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Unteach Shame

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Un-teach Shame

Summary: Poor Alicia has cramps, but it’s her weekend with Kalinda. They’d only been together six weeks. The first cycle had gone unnoticed because they weren’t having sex. How will Kalinda react when Alicia tells her why she has been shy and distant throughout the week? Can she make the brilliant attorney unlearn something that was taught to her at a young age? And how can she make Alicia relax enough to stop caring. (Completely imagined universe; doesn’t relate to the series)

 

Alicia groaned as she inserted the tampon, throwing the plastic applicator in the trash can with disgust. She grabbed her overnight toiletry kit and stormed back to her bedroom. ‘Fucking three days early,” she grumbled to herself. She had counted on those three days. Peter had the kids until Monday night, she didn’t have a trial to prepare for until the following week, and for once, Kalinda invited her to stay the entire weekend. Usually, they stayed in her apartment, only leaving if the investigator needed to retrieve something from her own home. They didn’t go to dinner or to the movies on their shared weekends, those were things they’d do with the kids. They stayed in, and for the most part, they both liked it that way.

Alicia sat on the side of the bed, tears threatening to fall as she ran her thumb over the ‘send’ button on her phone. Her bag was read, her alarm had been set and a cab was three blocks away. She’d gotten the sweet texts throughout the day that made her blush. Kalinda had been more flirty during their secluded ‘break’ between hearings. The woman had made comments towards the end of the day that made her blush. And the kiss they’d shared in the parking lot made it perfectly clear what they both wanted tonight.

Alicia had been looking forward to the weekend since Peter canceled on the kids the weekend before. He’d made some excuse about back to back meetings, but Alicia could hear a woman giggling in the background. Unlike her ex-husband, Kalinda came through when Alicia called to cancel. The woman showed up an hour later with pizza and a few movies from Eli’s kid stash. They played a few board games, introduced Grace to Clueless, and went to bed. But when the kids were home and Kalinda stayed, they were never intimate. It was a rule they agreed on the first time she stayed and it was a boundary Alicia wasn’t yet ready to break. That didn’t mean it hadn’t been difficult, Alicia had been thinking about the woman all week. Craving to be held.

Alicia swallowed hard and finally hit the send button, letting Kalinda know she was on her way. She shouldn’t be nervous. She shouldn’t want to hide away, but she did. In the back of her mind, she knew her new lover wasn’t like everyone. She wasn’t like Peter or Will. She wasn’t like her college boyfriend or her mother. Kalinda wouldn’t be disgusted or suddenly change her mind. That’s what she thought as she picked up her bag and headed to the door. But it had only been six weeks and she was disgusted with herself. How was she supposed to expect Kalinda to want her? Her mother had beat it in her head when she’d first started. No one needed to know she was bleeding. No man would want to touch her. Instructing her to cover her sanitary product in the trash as to not upset her father. The first time she bled on her sheets, her mother smacked her and made her clean them by hand. The only time she’d bled through her skirt at school, her mother grabbed her so hard she had bruises on both her arms. Her first boyfriend in college, she was more careful and on the pill, treated her as if she had the plague when he looked down after they’d finished and saw blood. Peter hadn’t and never had been dismissive or made hateful comments. He would simply pull away from her once the words left her lips. If he already knew, he wouldn’t try at all. And Will, who she really thought wouldn’t care, ignored her during her week of hell. Refusing to look at her as if bleeding made her flawed and disappointing. Her first cycle with Kalinda had gone semi-unnoticed. The woman knew because Alicia had slept with a heating pad. But they hadn’t started having sex, there weren’t any expectations then.

*

Kalinda had been pacing her living room like a caged tiger. She had been looking forward to Alicia spending three nights alone with her all week. Every morning that week, waking up to a cold bed made the days pass slower. Every night, working alone with her new lover, made the hours slow and the minutes tick by; mocking her. If it hadn’t been for her rule, they would have had sex in her office days ago. She craved to hold the woman, touch her, breath her in. Now that she finally could, Kalinda never wanted to stop touching her.

When Alicia had finally stepped through the door, all the edginess and jitters faded away. She hung her coat and purse in the hall closet. Held Alicia’s hand as she slipped off her heels before pulling her into an embrace. It was longer than it needed to be, But Kalinda couldn’t stop herself from burying her nose in her partners neck, warming the cold skin with her hot breath. She could feel Alicia moving her fingers along the hem of her tank before a hiss released from her lips as her cold fingers touched her bare spine.

