Disclaimer one: These ladies and gents belong to me.

Disclaimer two: Yep, there is some subtext, some humor, some hard times, and a whole host of other things I'm sure you all will enjoy. For those that have been on to me about more dialogue you will like this one.

This one picks up about a week after the last installment. Cory has found that her feelings go deeper than she initially imagined, and has trouble adjusting to the insecurities that come with it. A confused Taylor does her best to help. Our blonde bombshell, finally gets to return to the field along with Taylor and we get to see yet again their differing styles and perspectives on things Oh yeah, and there is a little surprise at the end. NO! It isn't a love scene. LOL, but it will make things interesting.

Dedications: To Sloane. To all the well wishers out there who kept and keep me going. I couldn't let this thing keep me from the things I love, and finally God, who gave me a talent and restored my faith.

On with the show!

(11th Installment of PerspectivesóPart I)


Copyright © Minerva 2000


Chapter XXXI: I Say. . . Doctor

Cory leaned against the window seal with her hands crossed over her chest. She pursed full lips and released a puff of air, disturbing shaggy bangs and causing the ever astute Dr. Emma Zawid to glance up at her in question. The older woman stared at her with patient eyes, but the blonde just bit her lip and turned away.

The sun fought to get in through the closed blinds, filling each crack and crevice with bright light. Cory helped it along a little by separating one plank from another in order to take a peek outside. A shaft of sunlight blinded her and warmed her at the same time.

This is what she makes me feel like all warm and protected. So much has happened in the span of a few days, almost a week really, that I donít even know where to begin. All I know is that I want to be with Taylor and I want to go back to the field. Iím not doing anything for anybody being stuck in the office, not directly. I need to be out there, but am I ready?

Cory almost snorted.

The only way to find that out girlie is to take the dive just like I did with Taylor. I know, I know. What if I freeze or snap in some way? Donít know, but something way in the back of my head is telling me that it wonít happen. I know so much more about myself now. I know that I canít help everybody. I really do understand that now. I know if I help some that it's an achievement for them and me. A grin curled the corners of the blondeís mouth. I know that itís okay to open up, to need, to want and be scared about it. The grin turned into a full-fledged smile as she allowed the blind to close with a snap. Oh, yeah. I know the office will melt down with both of us in it all day only separated by a closed door.

Cory turned from the window and peeked at the watch on her wrist. Fifteen minutes. Sheíd been woolgathering for fifteen minutes. Inquisitive green eyes peered at the small woman sitting a few feet away.

"Sorry, Doc. So much has happened the past few days, and Iím just trying to put it all right in my head."

Emma closed her eyes for a moment then nodded her head imperceptibly. "I understand. I donít have anymore clients today, so we can extend the session if need be."

Cory bit her lip to keep from smiling. "I can stay a little longer if need be. I'm meeting her in a few hours to discuss something's and spend some time. Um, we sort of have a date, a first date actually. Itís one of the things I wanted to discuss with you." She looked down at her hands, feeling a little awkward and her heart flutter as she recalled how it happened.

Sleeping together had become a customary arrangement, and this time they found their way to Taylor's bigger and more comfortable bed. It hadn't been the loud, shrill noise of the alarm that had awakened her. It was the soft hands, running over sensitive scalp, eyebrows and cheeks. It was on the tale end of pleasure that green eyes sprang open to see the sweetly smiling admin peering down at her with gentle eyes. From her vantage point of Taylor's chest, Cory found herself staring deep into pale blue.

"Hey," the blonde remarked hoarsely over the lump of sleep in her throat.

The smile brightened before Taylor replied, "Hey yourself, sleepy head."

As if on cue, the caseworker's body arched and stretched as sleep abated, and she mumbled pleasurably at the feel of warm curves pressing back into her. "Mmm, what are you doing up so early? It's not even dark out."

Using a long finger, Taylor tapped the blonde's nose in affection as pale blue orbs sparkled with emotion. "Wanted to spend some extra time with you."

Cory found her face pressed against the admin's chest in an attempt to hide the oncoming blush. The blood rushing to her face burned harder as the brunette chuckled. Large hands found their way to the tiny hairs at the back of the blonde's head and played in them. Taylor reveled in the shiver that resulted. A second later, she spoke again, hoping the bring the green eyed gaze back. "Hey, look at me."

The blonde head raised slowly, pink face and all. "Ya don't have to hide from me. This," Taylor followed the blush with a finger, "is beautiful on you, and it lets me know that you like what I say and do. Understand?" Taylor maintained the electric gaze. She saw and heard the blonde swallow then her head nod. "Uh, sorry. Just not used to someone saying these things to me."

The admin's grin had been infectious at that moment as much as her words were sweet. "We're even then 'cause I'm not used to saying them. Guess you bring it out in me. Next thing you know I'll be spouting Byron or Browning."

Unable to stop it, Cory chuckled and her eyes twinkled with mischief. "Mmm, so will you put a rose between your teeth and wear one of those awful poet shirts?"

Taylor's face formed into one of mock disgust. "You mean the ones with frillies?" When she got the affirmative nod, the admin replied, "Eww, I'd rather do it naked." In perfect imitation of her own roving eyebrow, the blonde's brow shot up, causing the brunette to chortle heartily. "You're wicked. You know that? And you've got that eyebrow thing down pat. Both Wendy and I are proud."

