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Just a Crush

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Reade was supposed to go for drinks with her after work but he hadn't bothered to show up let alone text with some lame excuse. It wasn't the first time he'd bailed on their plans but he almost always texted. She'd sat at the bar for nearly an hour before paying her tab and leaving. Now, Tasha found him at his desk. She avoided him, making an extra wide circle on her way to SIOC for the morning briefing. The team was already gathered around the monitors, and she took up a spot next to Jane. 

"Hey, about last night," Reade began as he came up behind her.

"Don't worry about it," Tasha murmured, barely turning to look at him. "I get it. Something came up. Let's not make a big thing out of it."

Reade shook his head slightly. "I should've called or texted you."

Tasha bit her lip and looked at him. "Yeah. You should've."

Patterson was the last to arrive for the briefing. Typically, she was waiting for them but this morning she looked a little harried. She was gesturing wildly towards the lab as she spoke a bit too loudly with two of her techs before shooing them back to work. She took a long swallow from her coffee cup.

"Morning," Patterson said. "Sorry, I'm a little late. There was a thing in the lab with, you know what? It doesn't matter. We're here, and I've solved a new tattoo for you."

Tasha watched as Patterson began her briefing, moving from screen to screen as she described how she'd unlocked the newest tattoo. She brushed her blonde hair over her shoulder as she went, revealing her slender neck, and Tasha found herself just staring at her. Patterson giggled at her own joke, and the frown that had been pasted on Tasha's face softened into a small smile. She felt her pulse quicken when Patterson turned away from the screens to look at them, and she wiped a sweaty palm on the side of her pants.

And then the briefing was over. Tasha had no idea what the briefing was about. What just happened? What tattoo did Patterson solve? Tasha thought. She had no idea how long they'd been standing there but suddenly the briefing was over and she'd missed the whole thing.

***

As soon as Patterson was done giving the morning briefing, she hurried away to the restroom. The team had barely broken down into their individualized tasks but she needed to look in a mirror. For the last 15 minutes, she was certain Zapata was staring at her and not in the "this briefing is so interesting" type of way she should have been looking at her. Now she was paranoid that she'd spilled her coffee down the front of her shirt or she'd accidentally written on her face with pen again.

She stood in front of the mirror and looked carefully at her face. No pen marks. She inspected her shirt for stains. None. All her buttons were closed and buttoned properly. She checked the button and zipper on her pants. Closed.

What the hell was Zapata looking at? she wondered.

"Hey, you okay?" Tasha's voice interrupted Patterson's thoughts and she whirled around to find the brunette watching her. "You booked it out of SIOC like you were on fire."

Patterson smoothed imaginary wrinkles from her shirt.

"Uh, yeah," she said. "I just thought I had pen on my face again."

"Again?" Tasha asked, arching an eyebrow.

"It happens sometimes."

Tasha took a few steps into the room and stood very close to her. She studied her face for a long moment and then shook her head.

"Looks fine to me," she said.

Patterson nodded. "Thanks," she said. "I've got to get back to the lab."

"Sure," Tasha replied and watched as Patterson hurried out of the room.

***

Patterson was supposed to be following up on a lead while she sat at her desk and the team was out in the field, but her mind kept wandering back to Tasha's sudden appearance in the restroom. Tasha had stood so close to her. They had been so close Patterson could still feel Tasha's breath on her lips. She unconsciously licked her own lips and turned her attention back to the computer screen.

She was working on sorting through a seemingly endless mountain of potential suspects from the few details she'd been able to pull since their briefing but was finding it hard to focus. So far, she'd managed to whittle the list of potentials down to just five and was working through social media accounts to try to find connections between them when she stumbled on the Facebook account of one of the suspect's sisters. The Hispanic woman in the profile picture had perfectly shaped eyebrows and her hair was cut vaguely similar to Tasha, and Patterson's mind wandered again.

Tasha really does have perfect eyebrows, Patterson mused and then shook her head to clear her mind. She had to stop thinking about her. It seemed like every time she turned around, the brunette was standing there watching her. It was almost starting to become unnerving. She wondered if Tasha knew something that she didn't.

But there was something else, too. Everything about Tasha's body language changed when she spoke to Patterson. She seemed to lean towards her or stand just a bit closer. She might have her arms crossed when speaking to Reade or Weller but would uncross them as soon as she spoke to her. And then there was the tone of her voice. It always seemed to soften slightly when she spoke to her.

Of course it does, Patterson thought. Tasha is my best friend.