Alicia couldn’t stop her hands from sneaking under Kalinda’s shirt, not only because it had started snowing already and she’d held the door for an elderly couple that recognized her and wanted to chat, but she had been craving her touch for days, and wasn’t about the deny herself. She kissed Kalinda’s neck as she gasped when her fingers moved higher. It had been too many long nights without feeling her warmth, it took her a few moments to pull away enough to smirk and kiss her gently. “Hi,” she whispered, nuzzling the woman’s nose.

Kalinda couldn’t stop the smile from spreading from her lips to her eyes. It was the first word Alicia had said to her since coming into the apartment. Anyone else, she would have rolled her eyes and pulled away. It was the way the woman’s voice seemed to drop and octave when she said it. Or the way she glanced from her eyes to her lips. She could see Alicia’s pulse pounding in her neck. “That all you have to say after a week apart?” she asked, teasingly as the woman removed her hands from her bare back, settling her fingers in the hem of her jeans.

Alicia had fretted and debated about not coming at all. She had wanted to tell the cab driver to take her back home. She’d had to talk herself into coming in the building. Even on the elevator she’d almost text Kalinda she something came up. The cramps had become almost unbearable in the car, her back burning like it never had before. She could even swear she smelled iron while waiting for Kalinda to answer the door. But the moment the door opened, some of those thoughts floated away and her insecurities quieted. It was true she’d just seen the investigator a few hours before, but it was very different; she’d learned that quickly in the beginning. Kalinda was softer at home. Gentler and quieter when they were alone. It was the something she hadn’t realized she needed. “I could tell you everything I missed about you, but I don’t want whatever you’re cooking to burn,” she said, kissing the woman’s nose and laughing as she made a face.

Kalinda had missed Alicia’s laugh throughout the week. Defending Colin Sweeney didn’t leave a lot of room for humor. “It’s already done and on the table.”

It wasn’t anything new for Kalinda to cook for them, she did it almost every week end they were in her apartment. And it smelled delicious throughout the entry way, as it always did on Friday’s. But Alicia couldn’t imagine eating anything. Her stomach cramped hard, reminding her of the tears to come. She fought to keep her face straight until the hot, stabbing pain began to drift away again. But she could see the slight change in Kalinda’s face as she glanced back down. Alicia kissed her again quickly before pulling away, gesturing to the kitchen. “Come on,” she whispered, nudging Kalinda’s arm gently. “I know you haven’t eaten all day.”

Kalinda knew Alicia also hadn’t eaten all day. They skipped lunch because Will wanted opening statements ready for Monday morning. When everyone else had finally gone, Alicia was in a meeting with Diane and she couldn’t make herself go alone. By the time they left, it was past time for the older woman to take the kids to Peter’s. It was a non-stop day for her new partner and she’d wanted to do something special. Make things easier for her a least for the next few days. But there was something about the way she glanced away, the way her body tensed for a moment before relaxing again. She could see Alicia clenching and unclenching her jaw, grinding her back teeth; then relaxing again. “Is something wrong?”

Alicia wanted to rip the band aid off. She wanted to say the words and assure her lover she body’s reaction and tension had nothing to do with her. She could see it on Kalinda’s face as her lips parted and she started to speak. But just as the words were about the spill out, Alicia quickly pulled them back. “Of course not,” she lied, but she thought the gentle smile and fingers interlacing as she gave a playful tug would be enough to cover it up.

*

Dinner was consumed with the normal amount of chatter. They’d gone from talking about the up coming trial, to Grace’s soccer games, and Zach’s upcoming book report. The cat hadn’t tried to jump on the table, which Kalinda was secretly grateful for. Everything seemed perfectly normal if the investigator ignored the fact that Alicia was barely eating, every five or ten minutes she would shift in her chair, and moved her foot away when Kalinda tried running her bare foot up the woman’s pant leg. She watched the guilt pass over the woman’s face for a moment as she pulled away, but it quickly disappeared. “You sure everything’s all right?” she asked, the light tone remaining in her voice. If there as something wrong, startling or yelling at her wouldn’t do any good.