Cory's lips lifted in a smirk before she slapped the admin on the shoulder. "You know it intrigues me how you can be sweet and a smartass at the same time."

Taylor had leaned in for a quick kiss before commenting, "Ah, ah can't give you the secret to my skills, Cor."

Cory shrugged and snuggled back up into the warmth. "S' okay. I think I'll like all your skills especially if it involves waking me up like you did. Being with you like this every night is beyond great."

"Mmm," Taylor wrapped her arm around the blonde's torso. "It is isn't it? I'm loving every minute of it, but it seems like the only places we get to is work and bed. How about we get away to neutral territory like a date or something?"

Pushing up on her elbow, Cory raised her head again to look questioningly into blue eyes. "A date. . .or. . . something?"

Taylor looked down at the blonde and smiled saucily. "Uh-huh or a date and something?" She raised an eyebrow hopefully then flinched as another soft slap hit her shoulder.

"Yeah, I like the date, but we'll have to see about the something, Miss. Where we gonna go?"

Taylor shrugged, "Don't know. You know this area a lot better than I do. You pick. It really can't be anything local though."

"Okay, if you really want to do this. There's a club in Chicago. It's divided into a dinner section and a dance floor section, that is if you're into that."

The admin lightly scratched the small of the blonde's back and grinned at the resulting shiver. "You kidding? If it involves you, I'm into whatever it is."

Cory chuckled at that. "Uh-huh, I might hold you to that."

"Mmm-hmm, you do that." She looked over at the clock. "We have an hour and a half before the alarm goes off. Whatcha wanna do? Make out or go back to sleep?" The admin asked with a wolfish grin. Cory let out a bark of laughed before tracing bare, full lips with her fingers. "You gotta ask?"

Blushing yet again at the memory, she bit her lip and wrung her hands. Not knowing what to do with the appendages, they went behind her back before she met the doctorís frank gaze. The eyes looking back at her were steady and non-judgmental, which was what Cory needed after the fiasco with Barb.

With a wave of her hand, Dr. Zawid beckoned Cory over, "Do you want to come sit and tell me about it?"

Cory nodded and made her way over to sit in her customary spot, on the arm of the chair. Letting out a little laugh, Cory brushed bangs off her forehead before adjoining her hands in her lap. "Um, I really donít know where to start. Uh, we sort of had a physical confrontation at her house about a week ago. We, uh, she touched me and things almost got out of hand. Afterward, I found out that she was like me but hiding it. I slapped her; went to my parents to think, and came back a day later after reaching some decisions. We talked, made some confessions, and made up." Adjoined hands moved in animated fashion as she talked. "Um, thatís the short version of the story. Now, weíre trying to deal with hiding it from the people at the office. I think one person knows, her assistant, but she only suspects. Barb, the friend I told you about, pretty much doesnít agree with it." Coryís face scrunched in pain. "She thinks that Taylor is going to hurt me, but she doesnít really know what happened. I canít seem to get her to listen. Taylor told me to give her time."

Feeling that Cory was finished for the time being, the doctor commented, "You really care about her donít you? Your boss?" The blonde nodded her head in affirmation. "And youíre both ready to take the risks this relationship involves even through the long term?"

"Yeah, we are."

Dr. Zawid sucked in a long breath and leaned forward. "I want you to really think about this, Cory. Doing this could put a strain on the relationship before it even starts. Ethically, you know itís a no-no, but I canít deter you from following your heart. Still, you must think about this carefully. Because she is someone you work with, it may be harder for you to determine the personal from the professional which was a big problem for you. I donít want you to end up in the same boat all over again. We have made fantastic progress. It is very important for you to have a personal life away from the agency to balance things out. A con would be that your friend is a huge representation of your job." She leaned back again.

"However, I must admit that there are quiet a few pros too. Sheíll understand what you go through when you go through it, and because her position is administrative, she can offer a different perspective on how you see things. The important thing here is that the relationship not be just that. You both need to go out if you can and explore each other. Make work secondary. Do you understand what Iím saying, Cory?"

Feeling suddenly bogged down, Cory eased into the chair and sunk into the soft cushion. God, I never looked at it that way. Do we even have enough in common to take this outside work? I donít know. I just donít know, but isnít that the purpose of dating? Her inner Jimmeny scoffed. Havenít you already skipped a few steps, girlie? You went from sleeping together to heavy petting to dating. Leave it to you to be ass backwards. Cory rolled her eyes mentally. I already know so much about her now, including her personal life. The vulnerability wrapped in all that strength intrigues me, calls to me. Itís so much more than physical. If it wasnít, I would have walked a couple of weeks ago. We fit together somehow, and itís just a matter of filling in the puzzle.

Tasting sureness in the back of her throat, Cory finally replied, "Yeah, I do understand. I understand that I havenít felt this good about anything in a long time. I feel safe and wild at the same time with her. I finally feel that itís okay to let go."

"She has seen me break, Doc. It probably would have sent lesser women running, but she stuck it out and called me back. Sheís made me see things that have always been there, but because I was used to looking one way I didnít see them. Through her eyes and a different perspective, I see now that itís not about the amount of people I didnít help. Itís about those clientís who worked with me to bring about a change. Iíve helped people. It wasnít the quantity but the quality of it all. Both of you helped me to see that. I want a friend like that in my life. Hell, we should always have a friend like that, but Iím lucky this time around. I get the friend and a whole lot more, especially with the stuff going on with Barb."

