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Not That Drunk

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The room was spinning. Or tilting. Sliding sideways? Patterson tried to focus on the wall behind Tasha’s head but the wall kept moving. Or maybe she was moving. Or maybe Tasha was moving. She wasn’t sure anymore.

“Tash? Are you moving?” she asked as she set her empty glass down. She misjudged the distance from her hand to the table and the glass hit the tabletop with a loud thud. Her face tingled from alcohol and her lips felt a bit rubbery.

Tasha covered her mouth with her hand and stifled a laugh.

“I think you’re drunk, Patterson,” she said.

Patterson licked her lips and looked around the room. Weller and Jane were talking in the kitchen and Reade was desperately trying to get away from Rich. Patterson thought she saw Reade throw a pleading look at Tasha but the brunette didn’t react to it. She spotted the empty bottle of bourbon set out in front of her and several open bottles of wine strewn about. She vaguely remembered knocking on Weller’s front door, laughing about something, and then pouring a drink from the bottle Jane offered.

“No,” Patterson replied slowly. “You’re drunk. I only had...” She considered her empty glass and squinted at it as if that would make her memory come back into focus. “...a couple glasses.”

Tasha laughed again this time not bothering to hide her amusement. She was only on her third glass but Patterson had arrived first and was halfway through her second drink when Tasha poured her first. Somehow the blonde had outpaced everyone, and if Tasha’s memory was reliable, Patterson had just finished her sixth or seventh bourbon.

“What’s funny?” Patterson demanded, her alcohol tinted face reddening more.

“Nothing,” Tasha said. “I think it was more than a couple though.”

“Hmmm,” Patterson replied. She looked back at her empty glass but couldn’t even start trying to count her drinks. She looked at Reade for help. He’d been there when she arrived. She was almost certain she’d said hello to him when she walked in. “Reade! Do I... did I have... drinks? I had...?”

Reade turned from his conversation and looked at Patterson.

“Was there a question in there somewhere?” he asked, stepping away from Rich and going to where Patterson sat on the floor with her back propped against the couch.

“She thinks she only had a couple glasses of bourbon.” Tasha clarified as she finished her drink and set the wine glass down.

“Oh Pattycake,” Rich interrupted, joining the conversation and crouching down in front of the scientist. “You haven’t seen a couple of glasses in at least four glasses. Maybe five.”

Reade nodded. “Yeah, you finished off most of that bottle yourself.”

Patterson shook her head violently and then stopped when the room started to spin again. She grabbed for the area rug and tried to anchor herself from falling over.

“Did not.”

Reade glanced over to Weller and Jane. “Hey Kurt, Jane” he called. “That bottle of bourbon. You drink any?”

Jane shook her head and held up the bottle of Pennsylvanian beer she’d been drinking. She looked to Weller.

“No,” he replied. “Why?”

“Patterson thinks she had just a couple glasses,” Tasha said. She got up from the chair she’d collapsed into and held up the empty bottle for them to see.

Weller choked on his beer and set the bottle down on the kitchen counter. “That was about half full. You okay, Patterson?”

Patterson realized she was the only one sitting and struggled to get to her feet. She felt herself start to lose balance and reached out for something to steady herself. Her searching hand landed on Tasha’s arm and she gripped her tight as she felt her knees weaken. She took several stumbling steps backwards as she fought against gravity.

“Woah!” Tasha yelled as she wrapped an arm around Patterson’s waist to stop her fall. She struggled to hold her upright. “Okay, I think you’ve probably had enough.”

Weller hurried around from the kitchen counter and grabbed Patterson’s arm to help Tasha walk Patterson to a nearby arm chair. The blonde dropped into the chair and accepted the bottle of water Jane passed her. She tried to twist off the cap but couldn’t get her hands to cooperate.

“I didn’t drink that much,” Patterson protested as Tasha took the water bottle from her and unscrewed the cap. She handed the bottle back and gently lifted Patterson’s arm up to urge her to drink.

“Drink,” Tasha commanded and watched as Patterson took a small sip from the bottle. “More than that, please.”

Patterson gave an indignant sigh and drank down half the bottle.