***

Tasha and Reade were the first back from their assignment in the field. They'd been sent to a shopping center on a reconnaissance mission but were called off by Weller shortly after they'd arrived. Patterson had radioed him and changed the target. She'd been able to narrow down the suspect list and the lead that Tasha and Reade were following was likely a dead end. So, they'd returned to the office with Reade grumbling about the wasted time.

"Hey, need help with anything?" Tasha asked as she entered the lab and found Patterson hunched over her computer.

Her voice, Patterson noticed, it's softer.

She glanced up and found Tasha standing just a few feet away, a slight smile on her lips as she watched Patterson work.

"Uh, yeah," Patterson replied and headed towards the counter of flush mount monitors. She pulled up the mugshots of the five suspects she'd been able to narrow her search down to. "These five guys have rap sheets miles long. Petty theft, grand larceny, grand theft auto. It just goes on and on. Their prints were found all over the inside of the van. And we know that this guy," she said as she pulled up several images of a suspect taken from black and white surveillance cameras, "has been doing business with the mob. I've found him passing in front of an ATM camera in the Bronx and again in front of a red-light camera a few blocks away as he entered an alleyway next to a restaurant owned by members of the Luchese family."

"The Italian mafia?"

"The same," Patterson confirmed, glancing back at Tasha. The brunette was leaning against the counter, facing the monitors but her eyes were turned up to Patterson's face. "There are cameras all over the place here because of the Luchese family – the NYPD and the FBI have a joint task force to take them down – and we can see our friend here, Hector Sanchez, enter the alley, cut some kind of deal with an unsub and leave with a large bundle."

"Guns?"

"Maybe but probably not. My guess? Explosives."

"But a Sanchez doing business with Luchese family? The Italian mob doesn't really mix with Mexicans."

"I thought that, too," Patterson said. "But then I found this." She pulled up the Hispanic woman's Facebook profile. "Meet Maria Sanchez, 32, in and out of the system for minor infractions. She finally got out last year and her parole expires next month. She's Hector's sister and guess where she works."

"The restaurant."

"Gold star for Agent Zapata," Patterson replied. "And that's as far as I've gotten. I need to find out the connection between Hector, Maria, and this guy." She pulled up another mugshot. "Ricky Watson. He's the guy Weller and Jane are out looking for right now. We know there's a connection – Hector's prints were found all over the inside of that van that was found this morning and we've got him on camera making some kind of deal with Watson – but we can't find it yet. So, we dig."

Tasha had no idea what van Patterson kept talking about. She assumed she must have mentioned it during that morning's briefing when she'd spent more time staring at Patterson's neck and hair than she had listening. She wished she'd paid closer attention. She turned her attention back to the monitors and studied the data Patterson had laid out in front of her.

Patterson leaned on the counter and rested her chin in her hands as she read through the data. She noticed Tasha standing so close their hips were nearly touching, and she couldn't help but wonder if it was intentional.

Tasha's heart was racing as she stood beside Patterson. She looked down at the monitors and tried to focus on the data. It felt like her heart had taken up a spot in her throat and she swallowed hard and tried to focus on getting her heart rate back to normal. She shifted away slightly and tapped on the screen, enlarging one of the documents. She didn't know why she was feeling like this but she was terrified that Patterson would sense something was off and it would affect their friendship. Tasha took a deep breath in an effort to calm her thundering heart.

What is that scent Patterson is wearing? she wondered. It was light and citrusy and...something else. Tasha couldn't quite put her finger on it. She glanced over at Patterson and saw the scientist twisting her lips in frustration as she tucked a blonde strand behind her ear.

Oh my god, Tasha thought. She's adorable when she does that. How is she so beautiful? She shook her head and silently chastised herself. Stop thinking like that! Patterson is your best friend. What is wrong with you?

"Hey," Patterson said suddenly, tapping on one of the files and making it larger on the monitor. "I think I've just found the connection. Hector's sister went to jail two years ago for shoplifting. Ricky's girlfriend was in the same prison at the same time." She moved a few files around and created a timeline on the screen. She touched Tasha's hand briefly to draw her attention to the reconfigured data. "And if you shift things around a little bit. Boom. There's our connection."

Tasha sucked in a sharp breath at Patterson's touch. The lab felt incredibly warm and a thin layer of sweat broke out on the back of her neck. She looked away from the monitors and dropped her eyes to the spot where Patterson's hand had touched her own before snapping her attention back to the screens.