The older woman gave the blonde a small smile. "I have to admit, Cory. You have moved along quite nicely in a relatively short period of time, and you seem sure about this and a lot more, which is a complete turnabout from the woman who walked into my office a few weeks ago. You were very fragile then. Iím glad we were able to reach the power that I knew you had locked down inside. The more itís stoked the bigger it gets. I think your new friend will help with that immensely, and as far as Barb goes, Taylor gave you some good advice, patience. I only know Barb as far as you talk about her, so what Iím about to say will be a generalization. Working in the area that you do, people form life lines of a sort, people that they count on to listen and be there. You were that for Barb and she for you. Am I correct?"

The caseworkerís head nodded.

"With the entrance of a new friend romantic or not, adjustments need to be made to compensate, to add or reject for the new interference. Sometimes volatile feelings are involved to get to this point, but in time things calm down. Barb has been your best friend for years, but now with Taylor in the picture, sheís going through a lot to adjust. You need to be positive about this because as a best friend, your happiness is important to her. Once she gets past all these other emotions, I think she will see what she needs to, given time."

"Yeah, thatís pretty much what Taylor said only you used a lot more words." Cory smiled sheepishly.

Dr. Zawid released a short laugh. She could understand how anyone could be taken by this woman. She was utterly charming. "Are you nervous about your date? It has been a while hasnít it?"

Cory felt a hot blush creep its way up her neck. "God, yes, and weíre sort of doing things backward. Things are hard between us Ďcause," the blush darkened, "um, I canít keep my hands off her." Green eyes skittered away and met amused gray ones.

The doctor couldnít help but smile. "Well, thatís customary in new relationships. Isnít it?"

Cory shook her head vehemently. "No, not like this. Iím surprised that we havenít melted furniture. Itís. . .ah, God!" Unable to take it anymore, the caseworker covered her face with small hands and squeaked out a giggle.

"Ah, love agrees with you my dear."

Cory tore her hands away and stared at the doctor with shocked eyes. Thatís what this is. Thatís why itís so intense. Thatís why I see her, feel her, smell her everywhere. Iím in love. Cory Donovan is in love. Her heart lurched, and the room tipped before she realized that she was holding her breath. Letting it out, the room righted itself, but the lightheadedness stayed and transformed into giddiness. Now, when and how do I tell her? Thatís the big question here. A slow, Cheshire like smile spread across her face, highlighting its beauty. "Yeah, it does." Iíll tell her when I feel the time is right.

Unable to help herself, Dr. Zawid grinned back. "Well, let me add this to your good news. I think youíre ready to go back to the field at least part time. I recommend three times a week, but no on-call weekends yet since they seem to be more explosive."

Coryís insides screamed for her to get up and do a jig, but her butt was glued to the chair. She simply did her impression of a fishómouth open and eyes wide. "Um, how did. . .I was just going to. . .whoa!" If it was possible, her face brightened more. Two things she loved, and she had them both in the palm of her hand. Not knowing what else to do, Coryís arms raised over her head and she let out a triumphant whoop followed by a relieved laugh. With sparkling eyes she grinned outright at the older woman. "You know, I would hug you right now, but I canít get up. The leather is stuck to the backs of my legs. I guess that's what I get for wearing such a short skirt."

Again, the doctor laughed. "I have no problem with that. Here, Iíll help you up."

Cory engulfed the older, smaller woman in a full hug and sighed as they broke apart. "God, I canít believe this. Things are going so good right now."

"And you deserve for it to continue that way, Cory, but I want our sessions to continue for a little while longer just until youíre back full time."

Cory sat back down. "Okay, we can do that. So, when can I start?"

"Whenever you want. Just know that you have my go ahead." The doctor looked down at her watch. "Why donít we cut the session short so that I can let you get ready a day early? Unless you have something else you want to share?"

Cory shook her head. "Thanks so much, and no, I think those were the main things." She stood and gathered her purse and briefcase. "Thanks again for everything, Doc, and Iíll see you next week." The caseworker smiled and waved as she made her way to the office door.

Emma Zawid watched as the blonde speeded out the door. She smiled and shook her head, feeling happy that she could help.

Chapter XXXII: The Wait and See Game

Taylor shut off the radio in disgust, vowing instead to listen to the errant sounds of the dark. She had moved from station to station, and if she heard that "Thong Song" one more time, she was going to pull the next thug off the street and give him her radio.

One long arm found its way on the side of the seat, adjusting it to allow the admin to lean further back. Stretching experimentally, Taylor took a quick glance of the dashboard clock. Any minute. She is going to be here any minute, and I'm sitting outside her apartment building like some randy teenager.

Little Shelley snorted, What exactly do you have to complain about? You ARE acting like some randy teenager. Better be glad this place doesn't have video cameras. I imagine you two would make the security guard very happy!

The admin rolled her eyes skyward. LS was really getting bold in her comments. Just hope she keeps quiet when Cory and I actually make love.

Not if you're not doing it right!

Taylor let out a bark of laughter. "Maybe, I need to make a little trip to the head doctor too," she said aloud before all her thoughts turned inward.

Things had been going smoothly for the past week, and Taylor had to agree that she'd slept better this week more so than she had in years. Waking up next to her in the morning makes me feel like a new person Everything that happened before her is a blur, and it's the here and now that matters. I think that I've let my past follow me for so long that it became a heavier extension of me. Now, with her, I feel free and new like back then was just an awful rehearsal for my life today. Is this what Mom felt for Dad? This all consuming, electrically charged type of thing? I always said that I didn't want that, but now I want it deeper, as deep as I can get it.