For the first hour, Alicia had forgotten why she’d been so anxious. She forgot about all the worry and tension that would soon come. She held the woman’s hand across the table, once or twice bringing it to her lips and kissing the woman’s knuckles. She played with loose strands of Kalinds’s hair as they were eating dessert. Laughing when Kalinda blushed as Alicia put frosting on her nose. Then a lightning bolt of pain struck her lower back. She tried shifting and stretching but the pain intensified with every movement. She knew the investigator could see the discomfort on her face as she bit her lip and glanced down at the cat. She hadn’t meant to move away when she felt Kalinda’s foot on her calf, but the more the woman touched her at the moment, the more aroused she became. She could feel it between her legs. What made her jerk away was being terrified and nervous that the uncomfortable wetness she was feeling wasn’t arousal. Alicia saw, behind the soft smile was fear, as she focused on Kalinda’s brown eyes, running her fingers along the woman’s wrist. “I’ve just really missed you this week,” she whispered against the woman’s knuckles.

Kalinda smiled, holding her tongue, noticing how uncomfortable her partner seemed to be at the moment. She decided to wait it out a little longer, mentally willing Alicia to talk to her. She got up from the table, scrapping plates and putting them in the sink. Feeding the cat her last meal of the night. Kalinda leaned against the fridge as she dried her hands, watching Alicia zone out into whatever would had sucked her in. “You know I love you, right?”

Alicia had been having a conversation with herself, inside her head. Arguing with herself on whether to just say the words or make up an excuse when Kalinda had cleared the table and already loaded the dishwasher without her. She didn’t notice the glass of wine that had been sitting in front of her for ten minutes. But the moment the words left Kalinda’s lips, Alicia’s eyes connected with hers. The fog faded, and all she could see was her beautiful lover, leaned against the fridge, sipping a glass of wine. It wasn’t the words the woman said. Kalinda had told her she loved her before. She said to her almost every day. But it was the first time Kalinda said it first. And it was the first and only times it had ever been a question. “Of course I do,” Alicia said with so much emotion in her voice she thought she’d cry, as she pushed herself from the chair. “My sweet girl,” she muttered, as she tilted the woman’s chin and captured her lips in a far more passionate kiss than in the hall. “I love you, too. I love you so much it hurts when we’re apart.”

Kalinda blushed at the affectionate attention. She’d never just allowed someone to touch her just because they wanted to. She always took control. But she’d never been invested enough and involved long enough to give away that much trust. She’d never tried the slow burning, get to know you dating. She already knew everything about Alicia. She’d given her trust away long before they became intimate and saw no reason to take it back now. And when the sweet, bedroom pet names left the woman’s lips, she felt her cheeks turn hot; a slight shiver running down her spine. Pet names were also something Kalinda would usually never allow. “I like when you call me that.” She almost purred, looking up at Alicia through her lashes.

Alicia was well aware how lucky she was. She had seen how Kalinda had treated Cary, Donna, and even Lana. The woman would get close, but never let you all the way in. She ignored calls and slept around with very little remorse. The young woman had never made her feel like she was one of many. She didn’t flirt or disappear for days at a time. And when she called, Kalinda answered, no matter the time. Alicia brushed the curls behind her ear, grazing her warm rosy cheek with her thumb. “Good, because I’m never gonna get tired of saying it.” She kissed her lips one more time before carefully wiping the lipstick from Kalinda’s mouth. “Come on, I brought that movie you wanted to watch.” She started to step away, but Kalinda pouted for a moment when her hand left her skin. “I’ll hold you while we watch.”

*

True to her word, Alicia held her all through the first movie and well into the next. Twenty minutes into the first movie, Kalinda was suddenly happy she’d taken the woman’s advice and bought a new couch. There would have been no way for them to cuddle on the futon that once sat in its place, for almost three hours. She was so comfortable with her back against Alicia’s chest, the woman’s strong arm wrapped around her waist. Sliding her hand under her blouse half way through the first movie, nails gliding around her navel and across her ribs. Alicia’s bare foot trailed up and down her calf. Her lips kissed that special place behind her ear that made her shiver both times she started dozing off. But every time she tried turning over and reaching for the older woman’s hip, Alicia would tense, or move in a way that made her hand fall back into place. When Alicia’s fingers moved down to her panty line, nails scratching and slipping under the hem of her jeans for a moment before pulling them away. She felt Alicia’s lips near her ear, panting, and her fingers digging into her hip as she tried to push against Alicia’s pelvis. The woman had been turning her on all week. And having not had sex in two weeks, she wanted her partner more than ever. But the more she subtly tried to get Alicia as turned on as she was, the tenser she became.