Patterson noticed the change in Tasha's posture and the loud breath she let out and it clicked together. The way Tasha has been looking at her, the way her voice changes, her body language, the oh so close way she's been standing next to her.

Does Tasha have a crush on me? Patterson wondered. The idea of it was a little exciting but she couldn't help but wonder if it's just a harmless girl crush between friends or if Tasha has actual feelings for her. She didn't even think Tasha knew she was bisexual. The team had seen her with David and Borden but they didn't know about Danielle from college and Amy, her downstairs neighbor from her first year in the city.

"Tasha!" Reade called. He was standing just outside of the lab and waving her over.

Tasha gave Patterson a small apologetic smile and hurried away from the lab to Reade. Patterson thought that she almost looked relieved that Reade had called her away, and she watched her go before looking back at the data in front of her. She couldn't shake the thought that kept running through her mind: Tasha has a crush on me.

And she was okay with that. Tasha was her best friend, and she'd be lying if she hadn't noticed how beautiful she was even if the brunette never really tried to play it up. Patterson had known she was bi since she was 16. She'd dated guys and girls, always skewing a little bit more towards girls, but she wasn't sure about Tasha. Tasha had talked about previous boyfriends. There had been a loan officer and a soccer coach, and Patterson was certain that at some point, Tasha may have been interested in Reade. But despite those two "known" relationships, Patterson had never seen Tasha with anyone. She'd barely heard her talk about anyone. Her friend had been single (or mostly single) for as long as she could remember. The job made relationships hard, Patterson knew this, but just the same, everyone on the team had dated someone over the years. But not Tasha.

If Tasha's crush was innocent, none of it mattered. Girls got crushes on girls they admired or spent a lot of time with all the time. And Patterson and Tasha spent a lot of time together at work and outside of work. But, if Tasha was actually interested in her Patterson wondered if she'd even be interested in possibly dating the brunette.

She's gorgeous, Patterson rationalized. And smart. I like spending time with her. She's my best friend for a reason.

She allowed herself to think about kissing Tasha, caressing her flawless skin, and waking up in bed next to her, and felt butterflies take flight in her stomach. Yeah, she'd be interested in dating her.

***

Tasha dropped onto the bench in front of her locker. She'd spent the last 45 minutes in the training room sparring with Reade while they waited for Weller and Jane to return from the field. She was sweaty and a little embarrassed. While she and Reade sparred, she'd been distracted and he caught her off-guard with a single sweep of his leg and she'd landed on her back. The match had been good – she'd worked off some of the pent-up anxiety about how she'd been behaving around Patterson – but she couldn't stop thinking of how Patterson twisted her lips and then she couldn't stop thinking about her lips and then Reade had her laid out on the mat. He teased her for being off her game and she'd shrugged before they headed off for the showers.

She sighed. She knew what was happening. All the signs were there.

I've got a crush on my best friend, Tasha thought and then panicked. It's not a crush. She's my best friend. That's it. It's absolutely nothing but me having a crush on my best friend. Not a crush! A friend thing. An admiration. It's not a crush. I'm not gay.

Tasha closed her eyes and sighed. She'd never felt like this about anyone before and she tried to rationalize it away that since she and Patterson were such good friends, that was all she was feeling. But now, her mental protest that she wasn't gay almost felt hollow. Was she gay? She hardly ever dated but she did date.

The job makes it hard, she thought, but knew that was a lie. Weller dated, Jane dated, Reade dated, even Patterson dated. She was the only one sitting home alone at night. And when she did date, it was just one or two dates and then she'd pull the plug before it could go anywhere. None of the dates ever felt right, and she never felt anything for any of the men she went out with. Even if they had sex, it was just going through the motions and she'd leave feeling disgusted with herself. But just because she didn't date a lot and was barely interested in the men she did date didn't mean she was a lesbian. Did it?

No, absolutely not. And even if she was, Patterson wasn't. She dated men.

Tasha wondered what it might be like to date a woman and her mind immediately flashed to Patterson. She thought about kissing her and what her lips might feel like, holding her hand, and stroking her beautiful blonde hair. Her heart began racing and the room felt too warm and too small. She leaned her head back against her locker and stared up at the ceiling tiles.

Am I in love with Patterson? she thought. Maybe. Am I a lesbian?

Tasha looked around the empty locker room and tried the phrase on. "I'm a lesbian," she whispered.