“Happy?”

“Ecstatic,” Tasha replied. “Happier if you finish it.”

Jane sat on the arm of Patterson’s chair and looked down at her friend with concern on her face.

“Are you okay, Patterson?” she asked. It wasn’t like the scientist to drink so heavily. They’d only been gathered for a few hours and Patterson was more drunk than anyone else in the room. By a mile.

Patterson swallowed a mouthful of water and noticed Tasha watching her closely. Her mouth felt dry and her heart began pounding rapidly in her chest. This was why she’d started drinking so heavily in the first place. She’d had a first social drink with Weller and Jane when she arrived, and then Tasha had arrived and Patterson’s social drinking had turned into nervous I-need-something-to-occupy-my-hands drinking. She took another sip of water before responding.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” she said. “I didn’t drink that much.”

Tasha arched an eyebrow and crouched down in front of her friend. She held up two fingers.

“How many fingers am I holding up?”

Patterson rolled her eyes and started to protest the question. She looked up towards Weller for intervention but Tasha cupped her face with her free hand and redirected her gaze back to her.

“How many?” she asked again.

Patterson didn’t respond. She was acutely aware of Tasha’s hand on her face and she felt her cheeks redden. She looked past Tasha’s fingers and into her face. She was frequently in awe of her friend’s beauty, and Patterson would be a liar if she said she wasn’t crushing on her even just a little. But it was more than just a little. While working side-by-side with Tasha, Patterson would find her mind wandering to darker thoughts about what it might be like to kiss Tasha, and she had to force herself not to stare when they were in the locker room together in various states of dress. Now, the brunette’s dark eyes were full of worry and Patterson didn’t even realize she was staring until Tasha blinked and wiggled her fingers in front of her face again.

“How many?”

“Three,” Patterson said slowly as she trained her focus away from Tasha’s face and onto the fingers only inches away from her face.

Tasha hmmed and rocked back on her heels. She studied her friend’s face. Patterson’s pupils had been wide and then there had been a brief moment before she answered the question that they’d constricted as if she was staring at something very intently. It had been obvious to Tasha, however, that Patterson hadn’t been looking at the fingers she was holding up. It might have been wishful thinking but she was almost certain Patterson was staring at her.

When Tasha didn’t respond, Patterson furrowed her brow.

“It wasn’t three, was it?”

Tasha shook her head. “Two, sweetie.”

“I really didn’t drink that much!” Patterson insisted. She tried to get out of the chair again and stumbled back into a sitting position. “Okay, fine. Maybe I did.”

"Yeah you did,” Reade said as he watched Patterson pull herself up and into a standing position. She wobbled slightly on her feet, and he grabbed for her elbow to steady her again. “Easy there.”

Patterson looked at her friends and then towards the wall clock. She wasn’t sure which hands were pointing to which numbers. It was either 10 minutes until 8 p.m. or 20 minutes until 10. She rubbed a hand over her eyes. This wasn’t good.

“I think I should probably go home,” she admitted. She started towards the door in a zig-zag pattern.

Tasha watched Patterson weave through the living room, stumbling and banging into a table on her way to the door.

“Wait,” she said before Patterson reached the door. “I’ll go with you. You probably shouldn’t be wandering around by yourself.”

Patterson turned around and a wave of vertigo forced her to grab onto the door frame to keep from falling.

“No, it’s okay, Tash. I can get a cab or a Lyft or something.”

Tasha shook her head. She crossed the room quickly, grabbing her jacket off the back of the couch as she went.

“Don’t be stupid,” she said. “I live nearby. You can crash on my couch.”

Jane tossed another bottle of water towards Tasha and the CIA agent caught it deftly.

“For the road,” Jane said.

“Thanks,” Tasha replied. She showed Patterson the bottle. “You’re gonna drink this one too.”

Patterson rolled her eyes again. “Yes, mom.”

***

The walk to Tasha’s apartment seemed to help sober Patterson up. She was still clinging tightly to her friend’s arm but her sentences were slowly becoming more lucid. Patterson wasn’t tripping over her words anymore and, while she was still weaving, Tasha was no longer concerned that her friend was about to inadvertently walk in front of a passing car.