Alicia hadn’t been paying attention to the television since Kalinda asked her to cuddle up to her back. It was the first time in four hours her cramps weren’t ravaging her pelvis and back. It was the first time in seven days and eight hours, yes she counted, that she was able to wrap her arms around her lover, relax and breath her in. She couldn’t stop herself from running her fingers under the woman’s blouse, feeling her warm skin and playing with the metal belly ring until she heard a light whimper. She couldn’t stop herself from kissing Kalinda’s neck. Alicia felt guilt. She knew she was turning the investigator on even more than she had been during dinner. But Alicia couldn’t not touch the woman she loved. Even when Kalinda started pushing back against her pelvis, and she tensed, she couldn't stop her thighs from becoming soaked. She felt an almost uncontrollable, intense need to feel her partner inside her. But as the words bubbled in her chest, as the truths of what was bothering her was starting to come out; she felt Kalinda tense.

Kalinda had tried being patient, tried being understanding. It had been a long week at the office and an even longer two weeks without being able to touch Alicia any time she wanted. She accepted her partner not responding to her teasing at the table, they had been having an intense conversation about the trial Wednesday. But she had been laying in Alicia’s arms for hours. The woman had been touching, kissing and teasing her the entire time. The moment she tried touching her or grinding back against her, the woman tensed.

Kalinda slowly and gently removed Alicia’s hand from under her blouse. Sitting on the edge of the couch, her back to the older woman. She exhaled slowly, trying to calm her racing heart and pounding arousal between her legs. She rubbed a hand down her face and through her hair. As she felt Alicia’s hand touch her back, she looked over her shoulder and gave a soft smile. “Sit with me,” she whispered, watching fear flash in the woman’s eyes for a moment. She watched Alicia as she adjusted herself to sit net to her. She moved slow, wincing when she had to twist and bend her back to move around her. “Tell me what’s wrong?”

Alicia tried not to wince as the words entered her brain. She was being unreasonable for a grown woman with two children. She was being unfair to Kalinda. But the nagging reminder that no other lover had been understanding about her monthly issues caused her to pause.

Kalinda sighed as she watched Alicia fiddle with her bracelet and bite her lower lip hard enough to nearly cause it to split. She could see the tears starting as she tried to avoid eye contact. “I’m trying not to take this personally, but you’re making it really difficult not to.” She turned her hand over and waited to see if Alicia would take it.

Alicia swallowed the lump in her chest and interlaced her fingers with her partners. She could feel Kalinda’s tighten and squeeze as if it were gonna be her last time. She blinked the tears away before they had a chance to fall and finally turned her eyes to Kalinda’s She could see exactly what she was thinking and for a moment, her natural issue didn’t matter so much. She brought Kalinda’s knuckles to her lips and kissed them, her eyes never left the woman’s brown ones. “My period came three days early,” she said with a slight flinch.

Kalinda jerked the hand Alicia had been holding away. She was both confused and relieved, but it came out more aggressive that she’d intended. “You scared the shit out of me. Why does that matter?”

Alicia tensed and pulled her hand that had been holding Kalinda’s to her lips. Chewing on the skin of her thumb as she felt her eyes and throat start to burn. She knew most of her emotional reactions were her hormones, but some was fear. She could feel the frustration radiating off her young lover like a violent wave. But instead of acknowledging it and being the forty plus year old woman she had grown in to, she ignored it. “It really doesn’t matter,” she muttered, clearing her throat. But as she glanced at Kalinda, a few tears managed to fall. “I’m just being weird today.”

Kalinda hadn't understood the issue a few moments before. She had been with women on and off throughout the years since she was sixteen. She was accustom to their monthly cycles and it had never bothered her. She never gave it any thought with any partner she had. Lana told her a few days before she started, not like it mattered, and Donna had such terrible cramps it was difficult not to notice. Kalinda hadn’t experienced Alicia’s week of pain as her lover, but she had as her friend and the more she thought about the last few days, mostly Alicia’s emotional outbursts, was the biggest clue. The heating pad in her office chair that she hadn’t bothered noticing, should have screamed the problem in her ear. “Alicia, this doesn’t matter,” she whispered, as she saw the frustration and guilt on her face. She could see the woman’s fingers trembling as her leg started to bounce. “Peter was more awful to you than anyone thought possible, wasn’t he?” Kalinda knew what was happening in Alicia’s head. She could finally see exactly what was bothering her and had been bothering the woman her entire life.

