both women’s veins are still furiously pumping blood with a stubborn purpose. Patty clears her throat and Ellen moves a strand of hair behind her ear, both as self conscious as they’ll ever be. 

“So--” Ellen finally speaks up, “--I’ll uh--I’ll go if you want.” At this, Patty’s lips part and something resembling a partial syllable sounds off, so Ellen stops and looks at the older woman, “--did you say something?” 

“You can--stay. If you’d like,” Patty offers lamely, rolls her eyes at the absurdity, then laughs when Ellen does. Their eyes meet in a lighter tone and Patty shrugs.

“I’d like to stay.” 

“Okay,” Patty nods and ignores the fact that they both keep looking at the bed, “Would you like a drink?” 
Ellen opens her mouth to say yes, then stops and makes a face, “It’s really late--for alcohol.”

“Yes. It is.”

“We can just--sit. And talk.”

Their eyes land on the unmade bed again, lingering there a moment before Ellen shrugs her jacket off and feigns confidence as she kicks off her shoes and climbs into the side of the bed that doesn’t look slept in, her stockings slipping easily under the sheets, her feet cooling, then warming instantly as she looks up and smiles at the blonde, patting the bed and widening her smirk into a smile, “Come on, Patty. I’ll keep my hands to myself, I promise.” 

Patty’s eyebrow is raised momentarily as she moves to climb into bed and sits comfortably against a pile of pillows, mumbling under her breath, “Too bad.” 

Ellen blushes and averts her eyes for a moment before settling lower into the bedding. After another long moment of no talking and awkward staring out into nothing, she tries again, “How do you feel about spooning?” 

Patty looks an awful lot like she’s deciphering a complex puzzle and Ellen finds it absolutely endearing. Maybe even a little adorable. Two words she’s positive she’s never used in the same regards as Patty Hewes.  

“Well--” The blonde begins, “--I’m not opposed to it. Why?” She turns then and looks earnestly curious, “Do you like--spooning?” The words seem so foreign on her tongue and she nearly grimaces when she speaks them. 

“Yes. I do. Sometimes.”

part 2 in next entry
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