I've never really held a woman in my arms before, but I can't tell now because this thing between us seems so right and so meant to be. Cory fits me. She maybe small in stature, but her personality is just as big, maybe bigger than mine. The only thing I can say about the size of her heart is that it seems like all outdoors, teeming with compassion and gentleness for those around. Do I consider myself lucky?
Taylor scoffed at herself. Yeah, I'm damned lucky to have her in my life. Not often that you come across someone willing to risk themselves for a relationship. Not often that one comes across a woman like Cory at all. So, lucky doesn't even cover it.

Just being around her makes me say and do things I would have been appalled at years ago. I wanna see her smile, blush, smirk and laugh, and I will do and say anything to get those results. Now, we're going on a date away from the agency and all things job related. I got a feeling that I will be pleasantly surprised at what I learn about her. I have to admit that I'm kind of nervous. Before, when I was dating, everything was a game, but now things couldn't be more real. It's that capacity for realness that scares me. Is there something there for us? I have to believe that there is. I wouldn't open up and feel like I do otherwise.
Taylor squinted in the sudden light as an oncoming car illuminated her part of the parking lot, and her heart skipped a beat when she realized who the headlights belonged to.


Flipping off the ignition, Cory laid excited hands on top of the steering wheel then pushed them nervously through her hair. Things at the office had been especially hectic all day, and they had barely had the chance to be alone longer than a few minutes. To say that she was looking forward to the next eight to ten hours would be an understatement. Do I tell her tonight? What if she doesn't feel the same way yet? I know she cares, but love is a different thing altogether. I should wait until I know that she feels the same. God, what am I going to do? When she touches me, I come apart in her hands. How can she not already know? Cory leaned in, laying her forehead on the steering wheel and sighing in exasperated fashion. She couldn't take too long, spying the admin's car when she pulled into her parking space. Ugh, I guess I need to just go with the flow and hope that I don't blurt it out. Gathering her purse and other belongings, Cory got out of the car, and the breathe lodged in her throat to see Taylor, wearing only brief cut-off blue jean shorts and a white t-shirt, leaning casually against her own car door, waiting. Of their own volition her feet carried her briskly to the spot just in front of the admin, who stood there lazily like a dark cat in the night. Cory looked up in the admin's face part illuminated part hidden by the street lights. Quietly and for what seemed like forever, she peered into pale blue, reading them and getting lost in them. Look at her. What is she doing with me? She's so beautiful and I'm screwed up. Could her feelings get any deeper?

From under hooded eyes, Taylor allowed herself to get swallowed up in jade green. The feeling was most like drowning, but she knew there was no danger on the other side. Cocking her head to the side, the admin continued to hold the blonde's gaze, seeing the happiness and a small amount of wariness at the same time, but other astute senses picked up the forced looseness in the caseworker's shoulders and tightness around her mouth and eyes. The admin thought to herself. Something's bothering her. She's way too quiet and tense. Looking to soothe, Taylor reached out a hand to caress the satin smoothness of a cheek. "Hey, been thinking bout you all day. Been missing you." The blonde head lowered to hide what she could only assume was a blush, but her insides sighed in relief when Cory raised her head again and the wariness was gone.

"Missed you too." I gotta get a hold of myself. I don't want her to think that I don't want. . . Cory sat the briefcase and her other belongings down with a thump on the pavement and leaned into the body in front of her, molding it to her in a full bodied hug. She smiled at the feel of Taylor's suddenly racing heart and the playful hands at the nape of her neck.

"Oof, I guess you really did miss me. Everything go okay with the doc?" Taylor asked hesitantly.

Listen to her. I really need to snap out of this. Don't want to spoil her night with my insecurities. "Yeah," Cory pulled away a little to look up into the shadowed face, "I'm just tired, but I do have some good news." She tried to brighten her voice and demeanor.

"Uh-huh, I still feel like there's something wrong in there." The admin tapped the caseworker's temple. "You can talk to me when you're ready, or is it. . ." There was a slight intake of breath during the pause before she asked huskily, "Do you want to be alone? I can understand. . ."

Oh, man. See what you're doing?! Cory tightened her hold around the brunette. "No! No, of course not. It's just that. I don't know. Just feeling a little weirded out today is all. Don't let me bring you down."

God, she scared me there for a minute. I don't want her to feel smothered by me needing her like this. "Well, allow me to do something to lighten your mood. We'll order some take out, Chinese of course and my treat. We'll cuddle, watch some TV, and you can tell me about your good news." Taylor turned the blonde in her arms until they were side by side. Draping an arm over slim, but strong shoulders, she leaned down the kiss the top of the blonde head. "What do you think?" Little Shelley clapped in delight. I have taught you well!

"Well, I think you are too good to me, and I still think you're sweet. I didn't really feel like cooking anyway, so lead on." Cory bent down to retrieve her bags.

"Okay, just let me grab my clothes out of the car."

Cory took a few steps back before the admin joined her. The night alive with the sound of distant cars, radios and far away conversations became more so with the shrill sound of the activating car alarm.


