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under me you so quite new

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On this rainy Saturday you wake up at 5:45 a.m. as usual, as every day of the week, Monday through Sunday. But this morning is different; she is in your arms, her hands entwined with yours, your nose in her hair; you’re effectively spooning her. Stella. You take a deep breath, then another, close your eyes, open them again – she’s still there. It’s not a dream. It’s very real. You carefully stretch your back, and then feel her begin to move, see her eyes fluttering, then opening, big and clear and so very blue. “Mmmmh... is it time to get up already?” She is still holding your hand, one finger carefully stroking across yours. “Go back to sleep,” you whisper, “It’s only 5:45 – we only just went to sleep.” You smile. It is very early in the day and you know: This is Stella Gibson and she is sleeping in your bed; not just that, she is sleeping in your arms.

It seems unusual and unexpected to you, to understand that underneath her professional clothes and strict facade, she’s like this. She’s like this despite the hard world she works in everyday, she is still like this after Spector, she is still human. Warm, feeling comfortable and safe for once, judging from her deep breaths, and allowing herself to be held, even pulling you closer, whispering “Come here.” “Stella?” you hear yourself return as you cuddle up to her and gently kiss her cheek. “Mmmmh... Feels so good,” she says quietly. “Go back to sleep, ok?” “Ok... but hold me...” Your heart almost melts at those words. This is Stella Gibson; complex, independent, takes-no-shit, strong-as-hell Stella Gibson asking to be wrapped up in your arms, under your blanket, in your bed, at 5:45 a.m. on a rainy Saturday.

Your try to fall back asleep with Stella breathing quietly beside you, but your thoughts return to the previous night, the night that had brought Stella Gibson to your door, complete with a bottle of wine and a box of pralines – to say goodbye, to say thank you, to apologize for being “so overly straightforward,” as she called it, for that night in the bar, the night she kissed you, and you kissed her back. And then ran. For no real reason, as it seems inevitable now. Now that you’ve kissed her again. And then again. And again.

And now, suddenly, at 5:45 a.m. on a rainy Saturday in Belfast in your unlit bedroom, under your dark red blanket in your bed with Stella wrapped around you, you know for sure you want to keep doing this, continue this off-beat dance with her you had started all those nights ago in that dark bar in Belfast. Or even before that night if you were honest. This slow-tempo dance you that you had continued in your kitchen and up the stairs to your bedroom last night. Last night after Stella’s apology, after a glass of wine, after a piece of chocolate, after some talk about your kids and about Rose, the moment you could not help yourself but pull her close and hold her tight, and kiss her cheek, and look into her eyes, and then kiss her right next to her upper lip. And this was it. Because suddenly you were really kissing her. Again. And again. And then again.

And then suddenly you were not scared anymore. Not scared when Stella looked into your eyes, not scared when she ran her hands under your shirt, not scared when she pushed you up against your kitchen sink. Not scared but turned on. So turned on that your hands found her back, her shoulders, her breasts on their own. So turned on that nothing was awkward, not how you discarded your shirt in your staircase, not how you pushed her against the doorframe and breathed “Oh my God,” into her ear, not how she looked at you hungrily before you pulled her onto your bed and on top of you, not how she kissed you with increasing passion and then proceeded to rid you of your bra, your skirt, your panties and the last bit of restraint.

And so on this rainy Saturday morning at 5:45 a.m., something new begins. A new and different feeling takes hold of you, fills you from your toes to your forehead, from the tips of your fingers to your stomach. And it is not frightening. Not frightening at all. It is warm and comfortable, and suddenly you know you can get used to Stella Gibson curled into your side.