Alicia tried blinking the tears away. She tried not thinking about all the nasty looks and snide comments. And as she started to shut down further, Kalinda squeezed her hand, kissing her knuckles and slightly smiled against her skin. “It wasn’t just Peter,” she muttered, squeezing her eyes closed as Will’s disgusted face appeared in her mind, his annoyed and dismissive comments filled her ears.

Kalinda didn’t let go of her hand as she silently slid to the floor. Her knees hitting the carpet, moving slowly between Alicia’s spread knees. As the hand, not squeezing Alicia’s, rested on her thigh, the woman flinched. Kalinda tried not to take it to heart as she inched closer. She watched the older woman’s face flush, her chest turning bright red. Her nose pink from fighting off tears and unreasonable fear. “I’m not gonna do anything,” she whispered, reaching up slowly, and lightly wiping Alicia’s tears away. “I just want to talk to you.”

Alicia wasn’t used to the attention. Kalinda was now looking at her with compassion and understanding, touching her gently’ something she wasn’t accustom to having once her monthly cycle information was revealed. Kalinda was so close, Alicia couldn’t stop leaning in and capturing her lips in a soft kiss. “You have to think I’m ridiculous,” she sniffed.

Kalinda smiled, kissing the woman’s lips with a little more passion. Her hand left Alicia’s thigh and wandered to her heated cheek. Nuzzling her nose against Alicia’s warm one, something she’d never done with anyone before. She moved the woman’s hair behind her ear, giving her nothing to hide behind. “I’m wandering who put those awful thoughts in your beautiful head.”

Alicia’s eyes closed for a moment, trying to calm her pounding heart, but with every inhale all she could smell was Kalinda. And unlike Peter and Will and a few others, Kalinda was her best friend. That’s what made their relationship so much more stable, so much more naturally comfortable. They had built a foundation, had it crumble a few times, but the mistakes only made them stronger; more determined to succeed. But it had only been six weeks into their romantic relationship. Alicia hadn’t told all her secrets or quirks. She hadn’t explained the reasons why she felt so disgusting and dirty during her cycle. She hadn’t seen a reason or found an opportunity to talk openly about what she was feeling. A lot of what was holding her back was unnatural fear. Terror that had been instilled in her since her first period. Reinforced by Peter early in their marriage and nearly soul crushing by Will only five years before. And then she looked at Kalinda smiling softly at her feet. Her heart begging her to just let everything spill out. Her head called her an idiot. “I don’t know if I can talk about this,” she whispered without more remorse in her voice than when she’d broken it off with Will. It was physically painful not sharing something with someone she loved so much. She leaned away from Kalinda, only slightly, to run a hand through her hair and groan in frustration. “God! I’m forty-three years old. How psychologically fucked up can I be that I can’t talk about something as basic as this.” She wasn’t yelling at Kalinda. She wasn’t even addressing Kalinda; she was questioning herself. But as always, when Alicia glanced down, feeling a gentle nudge on her thigh, Kalinda was smiling; for once Alicia felt like someone had heard her. And someone was listening. “I’m...” She bit her lip as she felt herself release a sigh that had been building in her chest all night. She closed her eyes as the investigator’s fingers trailed along her cheekbone and down her chin.

Kalinda could see where the trauma had begun. She didn’t have to hear how Veronica and her family made poor innocent Alicia feel disgusting and dirty. It was clear on her partner’s face how she felt. And she didn’t need to hear what kind of pigs Peter and Will had been to her over the years. But she wanted to hear it. She wanted to share the emotional pain her lover was in and start to repair the damage. “We don’t have to talk about anything,” she whispered, watching Alicia nod. “But listen to me,” she said a little louder, tilting the woman’s chin until she could finally see her partner’s watery green eyes. “You are beautiful, Alicia.” She stopped only because the older woman looked away. “Don’t be afraid of me.” Before the sentence was finished, Alicia’s eyes were back on hers, her fingers falling heavy over the hand on her thigh. “There’s nothing psychologically wrong with you. You just had a lot of people you trusted betray you when you were vulnerable. You’ve been alone, emotionally drained for so long that you expect immediate rejection. You’re not even fighting it anymore.” The tears rolled a little faster down Alicia’s face. “You don’t have to worry about me. You’re stuck with me. Your period doesn’t factor into that decision. I love you. I’ve loved you since you walked into that tiny office six years ago and I don’t plan to stop.” She watched the small smile break through Alicia’s silent tears before it disappeared again. “I know you can’t forget whatever your mother told you. I know you can’t forget how Peter or Will treated you in the past. Try not to forget, you’re safe with me. You’ll always be safe with me.”