Taylor sat sprawled on the couch with her head tilted back on the cushion, waiting for Cory to return with some menus and a phone book if need be. Something is still bothering her. I can feel it. Maybe tomorrow night when I get her away from here, she'll open up more. She almost looked conflicted or unsure about something. I hope it isn't me. Haven't I done everything I could to show her how I feel? Ugh, how exactly do I feel? I know already that I can't do without her, but what does that mean exactly? Maybe if I had these feelings before, I would be better at identifying them.

LS whispered in that all knowing voice, 'You know what it is just look inside and think about it. Think about it hard.'

Taylor sucked in a deep breath, closed her eyes and rubbed the bridge of her nose. She sat up a little at the sound of incoming footsteps.

Cory came from the bedroom toting a collection of menus in one hand and a phone book in another. "Okay, I don't think we'll need the phone book. I found a lot of menus from Chinese to Japanese, so all we have to do is pick." Feeling slightly better about things, she felt a smirk coming on as a thought invaded, "And no they don't have anything with peanut butter, but they do have a chicken dish with cashews. I'm sure if we pay them enough we can get somebody to stomp on them for you." She stared at her relaxing companion innocently.

Feeling the need to overcome confusing thoughts, Taylor threw back her head and laughed. "Oh, you are so funny. Sit down here," she patted the cushion next to her, "and let's have a look."

Minutes later, Taylor had decided on the Kung Po chicken while Cory stuck with the Mongolian beef. Cory found herself tucked against the taller woman's side as the waited for the food and channel surfed. The blonde was the first to speak," You know, I've noticed something about you. You sure do eat a lot of chicken. Is that a health thing, or," Cory grinned, "did Wendy perpetuate it in college?"

Taylor chuckled, "Ah, very good Grasshopper. I used to think that's all she knew how to cook. Some habits are hard to break, but I do eat beef and some pork every now and then. You'd think I'd be tired of chicken, but call it one of my quirks."

"Nuh-uh, I'll call Wendy one of your quirks. Things have been quiet since she left the other day. Don't tell her this, but I sort of miss her."

The admin laughed full out, " I knew you two would hit it off. She rubs off on people, even though she is kind of strange. She likes you too. I talked to her a couple of days ago, and she wanted to know how you're doing. I gave her your number if you don't mind, so she might be calling this weekend."

"No problem. Maybe I can get more Taylor's college adventure stories out of her."

Taylor's eyebrows rose in surprise as her voice rose an octave, "You wouldn't dare!?"

Cory raised blonde brows right back. "Oh yes, I would. No one can be honest about a person's embarrassing moments like a best friend."

Giving her companion a mock scowl, Taylor replied, "Well then, one good turn deserves another. I'll just. . ." Damn it, Wilson, open mouth and insert foot. Green eyes shined with hurt as they looked up at her. The admin kissed the blonde's exposed brow. "I'm sorry sweetie that was insensitive of me."

Cory bit her lip as waves of unsureness and insecurity rolled through her again. Does Barb know something I don't? Why is she with me and how does she really feel? Cory closed her eyes briefly in an attempt to push disturbing feelings back. Opening them again, she said softly, "It's okay. I just hope you and Dr. Zawid are right. She pretty much said the same thing you did. I just hope you're right. It's hard meeting people that you trust and making friends. Look how long it took us to be even be cordial to one another."

The pained look in green eyes made Taylor a little nervous and a lot scared. Something big is going on here. "I know, but ours was a special case. Don't you think?" Come on baby talk to me.

Cory did her best to smile, but where there was confidence before in this relationship, a shadow of doubt was cast. For once, the blonde was unsure on how to confront it. "Yeah, I think it was." She paused for a minute, getting the need to get away for a few minutes. "Uhm, I'll go get plates and stuff for when the food gets here."

Still sitting on the couch and with confused eyes, Taylor watched her walk away.

Once in the kitchen, Cory held on to the edge of the counter top like a life line. Why can't I just ask her? Would that be too forward? I mean, to get an answer would set my mind at ease, but what if I get the wrong one? She reached up and pulled the cabinet door open with force. The plates landed on the counter top with enough vehemence to break them. Luckily, they didn't.

In the living room, Taylor jumped at the loud sound. I should be in there, trying to get her to talk to me. She's scaring me. Without a second thought, Taylor found herself leaning against the kitchen door jab.

Cory stiffened, somehow knowing that she wasn't alone. God, I can smell her, feel her. I have to know.

"Cory," the admin whispered softly, hesitantly, "can you talk. . ."

I need to know. The blonde turned around meeting azure with definite intensity. Squaring her shoulders, her arms and fisted hands hung stiffly at her sides. Green eyes raked over the form before her, taking in every curve, every line, and studying Patrician features. Her voice came out hoarse and full of emotion. "Can I ask you something?"

Taylor nodded her head mutely. That's it. Let it out.

"Look at you, so beautiful, so complicated. What are you doing with me? Maybe Barb was right to question this. Why would you want to be with somebody who's so screwed up that she has to go to a head doctor?"

Taylor's heart banged against her chest. My God. What is causing all of this? I thought I made it clear how I felt about her. Why is she so insecure all of a sudden?

Because it's as new to her as it is to you. It's only human to question something you've never felt before. Talk to her. Tell her why.

With eyes that dripped emotion, Taylor practiced her new policy, listening to LS. She only hoped her eyes would say what she couldn't or what she messed up.