As they approached Tasha’s building, Patterson seemed to hold onto her tighter. Both arms were wrapped tightly around Tasha’s bicep in a way that made Tasha extremely aware of how close their faces were. They might have looked like lovers rather than best friends to anyone looking on, and Tasha tried to push that thought from her mind. No matter her own feelings for the brilliant blonde, she knew Patterson didn’t share them. They were best friends and the overwhelming attraction Tasha felt for Patterson would never be reciprocated. Patterson wasn’t gay and Tasha had long since come to terms with that.

“Can you handle the steps?” Tasha asked as they turned to face the front steps leading into her building. “There’s just four.”

Patterson nodded and released one hand from the death grip she had on Tasha’s arm. She reached for the handrail and carefully climbed the steps, her foot missing the top tread. Tasha grabbed her before she could fall, and Patterson turned and grinned at her.

“I guess three’s my limit,” Patterson said sheepishly. “Thanks.”

Tasha smiled but didn’t respond as she stared into Patterson’s blue eyes. She fought the urge to lean forward and kiss her, instead turning to the front door and sliding the key into the lock. They navigated the stairs and hallway leading to Tasha’s front door. Once inside, Tasha guided Patterson to the couch. She handed her the bottled water Jane had given them before leaving.

“Drink this,” she said. “I’m gonna find something greasy to eat to soak up some of that bourbon.”

Patterson accepted the water and watched as Tasha shrugged out of her jacket and tossed it in the general direction of a chair. The jacket missed its target but Tasha didn’t seem to notice or care; she was already on her way into the kitchen. Patterson stared at the discarded jacket. She loved Tasha but quirks like leaving a jacket on the floor made her crazy. She tried to ignore it but couldn’t. She got up from the couch and scooped the jacket up, hanging it carefully on an unused coat rack next to the door.

“I know this will be a big shock,” Tasha called from the kitchen, “but there is basically nothing in here except beer, ramen noodles, and potato chips. Wanna order a pizza?”

Tasha returned to the living room with her phone and a dog-eared menu in one hand and a bag of potato chips in the other only to find Patterson heading back to the couch. She looked around the room and noticed her jacket was no longer on the floor.

“You’re so drunk you couldn’t climb stairs but you were able to hang up my jacket?”

Patterson blushed and sat back down.

“Sorry,” she said. “It was driving me crazy.”

Tasha rolled her eyes and dropped onto the couch beside Patterson. She spread the menu open on her lap.

“Okay so pizza? What sounds good?”

Patterson leaned over Tasha’s arm and tried to read the menu. The letters were still blurring together but the room had stopped moving. She squinted at the menu and then shook her head.

“I don’t know, Tash. I can barely see to read that,” she admitted. She moved her head closer to the menu and Tasha tensed slightly as Patterson’s head brushed against her breasts. Patterson jabbed a finger at the menu, running it down the page resting on Tasha’s leg and sending a shiver down Tasha’s spine. “Don’t we usually get something from over here somewhere. A margherita pizza or something like that? I feel like it’s in this column.”

Tasha quickly picked the menu up off her lap and folded it closed. She needed Patterson’s hand to be anywhere but on her thigh and her head to be anywhere but rubbing against her chest.

“Yeah, margherita. I’ll call it in,” she said and busied herself with the phone.

Patterson leaned away from Tasha and stood up.

“I’m gonna borrow your bathroom while you order,” she said as she wandered away.

When Patterson returned a moment later, Tasha was still sitting on the couch. The menu was on the table next to an empty bottle of water and another unopened bottle. She looked up as Patterson approached.

“You okay?”

“Yeah, I’m good,” Patterson replied, sitting down next to Tasha. “Don’t force another bottle of water on me, though.”

Tasha laughed and leaned back into the couch cushions. “Deal, but you’re staying here tonight,” she replied. “I can’t have you roaming around the streets barely able to see straight.”

Patterson considered this for a moment and then gave a solemn nod.

“Okay,” she said. “Counter-offer.”

“Counter-offer?” Tasha raised an eyebrow. “We’re negotiating your sobriety?”