Alicia swallowed hard. As much as everything in her head screamed at her not to talk, her body started to relax on its own. As Kalinda’s forehead rested against hers, Alicia’s breathing began to slow, her heart stopped pounding in her throat. And feeling her young partner’s nose nuzzle against her own, the thoughts that had been racing finally settled. “Will hurt me more in four months than Peter managed to do our entire marriage,” she finally breathed out. If she only focused on that one thing, Will made her feel a hundred times worse than Peter ever could. Some weeks he couldn’t keep his hands off her, constantly called and text her, sent her inappropriate emails. Then other weeks, he treated her like a heroin addicted prostitute after the deed was done. Refusing to touch her, barely speaking to her in public and never in private. Refused to return her calls when she actually needed him. She was both devastated and relieved when it had finally ended. “He made me feel guilty and disgusting. At least Peter just didn’t try.”

Kalinda just listened. She wasn’t about to interrupt when Alicia was just getting comfortable talking. She had to bite her tongue. Had to fight her brain to focus on listening to her pained lover instead of secretly planning Will’s torment. She had always thought her boss was a womanizer, but she never thought he could be cruel just to see Alicia suffer. She couldn’t imagine what Peter put her through for nearly twenty years. All the things people didn’t see. The things Alicia still refused to admit and talk about. “I’m not them, Alicia,” she said, as she tucked the unruly curls back behind the older woman’s ear. “I’m never gonna not try. I’m always gonna think your sexy. I’m always gonna want to touch and taste you.” She kissed the woman’s almost swollen lips as she saw the blush start to appear on Alicia’s chest. “If we hadn’t made up those rules, we would have had sex last weekend. I would have pushed you up against the my office door and listened to you moan my name. Bleeding or not, it doesn’t bother me. I’m not uncomfortable or disgusted. Nothing about you will ever make me not want you.”

Alicia sucked in a breath, sharing Kalinda’s air, touching her cheek. She was trying to cement her words over the places everyone else had tried to destroy. She tried to replace the hateful words and nasty looks with Kalinda’s sweet kisses and soft caresses. In the moment, some of them were sticking, while others still continued to fall away. But she took those relaxing moments whenever she could get them. It was impossible to fix thirty years of conditioning by her mother, embarrassment by Peter, and emotional trauma Will put her through on a monthly basis with one night of sweet words and comforting touches. It would happen again. “It’s gonna take time getting used to this,” she muttered.

Kalinda smiled, moving unbelievably closer until her fingers touched Alicia’s bare sides. Sneaking under the soft material and feeling her over cool skin freely for the first time tonight. “I have nothing but time. And I’d really like to show you how you should have been treated all along.”

Alicia’s heart was starting to melt. No one had ever wanted to take care of her. Peter committed to and hadn’t by choice. Will promised and chipped away at her confidence until there was nothing left. And yet, the woman she had a deeper history with than she originally believed, someone she had once treated poorly out of spite, wanted to take care of her. “How are you so damn perfect?” she moaned both in slight embarrassment at the attention and at the pain shooting through her pelvis as she leaned back against the couch.

Kalinda would have laughed at the ridiculousness of the statement if she hadn’t noticed the wince Alicia was trying to cover up. “I’m not perfect, I just care about what you need,” she said, laying her cheek against Alicia's jean covered thigh. She could almost see the older woman’s abdominal muscles clench with every passing cramp. She could see the pain rushing through her nerves as she squeezed her eyes shut and bit her bottom lip. Kalinda couldn’t imagine innocent little Alicia crying herself to sleep, clutching a heating pad in pain. Alicia, believing no one wanted to be around her because she was ‘dirty’. She couldn’t imagine having a partner, the father of her children, leaving her to agonize alone. Leaving her to feel unwanted and disgusting. Kalinda’s parent's didn’t teach her that way. Her mother was very gentle explaining her first period within an hour of her handing her bloody underwear to her with trembling fingers. The only thing that changed in the house was her brothers gave her the bottom drawer in the bathroom for her personal things, which they promised not to mess with. Her father bought her tampons on numerous occasions without being asked, he just knew when it was coming; it was probably her mother reminding him, but it was nice all the same. She never had a partner complain, they just avoided oral sex, something Kalinda didn’t want during those days any way. She never experienced feeling unwanted for something so natural. If anything, any lover she had wanted to take care of her in some way, pamper her when they knew she was in pain. Cary was the most attentive, as if he could read her body like an open map. He massaged her back after a long day of shifting uncomfortably and tensely in her desk chair. He made a habit for a few months of sneaking into her apartment before she got home and drew her a bath. Kalinda wanted Alicia to experienced all of it, she deserved to have someone put her first. “Can I touch your stomach?”