It felt right saying it aloud like that. It almost felt like a relief to say it and a smile crept onto her lips. All of a sudden, everything seemed clear. All of the times she'd felt depressed about her relationship status and how hopeless it all felt, the times she worried people might think she was gay because of her lack of boyfriend. Saying it out loud felt like a weight coming off her shoulders. She'd never even considered her sexuality. Growing up, she was taught that boys like girls and girls like boys. There was never anything wrong with girls liking girls but she never thought about it beyond that some people are gay. She just never considered that she might be "some people."

"I'm gay," she whispered.

And in her heart, she knew it was the truth.

***

Patterson was shutting down her computers for the night when she spotted Tasha leaving the interrogation room with Weller. Somehow, they'd manage to piece the whole puzzle together and had successfully managed to find and arrest Hector Sanchez and Ricky Wilson for conspiracy to commit an act of terror. Both suspects were currently being transported for booking and processing. She hurried after Tasha and caught up with her in the locker room. The Latina looked exhausted and Patterson almost reconsidered stopping her.

"Hey," Patterson began as she stepped up to her own locker. "You busy tonight?"

Tasha looked up startled. She hadn't even heard Patterson follow her into the locker room. When she saw her standing next to her, however, her pulse began to quicken again. "Um, no. Just me and takeout on my couch. What's up?"

"Liquid dinner with me? Let's grab drinks."

"Sure," Tasha said. "Wanna invite the team?"

"I'm not really up for a big group thing," Patterson explained as she shut her locker door again, purse in hand. "Just you and me. What do you say?"

Tasha considered for a moment before giving the blonde a single nod.

"Yeah, okay."

Patterson and Tasha made small talk about the day as they left the Federal Building. It was only a few blocks to the bar but Tasha felt inexplicably nervous and the walk seemed to take forever. This wasn't a date. This was two friends hanging out after work. Besides, Patterson certainly didn't share her feelings. When they finally arrived, they ordered drinks at the bar before grabbing a booth near the back.

"I love this place," Patterson said when they were finally sitting with drinks in hand. "When I first started work at the NYO my ex-girlfriend met me here after my first and very long day. She hated everything about the place – the TVs were too loud, the drinks were too strong, the bartender was rude. That's probably why I like it here so much."

She smiled, took a small sip at her beer, and watched Tasha's face for a reaction. Ordinarily she wouldn't have mentioned an ex-girlfriend or even bothered with such an insignificant anecdote but it felt important. If Tasha was really crushing on her like Patterson suspected (hoped?), she wanted her to know that it was okay and she was definitely open to it.

Tasha looked down at her drink and took a long swallow. She didn’t know what to do with Patterson's little story. It sounded like her best friend just came out to her, but that couldn't be right. She'd seen Patterson with David and she'd seen her with Borden. Patterson liked guys. She took another shorter sip.

"Your ex-boyfriend brought you here?" she asked finally, as if she had misheard.

"No, Amy. My ex-girlfriend," Patterson clarified. "We dated for like six months when I first moved here."

Tasha shook her head. "What? I didn't know..." she trailed off. She didn't know what to say, and she suddenly felt very aware of herself and the booth and every single noise in the bar. Patterson could not have just told her that she'd had a girlfriend.

Patterson reached across the table and squeezed Tasha's hand lightly.

"It's okay," she confided. "I'm bisexual. I've been out since I was a teenager. I mean, I don't run around telling people so I guess it's still a surprise but it's not a big deal. I like guys, but I like girls too." She took a thoughtful sip of her beer and continued. "I probably lean more gay than I do straight, actually."

Tasha took another swallow and tried not to choke as she worked to wrap her head around what Patterson was telling her. Her heart was racing and she thought it was about to pound right out of her chest. She had a crush on a woman who might actually be interested.

"Why are you telling me this?" she asked. "I mean, you just said you don't tell people. So, why me?"

Patterson chewed her lip for a minute. Maybe she'd misread all of the signals Tasha had been inadvertently putting out there. Maybe she wasn't interested and Patterson's bar confession was actually just freaking her out.

"Well, I don't tell people because I don't think they need to know," she said slowly as she considered each word. "But I know a beautiful woman that I'm very interested in so I thought she should know. And I think maybe she's interested in me too?"

When Tasha didn't respond Patterson tilted her head to the side and met Tasha's eyes.

"I'm talking about you. Was that not clear?"

Tasha's head jerked up and she stared at Patterson wide-eyed.

"What?" she stammered and furrowed her brow. "Patterson?"

Patterson licked her lips. She may have just stepped in it. She'd try one more time.

"Do you want to go out with me sometime? Like on a date?"