“Yup.”

“This sounds like a bad idea already,” Tasha said.

Patterson nodded thoughtfully. “Yeah, maybe. Here it is: I’ll stay here tonight, you won’t force any more water on me, but we play a game.”

“A game?”

“Yes, a game.”

“Why?”

“Because it’ll be fun.”

“Fun?”

“Are you just going to repeat everything I say?”

“What kind of game?” Tasha asked.

Patterson shrugged. If she were home, she’d have immediately gone to her large collection of games and selected something even Tasha could play but she wasn’t home.

“What do you have?” she asked finally.

Tasha sighed and got up. She disappeared from view for a minute and returned a moment later carrying a deck of cards. She held them up to show Patterson.

“Cards? Really? That's it?”

Tasha shrugged. “What? I don’t own a lot of games, P. I’m not you. And I’m not playing one of your wizard and elf games,” She pulled the cards out of their protective wax box and flipped through them quickly. “I’ve got cards. We can make it a drinking game if you want.”

“Really? Are you just trying to keep me drunk so you can have your way with me?” Patterson joked.

Tasha nearly choked on her tongue and had to fight off a coughing fit. Patterson was kidding but her joke hit a little too close to home. She had no intentions of getting Patterson drunker so she could make a move on her, but it was almost as if her friend had read her mind. Tasha wanted nothing more than to make a move on the blonde but would never do it. It could ruin their friendship. Not that she wouldn’t mind ruining their friendship if it meant having sex with her. She inwardly groaned at this.

“Funny, P,” she replied and then joked back. She winked at her. “But I don’t think I need to get you drunk for that.”

Patterson laughed, leaning her body into Tasha’s. She placed a friendly peck on her cheek.

“Are you calling me easy?”

Tasha shook her head. “Not at all,” she said with a hint of laughter still in her voice. “But you want me. You can’t deny it.”

Patterson felt her chest get tight and she leaned back away from Tasha, grabbing the deck of cards from the brunette’s hand. Tasha was right. She didn’t need to get her drunk. If Tasha wanted her, she was all hers but Patterson knew that Tasha didn’t want her. Not like that anyway. She clumsily began shuffling the cards.

“What are we playing then?”

“Poker?”

“Drunk Patterson isn’t good at poker,” Patterson said with a shrug.

“Sober Patterson isn’t so good at poker either,” Tasha retorted, taking the cards back. Patterson was doing a poor job shuffling and was bending the cards. “High/Low?”

“Laaaaaaame,” Patterson replied, drawing out the word and making it two syllables.

“Blackjack.”

Patterson sighed and grabbed the cards again. She set them on the table. “Seriously, Tash? How do you want me to do math while drinking? I couldn’t even count your fingers earlier.”

“In your head,” Tasha replied. “Isn’t that where math is done?”

“Funny. Forget cards,” Patterson said. “Two truths and a lie? I’ll tell you three things, you decide the lie?”

“I know everything about you so that’s no fun.”

“Not everything,” Patterson protested.

Tasha arched and eyebrow and said nothing.

“Okay, okay, okay, okay. Maybe everything. Fine,” she said and chewed her lip. “Truth or dare?”

“What are we? Twelve-year-olds at a slumber party?”

“Oh, come on! Just do it,” Patterson whined. “If you take truth and don’t wanna answer, do a shot. If you take dare and don’t wanna, do a shot. Simple.”

Tasha didn’t respond immediately while she considered this. The game sounded pretty harmless. Patterson already knew almost everything about her. If anything, they’d play for 20 minutes and then the pizza would arrive and Patterson would be distracted by something else.

“Fine. At least until the pizza arrives,” she said.

“Yes! Go get drinks,” Patterson instructed as she settled onto the couch cross-legged. Tasha got up with a sigh and headed towards the kitchen. “No water!” Patterson called after her. “Remember our deal.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Tasha mumbled. “I remember.”

Tasha returned with two beers, two shot glasses, and a bottle of whiskey. She passed a beer and a glass to Patterson and set the bottle of whiskey down between them.

Patterson took a sip from the beer and set it down on the table. “Ready? I’m going first. Truth or dare, Tasha?”