Slowly, the admin walked forward, closing the distance between them. "Why? Because I want to be. Because I need to be, and because you make me feel things that I thought were dead inside. I can't stay away from you, can't stop touching you." She stopped a hair's breath away from the caseworker, letting her heat, her presence soak in. Then, the admin closed whatever distance was left by molding her body against the smaller one in front of her. Large hands found purchase on soft, satin like cheeks, lifting the blonde's face to her own. So close that she could taste her breathe. Cory's husky whimper made the brunette's insides quake. Long fingers trailed from face to neck, running over the skin there lightly, gently. Foreheads touched, and the admin spoke again, "Because I know we should be."

The quivering started from the inside out. Her breathe rattled in her chest, and Cory knew that her newfound feelings had just been reaffirmed. No one had ever spoken to her this way, touched her this way, made her feel this way. Being only human, with these new feelings, came insecurities based on the how, the why, the does she, and how much? Cory was knee deep in it. While these powerful words hit their mark, they still weren't the ones she wanted to hear. I just have to bide my time. I know she cares, so much, but I can't force her to say something she doesn't feel yet. Oh God, help me! How do I do this? One word rose in her consciousness before all others. Patience.

Cory wrapped her hands around Taylor's wrists. Lifting elegant hands to her mouth, she kissed each palm before squeezing the appendages and letting them go. They found their way to the blonde's waist. Cory leaned in again, letting their foreheads touch. "The things you say and do, they leave me breathless sometimes, and it's so overwhelming. You make me feel things I didn't even know were possible for me. I never wanted anyone. . .God!"

With that mumbled statement, the caseworker became hyper aware of the body molded to hers. The feel of hips pressed against her stomach, the allure of full breast not far from her lips, and the feel of warm hands on her body were all a trial in pleasurable torture. Breathe hitched in her throat then came out husky and rapid, along with a whimper. She felt Taylor's body surge into hers at the sound. Harsh breaths mingled as small, playful fingers skirted sculpted cheekbones and wound into inky tresses.

"Taylor. . . I need. . .kiss me."

The admin didn't need to be told twice. Her lips itched to taste the woman before her. Without preamble, lips met hard and hungry. Twin moans reverberated through the small kitchen. Tongues dueled and flicked lazily across one another one second then the next they met with urgent speed. Taylor's hands flexed against Cory's waist then she whimpered at the feel of talented fingers caressing her scalp. Of their own volition, her hips powered forward, searching for contact and growled in frustration when there was none. Hoping to compensate, she reached for one of the caseworker's muscled thighs, knowing that Cory would get the hint. She did, and strong legs wrapped around her waist. Urgently seeking hands, pushed up the material of the blonde's skirt until it would go no further, and the admin led them both back against the counter. Holding on to taut buttocks, Taylor ground into the newly exposed thighs and mewed in satisfaction when they came forward to meet her. Mouths that had refused to tear away moments before had to do so for the sake of air.

Cory's head spun as her hips increased the ferocity in the battle of pleasure between them. She cried out when hot, wet lips found the sensitive spot on her neck, right at the pulse point. "Ah, yes!" Her voice was husky, thick, and shaking hands held the brunette in place over sensitized skin. Now near complete arousal, wet panties rubbed in delicious places, taking her higher.

It was all too much. The hits and misses all seemed to come to this. The need was almost frightening. "Need to feel you," Taylor got out in a hoarse whisper before reaching inside silky panties and meeting fleshy globes. She squeezed experimentally and almost came undone at the sound it elicited. Her knees went from putty to watery when small hands that had been tugging on her t-shirt finally met bare flesh. Blunt nails raked up the admin's back in wanton fashion. Letting out a choked whimper, Taylor arched her body in an attempt to intensify pleasure. They were both startled and almost jumped apart at the sound of loud knocking on the door. Still, they were slow to move.

"Wha. .?" Cory asked breathlessly. Then, she whimpered as hips continued to rock.

Still incoherent, Taylor shook her head to try and clear it, but her body had a mind of its own. Slowly, her hips continued a deep grind, pulling another moan from the blonde's swollen lips. "Food. I think," the admin replied in a whisper. "Give me a minute. I don't think I can move. Don't want to stop this. . ." Gathering self-control from somewhere, Taylor tore herself away and sat Cory softly back on her own two feet. The admin patted her chest in an attempt to catch her breath, but her eyes stayed in the flush face of her companion. Backing away slowly, she explained, "Gotta go pay for it. Be right back. 'Cause we need food for. . . later." The look in her eyes was hopeful. Cory gave her a tremulous smile and watched her walk back into the living room.

The blonde caseworker blew out a calming breath and leaned heavily against the counter. Oh goodness, what the hell happened. Didn't mean for this to get out of hand like that. Her body throbbed with unfulfilled arousal. But, I can't do this. Not till I know. Not till I hear her say it. Don't want to ruin anything. Cory pushed a shaking hand through her hair and moved on wobbly legs into the living room where she could here the door closing.

Taylor wanted to throw the money at the delivery guy and give him a force ten glare just to let him know what he was interrupting. But, I saw her. She wants this. Never seen her react like that before. Feeling giddy, Taylor turned from the door to see Cory standing in the middle of the living room. Her eyes were downcast and even after the admin cleared her throat, Cory refused to meet them. Taylor sucked in a silent breath. Okay, what just happened here?

Something's missing, and she needs that to move on with you. You know what it is. Until then, you had BETTER be understanding! LS added cryptically.