"You want to go on a date with me?" Tasha asked. She didn't think it was possible for her heart to beat any faster but she felt like she could pass out. She took another sip of her beer and forced herself to blow out a slow breath.

Patterson grinned at her. "I would like to go on a date with you," she assured her. "If you want to go on a date with me, that is."

"How did you know I'm... I didn't even know," Tasha said and frowned.

"Am I wrong?"

Tasha shook her head. "I don’t know. I don't think so but I didn't know what was wrong with me," she said quietly. "Every time I'm around you my heart feels like it's about to explode. I'm distracted and I can't focus on anything. I was thinking about it today. I think I might be... a lesbian."

She stared at the table; she couldn't look at Patterson. She'd barely admitted this to herself and now she was sitting with her best friend, who'd just asked her on a date, and telling her she might be gay. Tasha was terrified to say it aloud in front of someone.

"God, I hope so," Patterson replied. "I hate asking out straight girls and getting rejected."

"You're serious?" Tasha asked, draining her beer.

Patterson nodded and gave her another smile.

"Why wouldn't I be? You're my best friend. You're gorgeous, smart, strong, sexy. Of course, I'd want to date you. Who wouldn't?"

Tasha felt herself turn crimson but her heart began to slow down again. Now that she'd said it out loud, it wasn't so scary anymore. And Patterson hadn't run away screaming or laughing; she'd just reaffirmed her interest.

"I was so afraid something was wrong with me" Tasha confessed finally. "I missed the entire briefing this morning because you brushed your hair over your shoulder and I just lost focus—"

"Ha! I knew you were staring at me! I really thought I'd spilled coffee on myself or written on face."

"I'm sorry. I couldn't help it and then all day I just couldn't focus on anything and then I realized that I might have crush but I've never even thought about whether I was gay or straight or whatever. And then when I sat down and tried to stop freaking out I thought...I thought something must be wrong with me because I had a crush on my best friend."

Patterson frowned at Tasha and pushed the remains of her beer aside. She reached across the table and grabbed her hand again.

"Don’t ever think something is wrong with you because of how you feel," she said seriously. "There's absolutely nothing wrong with liking girls or liking boys or being gay or any of it."

"I know, Patterson," Tasha began but Patterson cut her off.

"Look, I know it can be hard to accept being different or feeling like you're wrong or broken but you're not. Trust me. When I was 15 I developed a crush on one of my best friends. I thought I was in love with her and being around her became the hardest thing in the whole world. I couldn't tell anyone how I was feeling or that I might want to kiss her and just the idea that I might not be like the rest of my friends made me anxious. So, I tried to shove all those thoughts and feelings away. And I was miserable. I fought with my parents; I started doing poorly in classes. I just wasn't myself. When I was finally able to accept who I was and I embraced it, I felt whole again. Like I knew who I was. And I've never tried to be anyone else since then."

Tasha nodded and picked up her beer glass. She realized it was empty and set it back down.

"I get it," she said. "Thank you for sharing that. This has been the hardest most terrifying thing I think I've ever dealt with. And I chase criminals for a living. Saying it out loud..."

"I know," Patterson said. She looked around the bar. It was filling up and she was finding herself speaking louder and louder just to be heard. "Do you want to get out of here? My place? We can keep talking it you want but maybe where there isn't a room full of drunken strangers standing over our shoulders?"

"Sure."

***

The cab ride to Patterson's apartment was relatively short but unlike the brief walk to the bar, Tasha was no longer feeling nervous or sick to her stomach. She was, however, still a little shocked. First by Patterson's admission that she was bisexual and second by her revelation that she wanted to date her. Not that Tasha wasn't interested in dating Patterson.

Once they were inside Patterson's apartment, the blonde led the way into the kitchen and poured two glasses of wine. She sat cross legged on the couch and faced Tasha.

"Do you want to talk about it?" she asked after a moment of watching Tasha fidget with her glass. "I know, it can be really hard to wrap your head around. And you know you can talk to me, right?"

Tasha took a swallow from her glass before looking up to find Patterson watching her.

"When I left the lab earlier today, Reade and I went to the training room. Sparring, ya know? Anyway, he took me down with a leg sweep because I was distracted."

"Yeah?" Patterson asked. She couldn't help but smile. "Why were you distracted, Tash?"

"Oh, come on, Patterson," Tasha said and waited for Patterson to reply. When she didn't, she continued. "Afterwards I went to the locker room to clean up and I was feeling stupid for being taken down so easily and I started thinking about why I was distracted."

Patterson arched an eyebrow.

