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taste of your lips

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The first time it happens, it catches them both by surprise. At least, it definitely catches Alex by surprise, because she feels like she’s having an actual out of body experience. And it makes sense, when she hits the pause button and really thinks about it (much later, in the silence of her apartment, over a bottle of beer, with her nerves still on fire from the unexpected rush of an incredible first kiss). But in the moment, her mind can’t process anything because Sam Arias has the softest lips she’s ever tasted, and oh, God, she actually knows what Sam’s lips feel like.

“Wow.” It’s all Alex can think to say when they break apart, and she cringes when she thinks about it later. But even after Sam is gone, and she’s alone, it’s the only word she can think of to even begin to describe the feeling.

“I’ve wanted to do that for awhile,” Sam says against her lips, and she smiles into their next kiss, which Alex gratefully accepts.

So technically it’s two kisses, or one full on make out session, but Alex isn’t keeping score, because she can’t even believe that this is happening.

How they’ve even gotten to this point is another thing entirely. Alex can sort of retrace her steps to find what’s led to this situation developing, but it’s funny that she even has to do that because of how natural the entire progression has been.

It happens during a movie night, and the fact that they even have ‘Sam and Alex movie nights’ is a phenomenon that also just sort of becomes a thing. One time gives way to two, which gives way to a frequency that doesn’t need an invitation – it just starts to be implied. The only thing that’s been surprising to Alex is just how easy it feels. How easy her and Sam feel. Sam fits into Alex’s life like her most trusted and fitted piece of tactical gear, one she never has to adjust or scramble to try to put on. Sam is balance where Alex needs it, and stability when everything else is out of control. She’s strength and grace and that little bit of sass that she somehow knows exactly how to use. It’s a breath of fresh air that Alex didn’t know she was craving, gift wrapped in an aesthetically pleasing package with a good face and an even kinder heart.

Alex has started to learn to read Sam, too, and she starts to know and appreciate all her little quirks. Like the way Sam will dance around the kitchen when she’s cooking, singing into her wooden spoon because Ruby has done something that makes her just so proud. Or the way she combs her fingers through her long locks of brown hair, tugging slightly when she’s near her scalp because she’s just so stressed from work and only red wine will do.

Their closeness begins after several girl’s nights start to have a predictable pattern: one where Alex finds herself consistently tucked away in a quiet corner chatting with Sam and trying not to sound like a blithering idiot. They usually all chat as a group first, and pass around the take out, and share anecdotes about their weeks, and it’s nice, and casual, and everything that a girl’s night should be. But inevitably, Kara and Lena’s careful orbit around each other ends up crashing spectacularly and the two just curl up into each other, lost in their own world, one in which they believe no one else will pick up on the the fact that they’re actually smitten with each other. Alex does her best to turn a blind eye and Sam, she realizes, does the same. So she sort of has her lovestruck and oblivious sister to thank for pushing her in this direction, really, and maybe she will one day. That is, if Supergirl ever figures out how to read her own feelings.

As far as looks go, Sam has always been gorgeous, with legs for days and soft, doe-eyes that blink at Alex with just enough silent mystery that it causes that thing to shift in her stomach. But Alex ignores it, because it’s absurd, and Sam’s out of reach, and besides, that isn’t even the point of getting to know her. She’s a new friend, and it’s great, because Alex could really use more of those if she allows herself to think about it. And Sam is perfect for the job: with her down-to-Earth personality and easygoing charm that pulls everyone in and makes conversation flow easily, even when Alex feels like her mind is short-circuiting. So that’s what they do. They talk about work, and Alex finds that she loves the way Sam is brilliant and resolute in her decisions. She instantly understands Lena’s choice to put so much faith in her friend, giving Sam considerable control of the family company that Lena has put so much of herself into. They talk about Ruby, who is bright and cheerful and carries an inner strength that is undeniably inherited from her mother. Alex tells her about her own work, as much as she can, at least, and it bothers her that she can’t divulge more. This in and of itself is telling, because she hardly ever feels that way with people. It means that Sam matters, even if Alex isn’t sure of the capacity. Still, even with the limited intel on Alex’s double life, Sam looks at her with admiration, and is always quick to dish out compliments about Alex’s flair for being a bad ass.