Taylor almost chuckled at LS's growing gall, but again, she was right. Getting a good one handed grip on the bags, the admin moved forward, until she was at arms length. "Hey, what's wrong?" With thumb and forefinger, she lifted the hanging head until green eyes met her own.

Feeling caught again by pale blue, Cory couldn't turn away or lie. "I'm sorry about in there. I just. . . I guess I'm not ready for that yet. It's been a while."

Taylor pulled her into a one armed hug. "Hey, it's okay. That's not all there is between us. I can wait, and I trust you'll let me know when you're ready."

Cory's head began to hang again. "I'm still sorry. You must think I'm a child. I mean, we're both adults with healthy. . ."

Still in the hug, the admin squeezed and interrupted. "That's right. We are adults, and there's nothing wrong with knowing what you want and when you want it. I can wait, and I'm sure as hell not going anywhere. Okay?" She looked down at the blonde head and kissed it, causing Cory to look up.

Her eyes. I can tell she's sincere. It's like they sparkle only for me. "Okay."

"Good. Now, let's eat. You go get the plates and you can tell me your good news."

A few seconds later, Taylor sat the bags on the living room table and sat down in front of the mumbling TV. Very, very good. 'Bout time you decided to listen. The admin rolled her eyes and waited patiently for her blonde companion.


Long minutes later, they sat on the couch with legs curled under them munching away on the delivered food and watching of all things, the Cartoon Network. Cory observed the admin rolling her eyes at the cross dressing, drag queen like villain, Him, on the Powerpuff Girls. Despite the doubt and feelings rolling in the back of her mind. She knew that she wouldn't trade this for anything.

Taylor turned to the blonde and grinned as she caught her staring. "You sure this is a kid's cartoon?"

Cory chuckled, "Yeah, but I have to admit. Some eps do have adult themes. There was one where the mayor was licking on some guy."

The admin rolled her eyes again. "Oh man, I can't believe I'm watching this. You're gonna corrupt me," she added with a smirk.

Cory scrunched her brow together before replying, "You mean, I haven't already? Well, just wait Scooby-Doo is on next."

Taylor groaned and made a mock stabbing maneuver toward the blonde with her fork. "Okay, okay then we have time since I know it's your favorite. Tell me this great news."

The caseworker looked at her boss confused until enlightenment dawned. With all the activity tonight, she had completely forgotten. A slow smile spread over her face as she sat her plate down. "Glad we're finished with the presentation for next week."

Taylor raised an eyebrow, silently asking why.

"'Cause, we're going to be busy that is if you still want to be with me."

Feeling more and more disassociated with the conversation, the admin asked, "Huh?" She put her fork and plate down.

The blonde's smile got impossibly bigger and her eyes took on a mischievous sparkle. "Got cleared for the field today atleast part time. I'm assuming that you still want to be out there with me."

Excited for the blonde, Taylor grabbed her hand. "Oh my God, that's great news. I bet it's been killing you cooped up in that office."

The petite caseworker bit her lip. "Nah, it definitely has its perks." She gave the admin a lecherous grin, which she reacted to with a squeeze of her hand and playful swipe of the blonde's nose. "But, still you are a little right. I belong out there because I think it's where I do my best work. Paper is fine, but it's never a substitute for talking with and helping other people. You know what I mean?"

Taylor nodded, "Yeah, I guess I do. You're a people person, and I can understand that. I took some theory and interviewing classes in college, but I'll never be really good with people. I mean, don't get me wrong. I use what I have including the looks, the smarts, and the intimidation factor, but I really think that only works with the assholes who run the city. It's not appropriate for what you do."

Cory stared at her questioningly but happy to learn every new thing. "So, you're saying that you don't do what I do because people thought you were intimidating?"

"No, no I think I am, or at least I know I am. I'm not good with the sensitive chat thing. Never have been. Probably scare them away. I guess when you never had it around you, it's hard to fake it, you know?" The admin stated in the softest of voices, suddenly feeling old memories surface.

Seeing and feeling the change in Taylor, Cory scooted closer. That still hurts her. How could anyone ignore someone so beautiful inside and out. Makes me sick. "You're talking about your parents?"

The admin peered into jade eyes and tried to smile. It came out shaky at best. She doesn't need this right now. I can't bring her down with my baggage. "Yeah, but it's okay. I accepted that a long time ago."

Still feeling slightly miffed, the caseworker wanted to take away the haunted look in her boss' eyes. "You're wrong, and I'm gonna tell you why."

Pale blue widened but kept contact.

Cory moved closer and placed both hands on the brunette's cheeks. "Where did you learn to say such sweet things to me? Everytime I'm down you always seem to say the right thing, the perfect thing to pull me up again. Don't sell yourself short because it was their loss, Taylor, and I never knew someone who could be so gentle."

The older woman tried to look away, but Cory would have none of it. She lifted the determine chin and brought emotion filled eyes back to her own.

"No, don't look away. You know what I say is true. Some women would have had a fit if I had initiated what I did in the kitchen then broke it off, but somehow, you knew what to say, what to do to make me feel special and cherished. It's like you know that I'll be worth the wait. Do you see what I mean?"

More a bit overwhelmed, Taylor let the emotions pour out through her eyes. They were laced with confusion, old pain, acceptance, and appreciation. She knew her voice was going to be scratchy, but she used it anyway. "Maybe. . .maybe you bring it out in me?"

Cory shook her head and smiled. "No, I think it was always there. I just opened the door." She leaned in gently kissing warm, flavorful lips. "Believe it."