Tasha rolled her eyes. She couldn’t remember the last time she played this game and she felt ridiculous playing it now. She took a swallow of her beer. “Truth, I guess.”

“What do you think of Reade as assistant director?” Patterson asked.

“Seriously, Patterson?”

“Yeah. Are you refusing to answer?” Patterson waggled her eyebrows.

Tasha mirrored Patterson’s sitting position and blew out a breath.

“I promise not to repeat whatever you say,” Patterson said more seriously. She drew a cross over her heart with an index finger. “Swear it.”

“He’s trying?” Tasha offered half-heartedly. She knew Patterson wouldn’t repeat whatever she had to say but she was feeling guilty about trashing her friend. In complete honesty she thought Reade was in over his head and drowning. She shrugged and filled her shot glass with whiskey and tossed the glass back, swallowing hard. “You’re up. Truth or dare?”

“Truth,” Patterson said quickly. “I hate dares.”

“Do you trust anyone in your lab?”

Patterson stared at Tasha and blinked in surprise. She was the head of forensics and knew she should trust her techs to carry on with their work in her absence but, while she’d never freely admit it, Patterson had a hard time letting go and allowing her techs to work independently. She filled her shot glass and quickly drained it.

“Back to you,” Patterson said as she set her glass down. “Truth, dare? What’s your poison?”

“Truth.”

“Predictable,” Patterson said. “Do you have a crush on anyone?”

“Yes.”

“Who?!” Patterson demanded. This was the first she was hearing about a potential crush and as Tasha’s best friend she thought she should have known about this already.

“You only get to ask one question at a time,” Tasha reprimanded. “Truth or dare?”

“Let’s truth it up in here!” Patterson giggled as she took another swallow of her beer. She’d started to sober up but it wasn’t taking much for the alcohol to hit her again, and she currently found herself hysterical.

“What about you? Any crushes?”

Patterson grinned and nodded. “Yes,” she said. “Is your crush Reade?”

Tasha blanched and blindly grabbed for the bottle of whiskey. She filled her glass and set it at the ready. She had a feeling she knew where this was going and she really didn’t want to answer many questions about her love life, lack of one, or the recurring fantasy she had of pinning Patterson against a wall and making out with her.

“Aren’t you supposed to ask ‘truth or dare’?” Tasha asked, deflecting the question.

Patterson shrugged. “Fine. Truth or dare?”

“...Truth. And no. It’s not.”

“Bull,” Patterson replied.

“That’s the truth!” Tasha insisted and took a swallow of her beer. It was the truth. Reade was her friend and she had brotherly feelings towards him but she didn’t have a crush on him. “Your turn.”

“Truth, please.”

“If you had to date someone from work, who would it be?”

Patterson reached for her shot glass and the bottle of whiskey and then hesitated. The answer was simple but she couldn’t say it. Or maybe she could. She sighed and set her glass back down.

“I don’t know,” she lied. “You, I guess. You’re my best friend so... you.”

Tasha didn’t know how to respond and she filled the silence by reaching for her beer and taking several large swallows. She wondered what Patterson meant by that. Would she date her in this hypothetical situation because of everyone at the NYO, she and Patterson were the closest or was it more than that? Could Patterson possibly be interested in her the same way that she was interested in Patterson?

No, she decided. Of course not.

The sound of the doorbell filled the apartment and Tasha leapt to her feet, grateful for a temporary out of the game. She hurried to the intercom and buzzed the pizza guy upstairs. After receiving the pizza and setting the box and two paper plates down on the table, she finally returned to the couch with a slice. She ate quietly while thinking about Patterson’s most recent response.

Patterson waved a hand in front of her eyes. “Uh, earth to Tasha,” she said around a mouthful of pizza. “Your turn. Truth or dare?”

“Dare, I guess,” she said and then smiled. “Your questions suck.”

“You suck.”

“Rude.”

Patterson thought for a minute. Questions were easy to come up with but she hadn’t been ready for Tasha to ask for a dare. She ate a few bites of pizza while she considered and then finally set her plate down.