"Your lips, okay?" Tasha said. "I was thinking about how you twist your lips when you're frustrated and that it's adorable and then... Whatever. Don't be an ass about it."

"I'm sorry."

"Anyway... I was sitting there thinking about it —"

"My lips?"

"Shut up, Patterson."

The blonde raised a hand in apology and sipped her wine.

"And I realized that I'm the only one on this team who doesn't date and when I do, I sabotage them. And if I sleep with a guy, I feel awful about it after. And I just couldn't stop thinking about what it might be like to date a woman. It felt... right? If that makes any sense?"

"It makes sense," Patterson replied and sipped at her wine. It made perfect sense; she'd had a similar self-discovery years ago. The first time she thought about kissing a girl, she wasn't turned off by it. Just the opposite, it was exciting.

Now, Patterson thought about kissing Tasha and the butterflies returned to her stomach. It had been a weird day for the brunette, though, and she didn't want to take advantage of her vulnerability or push her to do anything she didn't want to do. Patterson set her glass down on the coffee table and turned back to her.

"Would it be okay if I kissed you?"

Tasha bit her lip and set her own glass down. She gave Patterson a small nod and saw Patterson smiling at her.

"Fair warning, I'm going to use my lips," she teased before leaning towards Tasha and kissing her softly and slowly, running her fingers along the exposed skin of Tasha's arms.

After a few moments when Tasha didn't kiss her back, Patterson pulled away. The brunette clearly wasn't into it and she felt a little guilty for making a move at all. Tasha was confused by her own feelings and this wasn't helping.

She started to sit back when Tasha reached for her hands and threaded their fingers together. She glanced at Patterson's lips — the same lips she'd been so distracted by earlier — and leaned towards the blonde and kissed her hard on the lips.

Unlike Patterson's kiss, this one was full of need and desire as Tasha felt all of the anxiety she'd been building all day start to slip away. She kissed Patterson slowly and almost reverently as she explored the other woman's mouth, inching her body closer to the blonde.

Tasha's sudden intense kiss surprised Patterson. She'd thought that maybe she'd made a mistake by trying to kiss her at all, but she heard Tasha give a small moan when Patterson's hands found her waist and the blonde began kissing her more fiercely, shifting out of her cross-legged sitting position and pulling Tasha as close to her as possible. She ran her fingers lightly up and down her sides, brushing the sides of her breasts and eliciting another quiet moan from the brunette.

Patterson broke the kiss after a moment, wiping away the string of saliva that stretched between their lips. She could have continued kissing Tasha like that all night but she was acutely aware of how vulnerable the brunette might be and she desperately didn't want to push her into anything she may not be ready for. She picked her wine glass up again and sipped at it while watching Tasha for any reaction that might give her a hint about what she was thinking. Until today, Patterson had never thought about her friend like this, but once she allowed those thoughts, it was electric and all she wanted to do was kiss her and touch her and hold her.

"What's wrong?" Tasha asked after sipping her own drink. She'd noticed the way Patterson was watching her and she suddenly felt awkward. Had she done something wrong? She always thought she was a good kisser but what if she wasn't? What if it'd been sloppy or dry or bad? "Was it bad?"

Patterson finished her wine and set the empty glass back down. She shook her head.

"No, opposite opposite," she said. "It was nice. It was really nice. I just... I mean, today's been confusing for you. I don't want to pressure you into anything. And I don't want to do anything that you're not ready for. You're my best friend."

Patterson had barely finished her sentence and Tasha was kissing her again, fisting her hands into the blonde hair she'd spent the entire morning briefing staring at. Tasha broke the kiss just as quickly as she initiated it and leaned her forehead against Patterson's.

"I want this," she assured her. "Please don't treat me with kid gloves. I want this."

The blonde searched Tasha's eyes for any sign that this might not be true and all she found was the brunette's heated gaze burning into her own eyes. She kissed her lightly and felt Tasha's immediate response as she tried to deepen the kiss. Patterson kissed her way along Tasha's jaw and neck, stopping at the V of her shirt before returning to her mouth to nip at her lower lip. Her hands wandered beneath the thin material of the dark blue blouse Tasha wore, and Patterson allowed her fingers to trace the tight abdominal muscles hidden beneath. She explored the other woman's torso as they continued kissing, running her fingertips along the undersides of her breasts and trailing around to her back. She made quick work of unhooking Tasha's bra before returning to her breasts and working the buttons of her blouse, sliding her hands inside and caressing the warm, soft flesh.  