Alicia opened her eyes as the cramps faded away. She hadn’t realized how close Kalinda had gotten to her pelvis. She hadn’t noticed her partner tuck in closer and lay her cheek against her thigh while her nails scratched gently up and down her sides. “Can I ask why?” she asked, raising an eyebrow.

Kalinda kissed Alicia’s jean covered thigh before moving away enough to give the woman room to move. “I know a few tricks that might help,” she said, rubbing a heavy hand up Alicia’s thigh, squeezing the muscles. She knew the woman wouldn’t take anything for her pain, but a small part of her understood, most of the over-the-counter stuff never worked. She knew Alicia wouldn’t lay with a heating pad for a few more hours, her skin was already flushed and she could see the sweat on her forehead. “I just want to do whatever I can to make this a little easier for you.” She waited for Alicia to slowly nod before reaching over and adjusting the pillow at the end of the couch. “Lay down for me.”

Alicia groaned as she pulled her legs up on the couch and leaned back against the pillows. For the first few minutes, she covered her face with her hand as the burning electrical pain returned to her lower back. It felt like someone stuck a hot poker to the base of her spine and started twisting. She felt the tears burning in her throat and behind her eyes. “Unless you’re gonna do a hysterectomy, I don’t think anything’s gonna work,” she moaned as her cramps began to peak and settle again.

Kalinda carefully moved Alicia’s hand away from her bare abdomen. Kissing the knuckles. “We’ll keep that in mind for plan B.”

Alicia couldn’t help the half laugh, half sniffle that left her chest. “Don’t make me laugh, it hurts.”

The young woman gently unsnapped Alicia’s jeans causing the attorney to drop her hand and look down at her. Her muscles beginning to tense again. “Relax, my love,” she whispered, before laying her hand flat against her pelvic bone. “The more you tense, the more it’ll hurt,” she said, moving a little closer to the head of the couch. Her other hand brushing strands of hair from her now sweaty forehead. Leaning in closer, kissing away her painful tears. The fingers on her lower abdomen began moving lightly over the tense muscles. Starting at Alicia’s right side, just below her belly button. With every light touch, every gentle massage she’d do, she felt a soft hiss in her ear. Alicia began shifting her hips and trying to arch her back. Whimpering when Kalinda pushed down a little harder. “My precious girl,” she whispered as she wiped the fresh tears from Alicia’s hot face and her fingers began to move over the attorney’s abdomen with a new determination. Her fingers moved in slow circles along the top of her pink lace panties. But it wasn’t until the palm of her hand rested heavy there that finally made Alicia sigh. And as she pushed ever so slightly, her back relaxed against the couch. The fingers that had been gripping the back of her blouse loosened and her eyes opened.

The pain that had suddenly rushed through Alicia’s pelvis and lower back was almost comparable to birthing Zach. She felt like her spine was on fire, every nerve red hot and exposed. As Kalinda’s fingers moved along her pantie line, she thought she’d pass out as the woman hit an overly sensitive spot. She wanted to cry out, curl into a ball and beg Kalinda to leave her to suffer alone. But the moment her hot, heavy hand rested just over her panties, pushing down only slightly, Alicia thanked God she didn’t. The pain began to cease as quickly as it started. The spasms in her uterus didn’t stop, but they were lighter. As she opened her eyes, she immediately focused on Kalinda’s. Her fingers playing with the curls around the woman’s shoulders. She tugged on a few strands, wanting the investigator as close as she could get. When she was close enough, smiling lightly, Alicia captured her lips in a slow, passionate kiss. Her hand wandered to the nape of Kalinda’s neck, massaging the muscles that were starting to knot from her position on the floor. “You’re perfect,” she whispered against Kalinda’s lips, opening her eyes only to see her start to blush. “Whoever told you otherwise, didn’t realize what they had.”

Kalinda kissed the corner of her mouth. Relieved, for the moment, that the pain had passed. But fearing it returning with a vengeance. “Well, I have you now,” she whispered against Alicia’s cheek. “Relax, I’ve got you.”