(And when it comes from Sam’s mouth, it leaves her feeling smug for days, and she doesn’t like to admit it, but she tends to walk a little taller, with her shoulders a little squarer anytime Sam reminds her that she’s tough.)

From there, and much to Alex’s surprise, whenever she hosts the group at her place, she notices the way Sam starts to linger around long after everyone else departs. She always offers to clean up, with a knowing smirk and an empty garbage bag ready for service. Alex thinks perhaps it’s the mom in her, just wanting to be responsible, and keep everything in order. But then Sam surprises her, and in the same breath also offers an extra night cap with a sparkle in her eye and a smile that seems to say “we deserve this, I won’t tell.”

And Alex always takes her up on it.

“You should come by sometime,” Sam casually suggests, one night after everyone else has left. It’s just the two of them in Alex’s apartment, finishing a bottle of red and washing the other empty glasses. “I don’t do scary movies alone, but I think if I had the right company, it wouldn’t be so bad.”

They had been talking about their favorite movies earlier, and making fun of Kara for her horrible taste and her fear of the Shining. Sam hadn’t said much, only smiled along and made eye contact with Alex over her wine glass, which had left Alex’s cheeks flushed for the remainder of the evening.

“Movie night? With– with me as your company? Oh, yeah, great, that’s really great,” Alex stammers, and she’s annoyed that she’s flustered, but she isbecause…well… how can she not be?

“Oh, by company, I meant Jack,” Sam holds up a bottle of whiskey with a cheeky smile and she shakes it just slightly to make the contents tumble. Alex’s stomach feels like it does the same. “Yes, you, obviously. What do ya say?”

“Should I invite the others?” Alex asks casually, and she doesn’t really want to, but it feels weird not to offer.

“You can, but I think maybe we should let Kara and Lena try to figure out what’s going on with them…alone for once, you know?” Sam grins and rolls her eyes. “I love them both, but they’re so thick.”

“Totally,” Alex agrees, nodding along, and she’s smiling until she realizes the underlying tone in Sam’s invitation. Namely, her and Sam, hanging out alone. She swallows thickly. That’s fine. It’s what friends do, and they’re friends now. Alex needs friends, Kara is always telling her so. This is perfect. 

“So, movie night, then?”

And it begins.

The first night, Alex almost loses her mind, because after small talk and wine, they’re on the couch, and the room is dark, and there’s nothing but a horror movie flickering on the screen and Sam’s very warm body sitting inches from Alex’s own. It’s the first time Alex is very conscious of everything Sam – the subtle smell of her cologne, which intermingles with her vanilla shampoo in such an intoxicating way that Alex thinks she might be hypnotized, and her long, lean arms with her tight muscles that make themselves visible under the short sleeves of her t-shirt when she reaches out for her glass of wine. It’s the first time Alex is forced to acknowledge that okay, maybe there’s more than a little attraction going on here, and unfortunately this is very inconvenient. It’s not the ideal time to discover this, but nothing Alex does in her personal life is ever ideal. As a result, she spends more time trying to figure out why she agreed to this, and if she’s being awkward, than actually watching the movie. Sam is probably oblivious and Alex chastises herself, because all Sam wanted to do was watch movies, and now she’s stuck with someone languishing over how good she looks.

Get a grip, Danvers.

It isn’t until she feels Sam inching closer to her on the couch that she pauses, with her heart pounding in her chest, listening to the hitch in Sam’s breaths. She chances a sideways glance at her to assess the situation, and she sees Sam’s wide eyes fixated on the screen and the blanket pulled up right under her nose. It’s adorable, and somehow still attractive, which Alex can’t figure out, so she smiles in spite of herself.