Tasha shrugged out of her blouse, letting her bra fall away at the same time, and Patterson tossed both garments on the floor. She let out a small moan as the blonde squeezed and massaged her now fully exposed breasts, but her moans were silenced by another kiss while Patterson's dexterous fingers played over her nipples, rolling the hard peaks between her thumbs and forefingers. She felt herself being guided backwards on the couch as Patterson continued kissing and nipping at her lips.

Patterson broke away from Tasha's lips, kissing her jaw and neck as she worked her way down her body. She darted her tongue out and ran it around a hardening nipple as Tasha arched her back off the couch at the unexpected sensation. Patterson sucked and kissed the hard peak while massaging the other breast before turning her oral attention to the other breast and doing the same. Tasha's moan spurred her on and Patterson's right hand began to wander, trailing down the brunette's toned stomach and circling her bellybutton before coming to a stop between her legs.  

Tasha's back arched as Patterson continued to suck and kiss at her breasts and she bucked her hips against the hand rubbing her through her pants. Her head fell back on the couch and she couldn't fight the moans that escaped until Patterson silenced her with a bruising kiss.

Patterson pulled away from her suddenly and Tasha opened her eyes to watch as the blonde removed her own shirt and bra. She noticed how heavily Patterson was breathing and her normally shimmering blue eyes had darkened to deep dark pools. Tasha grabbed for the blonde's waist and pulled her back to her, kissing her and bringing her own hands to Patterson's chest, massaging her breasts and tweaking the already hard nipples. Even though Tasha had been the recipient of all the attention, Patterson was completely turned on, and she groaned when Tasha tugged lightly on one of her erect nipples. After a moment, Patterson collected her thoughts again and pushed Tasha's hands away. She kissed her lips, her neck, her collarbone and left small kisses down her chest and stomach.

When she reached the waist of her pants, Patterson took a long appreciative and hungry look back up Tasha's body and found the brunette watching her. She held her gaze and unbuttoned the pants and worked the zipper before sliding them down Tasha's hips. She lightly tapped the other woman's thighs and the brunette lifted up to allow her to fully remove them. Patterson pressed a kiss to the top of Tasha's right thigh before straddling her and grasping both her hands, holding them up near Tasha's head and kissing her hard. She rocked her pelvis against Tasha's and was rewarded with another moan as Tasha tilted up in search of more friction.  

Patterson released her hands, kissing her again and trailing a hand down the brunette's body. She caressed Tasha's thigh for a brief moment before cupping her sex through her soaked panties. She began rubbing her roughly and kissed her aggressively.

"You're so wet," she murmured against Tasha's lips before sucking a nipple into her mouth and hearing Tasha moan and buck against her hand. Patterson released Tasha's nipple with a pop and kissed her way down Tasha's writhing body. She licked the inside of each thigh and Tasha bucked her hips again before Patterson pressed a kiss to her panty-clad mound. Another moan escaped Tasha's lips and she pushed her hips up towards Patterson again.

The scientist hooked her thumbs into the waistband of Tasha's ruined panties and slid them down her legs and tossed them into the pile of clothes on the floor. She saw the brunette watching her through half-lidded eyes and Patterson kissed her quickly before shucking her own pants and underwear, leaving them both naked and breathing heavily on the couch.

Tasha reached up and grabbed Patterson around the waist, pulling her back down to her and kissed her hard. Patterson slipped out of her grip and ran her tongue down Tasha's body until she reached her center. She pushed Tasha's legs wide, draping one over her shoulder as she licked delicately around her clit, kissing her mound and running her tongue between her lips as she collected Tasha's moisture.

"Patterson," Tasha gasped as she threaded a hand into the other woman's blonde hair. "Please."

Patterson nibbled and sucked lightly, fluttering her tongue over Tasha's dripping center. The sound of Tasha gasping her name made her redouble her efforts and the brunette moaned loudly as she flickered her tongue over her overly sensitive clit.

"Please, Patterson," Tasha panted, and the blonde heard the desperation in her voice and slipped a single finger inside of her slick core.

She captured Tasha's mouth in another kiss as she worked the digit in and out, and the brunette could taste herself on Patterson's tongue. She didn't think it possible but she felt another gush of moisture flood through her as Patterson slipped in a second finger and began circling her clit with her thumb.