Unbelievable warmth pooled into her insides, causing a fuzzy, pleasurable feeling. Those feelings led to a all out smile that changed her from beautiful to extraordinarily so. She is so good for me. Is this how she sees me? "I think you could make me believe almost anything, but I do. I believe you."

"Good. Now, you never did answer my question. You going out to the field with me? I'm telling you now that I'm going to need you to do some talking and maybe some assessments, but I know you can handle it."

Taylor brushed her lips against the blonde's forehead as a gesture of thanks. "Yeah, I'm there. When can you go back out?"

"It can be as soon as tomorrow if you're up to it. At least, I don't have to hand off all my cases now, but I still can't do on-call yet."

"Mmm, I'll have to tell Shelley to juggle my morning, but I think it's doable."

The blonde grinned, "Great!" She moved back and leaned over to grab the fork out of the admin's plate. Spearing a piece of chicken, she brought it up to her boss' mouth. "Now, eat. Scooby's coming on next, and I want to see if you can pick out the obvious subtext between Velma and Daphne."

Taylor almost choked in an attempt to hold back a laugh. She let it come anyway. She is very good for me and to me. "Cory, you're something else."

Giving the admin a wink, she murmured, "You got it."

Chapter XXXIII: Sleeping Beauty

Cory woke with a smile at the feel of warmth around and under her. She was in her usual place, sprawled all over the lanky body of the admin. She didn't know what woke her into the pre-morning light, but the caseworker relished the chance to observe. Sitting up as slowly as possible, the blonde caseworker looked down into Taylor's relaxed face. She looked so young with too long bangs whisping over her forehead, and lines on her face, around her mouth and eyes, that seemed deeper before were smoothed out. Pale lips were slightly parted exposing white teeth. Cory decided that the woman had never looked more beautiful even when she smiled.

They had spent the night talking, laughing, and cuddling like they had been doing it for years, and to Cory's delight, the admin did pick out the errant looks Velma gave Daphne when the gang split up and she always ended up with the dog and Shaggy. They had watched cartoon after cartoon until finally someone turned to the Discovery Channel where a strange little man with an Australian accent was chasing a lizard around. After that, Taylor was introduced to the wonder that is Abbie Carmichiael and Law & Order. She lifted an ebony brow and grinned when the sleek, dark haired attorney made an appearance.

All in all, it had been a day and night full of revelation, learning and fun, but now, it was time to start another day sure to be full of interesting encounters. That's when Cory figured out what had awakened her. It was excitement pure and simple. She couldn't wait to get her feet wet again. Green eyes peered over at the alarm clock. It was almost forty five minutes until it rang. Moving as gently and carefully as possible, she somehow extricated herself and padded, clad in shorts and a t-shirt, into the bathroom for an early shower.

Sometime later an irritating buzzing caused sleepy blue eyes to open. She peered at the alarm clock in disgust and smacked at it. The buzzing, now ringing, didn't stop. Cursing, Taylor realized that it was the phone. Disoriented and forgetting where she was, she picked up the receiver.

"Hello?" Her voice was dripping with irritation.

The voice on the other end was hesitant. "Um, may I speak with Cory please?"

Still muddled, Taylor responded with, "Who?"

"Cory Donovan? Can I talk to her please? This is her mother."

Pale blue eyes widened as sleep fled. Oh shit! Taylor popped up in the bed almost dropping the phone. It was then that she realized that Cory wasn't in the bed room at all. She continued to look around in a panic. "Um, she's not. . ." Taylor went still for a moment, hearing the shower. "Um, she's in the shower." There was another long pause. Oh, double shit "I mean, I'll go get her." Damn, damn, damn! "Just hold on."

The voice on the other end was still somewhat hesitant. "Okay, sure."

Taylor scrambled out of the bed, getting tangled in the sheet and taking it with her. Thankful the blonde had gotten a cordless, the admin got to the bathroom door as fast as her feet would carry her, not wanting to say another thing incriminating. Pulling it open, the admin stopped, blinked, and let her mouth fall open. There was Cory, very naked and very wet getting out of the shower. Forgetting the phone, hungry blue eyes devoured the sight, and Cory stared back at her in startled surprise. It wasn't until the caller cleared her throat that the admin was yanked from her reverie. "She's. . .um. . .naked." Taylor's voice squeaked on the last word, raising almost two octaves above its normal tone. Her mouth dropped in horror when she realized what she had just said. Freud. She really, really hated him. Aw, hell! The admin wanted to scream at the suddenly snickering LS, but instead, she admitted defeat and simply said, "Phone. It's your mom."

Now concealed in a towel, Cory's eyes widened in understanding of the brunette's weird antics. She bit her lip, but the smile formed anyway and changed to an amused chuckle. After a few seconds, the chuckle went to a laugh. Doubled over, the caseworker reached for the phone. Putting it to her ear, she spoke in between gulping breaths, "Hi, mom."

"Morning, Bunchee. Um, was that. . .flat ass?"

Cory laughed harder then answered, "Uh-huh." She looked up to see a smirking brunette staring back at her. Taylor stuck out her tongue, rolled her eyes, and padded back into the bedroom with as much dignity as she could muster. Her blonde companion held on to her stomach as the laughter intensified.

The day was starting off interesting already.

Part II

Hope you all enjoy it so far. Give me a hoot and holler at Minerva

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