“Don’t judge me,” Sam says, refusing to take her eyes away from the screen. Alex watches as the flickering light dances over Sam’s face, illuminating the smoothness of her cheekbones that poke out from under her blanket shield.

“Judge you? Never,” Alex laughs, and turns back to the movie. A few minutes later, she feels Sam’s hand wrap around her forearm during a particularly tense scene, and she wouldn’t think anything of it, except for the fact that it stays there for the remainder of the time.

“So that wasn’t so bad, hm?” Alex says when the credits start rolling, her own confidence completely out the window as she can feel her wrist still burning from Sam’s fingers. Fingers that are only now retreating as Sam pulls back her hand with a sheepish grin. “You’re alive!”

Sam leans back into the couch, and rolls her head to the side, glancing at Alex in a completely defeated way. She chuckles as her eyes trail over Alex’s face. “That was horrible.”

“Maybe we jumped into it a little fast. I’ll have Kara give us recommendations for the next one,” Alex teases, and Sam takes a pillow and hits her softly in the chest.

She picks up the pillow to hand it back when she realizes what she just said. The next one? As in, let’s do this again. As in, I really like spending time with you. She cringes inwardly and hopes it doesn’t come off as desperate as she feels.

But there is a next time. And a time after that. And so on, and so on.

Sometimes Sam comes to Alex’s straight from work, and on those nights it’s a lot to handle, because she’s wearing the blazers that hug her body just right, and the pants that travel for miles up her legs. Alex tries to get used to it, because she’s seen her dressed up like this before, but her mouth is dry, and her heart is dancing against her ribs, and she really hopes Sam can’t tell that she’s gawking. She starts borrowing Alex’s clothes on these occasions, which almost makes the problem worse, because the only thing more attractive than Sam in her work outfits is Sam in Alex’s t-shirts. There’s no winning this debacle, but Alex surrenders herself and just practices staring so hard at the TV that she’s convinced she might actually fall into it.

Sometimes Alex goes to Sam’s, and she’s already home, with her hair tossed up in a casual bun, without any make-up, curled up on the couch watching trashy reality TV and grinning at her secret indulgence. Alex likes the fact that L-Corp’s acting CFO can name all of the real housewives, and has seen way too many seasons of Vanderpump Rules, while simultaneously handling major corporate acquisitions. She even sort of likes the fact that she’s been conned into binge watching some of it right along with her. It’s their secret that Alex refuses to tell anyone, even though Sam has let it slip on more than one occasion that the only person who rivals her in the trashy TV department is indeed Lena Luthor.

“I feel like such a hypocrite because I won’t let Ruby watch any of these shows,” Sam confesses, looking over at Alex and biting her lip. “I just don’t need her thinking this is anything to aspire to.”

It’s in these little moments that Alex recognizes Sam’s struggle, and her need for reassurance – like she’s desperate to hear she isn’t the worst mother in the world because sometimes she has to work late, or other times she really just wants to relax on the couch and not think about anyone else for awhile. Alex doesn’t know anything about parenting, not really, but she doesn’t think any of this makes Sam any less of an amazing mother.

“I think it’s one thing to enjoy watching the real housewives and another thing entirely to raise one,” Alex smiles and pats Sam’s forearm encouragingly. “You’re doing fine.”

Sam smiles, and whispers a thank you, and soon she’s curled up into Alex’s side, which is a recent development that Alex thinks will probably always render her at least partially incapacitated. In hindsight, it should have been a clue to Sam’s intentions, or at least her feelings, but Alex has herself so convinced that this attraction is one-sided that she defaults to the excuse that Sam is just friendly.

She knows better. She does. But there’s something to be said for strong alcohol and even stronger denial.

So the night it finally happens, they’re sitting on the couch, their legs casually touching, the way they usually do when it’s early on in their evening. They aren’t new friends anymore by this point, but it’s still the terrifying feeling of somethingnew, and it’s so unexpected in the sense that Alex hasn’t been actively searching. But of course, that’s always when these things seem to happen.