Tasha began to buck wildly against Patterson's hand and the blonde knew she was heading for her release. She kissed her again before returning to her clit and lapping hungrily at it. Tasha's walls began to spasm around her fingers and she fucked her faster, sucking her clit into her mouth as she felt Tasha tighten around her. The brunette came with Patterson's first name on her lips. When she finally stilled, Patterson withdrew her fingers, licked them clean, and kissed Tasha's mound before kissing her mouth again. She rested her head on Tasha's chest and the brunette came down from her climax.

"Oh my god," Tasha breathed as she struggled to catch her breath. Patterson glanced up at her and smiled at the dopey grin plastered on her friend's face. She tipped her head up towards Tasha and kissed her, a much less urgent but sweeter kiss than their early kisses.

Tasha had an overwhelming desire to make Patterson feel as good as she made her feel but was struck by a moment of panic. This was not like sex with a guy — no guy would have gone down on her for so long — and she had no idea where to begin. Patterson must have sensed this because she cupped Tasha's face and kissed her.

"You don't have to," she said quietly.

"No, I want to," Tasha insisted.

Patterson studied her face and kissed her again. "Okay. Just do whatever feels natural. Whatever you'd want done to you," she said. "I'll tell you if I don't like something."

Tasha flicked her eyes over Patterson's face for a moment as if searching for something before flipping their positions on the couch. Patterson's head hit the arm rest as the brunette straddled her and leaned down to kiss her. Kissing felt safe. Tasha knew how to do that and she placed small kisses on her jaw, neck, and collarbone, before returning to her mouth and kissing her slowly. She brought a hand to Patterson's breasts and gave a light squeeze before bringing her mouth down and sucking a nipple into her mouth. Tasha massaged Patterson's other breast while she continued to suck and kiss the other.  

Patterson arched her back slightly and gave a quiet moan and Tasha felt her confidence grow. She let a hand trail down the blonde's belly, stopping at the tops of thighs and lightly caressing the skin there as she continued sucking at her breasts. She tentatively placed a hand over Patterson's mound and felt the blonde respond by rocking her hips towards her. Tasha began rubbing her lightly and Patterson leaned forward to put a hand on Tasha's face, stopping the brunette's oral attention of her breasts.

"It's okay, Tash," she said. "You won't hurt me." She laid her free hand on top of the hand between her legs and moved both of their hands roughly along her center. "Like that. It's okay to be a little rough." She winked at her and pulled her hand away to let Tasha work. "I like that."

Tasha continued rubbing her the way Patterson showed her and the blonde groaned something that Tasha couldn't understand but judging by how wet she was, Tasha figured she was doing something right. She let her fingers run through Patterson's folds, bumping against her clit and getting a low moan as the blonde bucked against her. She pressed a kiss on Patterson's flat belly and ran her tongue down to the apex of her thighs and hesitated. Patterson had expertly gotten her off with her mouth and fingers, and Tasha wanted to return the favor but she'd never been this close to another woman before and was uncertain about how to proceed.  

"You don’t have to," Patterson repeated. "It's totally okay. I can get myself off."

Tasha arched an eyebrow at Patterson's words and took them as a challenge. She dropped between the blonde woman's legs and took a long swipe along Patterson's core with her tongue, sucking her clit hard into her mouth and causing the blonde to let out a yelp.

"Fuck, Zapata," Patterson swore. "I didn't mean for you to take it as a dare."

Patterson's yelp may have been the sexiest thing Tasha had ever heard and she was hit by a wave of desire as she let her tongue explore every inch of Patterson's center. She slowly inserted a single finger just as Patterson had done and began to fuck her slowly all the while continuing to tease her clit with her tongue.

"More," Patterson instructed and Tasha added a second finger, continuing to fuck her slowly. "Shit, Tash. Harder." She lifted her hips and a whine left her lips as Tasha slammed the two fingers back inside, picking up the pace slightly. Patterson met each of Tasha's thrusts with a thrust of her own and began to pick up the pace, encouraging Tasha to do the same.

"Tash," Patterson moaned, her words punctuated by sharp gasps. "More. Please. I need more."

A third finger joined Tasha's already pistoning fingers and Patterson squirmed beneath the brunettes' touch, urging Tasha to finger her faster. Tasha snaked out her tongue and ran it up and down Patterson's slit until Patterson grabbed her head and dragged her back up her body. Tasha continued working her fingers inside of Patterson as the blonde captured her mouth in a frantic kiss as she came apart, her body shaking.

They lay together on the couch for a moment, catching their breath and sharing small kisses. Patterson was watching Tasha's face for any signs of regret and saw nothing but a small contented smile. She kissed her deeply and ran a finger along her jaw.

"Still think you just might be lesbian?"