Oct. 14th, 2012

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"Can't you take the meeting?" Rob asked, trailing Cress to the van with the second of six boxes of table centers.

"No problem," Cress said, mock-lightly. "The set-up plan for the ballroom's in the back office, the contact to get into the room is Maureen Fox, and I'm sure you remember the swan fold I've taught you three times in the last six months? I'd be happy to sit here and drink coffee with the happy couple while trying not to make any inappropriate comments about décor."

"And that's why you should take it," Rob said, ignoring everything that had come before. "You're the one with the decorating ideas, you'll think of something perfect and make sure we get their business."

"Or I could do my job at the ballroom while you do yours here, and then you can give me the notes to look over and come up with brilliant ideas afterwards." Cress bumped the van door closed with her hip. "Like always."

"Leather, though," Rob grumbled, not sure why he was even making such a fuss. Last week, the Greens had brought their two year old triplets with them to the initial consultation. A leather-anniversary celebrating couple couldn't be worse than that.

"Suck it up." Cress patted his chest. "Maybe they'll invite you to demonstrate some of the kinkier ideas."

"That helps."

"Remind me again when you last got laid?"

"I picked up that guy at the Tavern last weekend. You might remember being there with Rosa, grading the guys on a scale of one to ten?"

"What else are a couple of lesbians supposed to do in a gay bar?" Cress asked, her raised eyebrow just visible over the double layer of boxes she'd picked up. "He was barely a four, though, you could have done better."

Rob wasn't going to argue with that. A blow job was a blow job, but he'd had better when he was sixteen and fooling around with his next door neighbor. The guy at the Tavern had barely been worth the drink Rob had bought him, let alone the expert hand-job Rob had given him.

"Seriously –" Cress started before Rob shook his head firmly.

"I know you and Rosa are one lesbian cliché from renting a U-Haul, but please, do not start talking about how I need to find a man, have regular sex, and get a dog."

"I wasn't going to," Cress protested. "For one thing, your apartment's too small for you to share it with a dog."
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"Place your hands here, and here. Don't touch the bowl, it gets very warm." Ella smiled gently, watched Chloe smile back. "Close your eyes, and think of your sister." Ella placed her own fingertips on the wooden stand beneath the bowl, and closed her eyes. It took a moment for her to find Chloe, opposite her. The young girl wasn't a strong presence.

"Good. Now breathe, slowly in, and slowly out. Show me Sophie as you see her – a strong memory. Breathe, Chloe. Good."

Ella felt the other woman almost immediately, as though she'd been waiting. She held the sense of Sophie closely, not allowing it to cross to Chloe. Sophie was almost a decade older than Chloe, close to Ella's own age. Ella felt her sense of humor, her intelligence, her care for her sister. She let her own eyes open slowly, and found Sophie sitting at the third chair pulled to the table. She didn't look much like Chloe – where Chloe's skin looked little more than lightly tanned, Sophie's was darker, and she was tall, thin.

"Good, Chloe," Ella said softly. Chloe didn't respond – she'd sunk into memory, the way Ella had intended.

"Hello, Sophie," Ella said, focusing on the other woman.

Sophie turned, slowly, to meet Ella's eyes, her face serious and still. "You brought me here," she said, then immediately, as though she was correcting herself, "You found me."

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