She feels Sam inching closer, and she shifts to make herself more available, throwing her arm over the back of the couch and sinking into the corner so Sam can occupy the remaining space. It’s an unspoken shuffle that they always do, but tonight Sam seems…different. Almost fidgety and restless, like she can’t decide where to put her hands, which is a far cry from her usual casual self. But she eventually settles in, and they spend an episode in silence, until Alex feels Sam’s hands begin to tentatively wander. Her head is leaning on Alex’s shoulder, and her arm is around Alex’s waist, and suddenly her hand is making small patterns on Alex’s stomach over her shirt. It’s so subtle at first that Alex thinks she’s making things up, but then she realizes she’s not, and oh, what does this mean?

She knows what it means.

Sam’s long, capable fingers creep under the hem of Alex’s shirt, which is already bunched up a little thanks to the way she’s sitting, and soon, she feels the warmth of Sam’s hand pushed up against her skin, and she’s afraid she might actually combust into a million pieces.

Alex clears her throat, and Sam freezes, curling her fingers slightly but keeping them on Alex’s skin. She doesn’t look at Alex’s face, like she’s afraid she’s about to get rejected, or something worse. Instead, Alex feels the way she keeps her head against her shoulder as she stares into space.

“Do you want me to stop?” she asks, and her voice is husky and low, and Alex’s stomach does a swan dive to the floor.

“No–no you’re good,” Alex manages to whisper, nodding with a nervous smile.

She hears Sam exhale in quiet relief, and her fingers continue tracing patterns along Alex’s stomach, slowly inching higher like she’s testing the boundary and waiting for Alex to say the word to warn her off.

She doesn’t.

Soon, she feels Sam’s warm breath on her neck, which means her lips are inches from her skin, and the sensations sends goosebumps up and down her arms. Alex feels like she’s a firecracker that’s been lit, the scorching flame inching further and further along, consuming everything in its path before it bursts. She doesn’t know how much longer she can hold out. Sam is wrapped around her, and practically begging for permission, and she isn’t sure why she’s trying to resist this, really. It’s just so shocking, because she really never thought she’d get this far, and now she isn’t even the one making a move, but suddenly she’s in a position to have this.

“Alex…” Sam says, and Alex feels her entire body quiver. Never has her name sounded so mystifying and attractive than it does when it tumbles from Sam’s tongue. Sam’s hand moves from Alex’s stomach to her jaw, her strong fingers pressing slightly, turning Alex’s face so that she’s now staring into dark, dilated eyes. Alex licks her lips, her gaze darting from Sam’s eyes to her lips and back, before she relents, inhaling sharply before diving forward to close the gap and press her lips to Sam’s wanting mouth.

Her lips are soft and powerful at the same time, like she’s steel wrapped in lace, and suddenly, Alex needs her. She had been able to put it out of her mind, and pretend to be Sam’s friend, but now that she tastes her on her tongue and feels her unbreakable body in her hands, Alex can’t imagine being without all of this, without all of her. Sam’s fingers grab fistfuls of Alex’s hair as she pulls her down on top of her, and when she moans against Alex’s lips, it’s like she forgets everything before this moment.

Sam chuckles as she leans her head against Alex’s forehead, minutes or hours later, Alex can’t really be sure because everything is still spinning. They both agree to pause, which is only disappointing in the moment, but actually holds more promise for something more than Alex could ever fathom having before this night. Looking back, maybe “wow” does justify it, even if it doesn’t seem like it’s enough. And when Sam admits to wanting it for as long as Alex has, there’s a spark that gets lit between the two of them that hold the promise of many, many more nights in their future.

Later, as Alex runs her finger over the top of her beer bottle, the lazy smile appears over her distracted face as she thinks about Sam leaning against the doorway and pulling her in by her collar for another searing kiss before forcing herself to say good night.