“You’re entirely too sober,” she decided as she got to her feet and headed towards the kitchen. She opened the cabinet where Tasha had taken their shot glasses from and pulled out the remaining four glasses. “I dare you to slam six shots of whiskey in 30 seconds.”

She returned to the couch and grabbed the bottle of whiskey, filling each of the shot glasses while she waited for Tasha to accept the dare.

“You want to get me drunk?”

“That’s the point of a drinking game,” Patterson said with a shrug. She finished filling the glasses and offered one to Tasha. “So?”

“So, I either refuse the dare and drink one shot or I do the dare and drink six? That’s dumb.”

Patterson shrugged again. She hadn’t thought this through. “Come on. It’s a game. Play the game. Be drunk with me.”

Tasha took the glass from Patterson and threw it back, swallowing the contents. She handed the glass back and stared a Patterson defiantly.

“You suck!” Patterson repeated.

Tasha grinned. “Fine. Because it’s the game.” She picked up the next glass and proceeded to toss back the remaining five shots in rapid succession. She set the last glass back on the table and felt the room start to slip sideways. The whiskey hit her hard. She coughed and cleared her throat. “Damn.”

Patterson laughed and clapped her hands excitedly. “Yessssssssss!” she hissed. “Drunk Tasha is Fun Tasha!”

Tasha wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and squeezed her eyes closed to clear her vision. “Truth or dare,” she said and then raised a finger. “No. You don’t get to choose after that. You’re getting a dare.”

“What? No!”

“Yes,” Tasha replied and then winked. She repeated Patterson’s own words. “Come on. It’s a game. Play the game.”

Patterson crossed her arms over her chest and pouted. “Fine. What’s your stupid dare?”

“I dare you to pick up your phone, call your crush, and tell them you want them.”

“No!” Patterson yelled and reached for her shot glass.

“Come on, Patterson. It’s a game!” Tasha repeated.

“No,” Patterson repeated and took a shot.

“Take two then,” Tasha said. “One shot for declining a truth and two for declining a dare.”

“You can’t just change the rules,” Patterson protested.

“Too late. Just did.”

Tasha leaned back on the couch and smirked. She’d gone from being a little buzzed to feeling pretty wasted in just a matter of minutes. Patterson was right. It was fun. She watched Patterson take her second shot and then stick her tongue out at her and Tasha giggled.

“Truth or dare, Miss Smug?” Patterson asked.

“Truth.”

“Hmmmm...” Patterson began and tapped her index finger on her chin as she feigned thinking. “Have you ever kissed anyone from the NYO?”

“Can I ask a clarifying question?”

Patterson furrowed her brow and then nodded. “Okay.”

“Is there a difference if I kissed someone or if they kissed me?”

“Someone kissed you?”

“Reade. Once. A few years ago.”

“But you haven’t kissed anyone?”

Tasha licked her lips. This was it. She was going to go for it. She'd had enough whiskey that it didn’t seem like a terrible idea, and if it was a terrible idea, she was sure she could just play it off as being part of the game.

“Not yet,” she said. She leaned forward and kissed Patterson on the lips. She was about to pull back when she felt Patterson start to kiss her back. The blonde finally broke their kiss and looked down at her hands.

“I’m sorry,” she stammered. “I didn’t mean to...”

“It’s okay,” Tasha said, shifting out of her cross-legged position. “I did.”

She leaned in again and cupped Patterson’s face with both hands. She kissed her softly, probing with her tongue until she felt Patterson part her lips to grant access. Time came to a complete stop for Patterson. She’d always been so certain that Tasha wouldn't return her feelings, but now she forgot everything that she thought she knew. Tasha broke the kiss and sat back. She watched Patterson’s face for any sign that the kiss had been a mistake but found none.

“Truth or dare, P?” she asked.

Patterson stared at her dumbfounded. They’d just been kissing, and, truth be told, it was possibly the best kiss she’d ever had. She could still feel Tasha’s lips on hers and would have kept kissing her if the brunette hadn’t pulled away.

“Um, truth?” she replied finally.

“Who do you have a crush on?”

Patterson started to reach for her glass and the bottle of whiskey and then stopped. Her lips were tingling and her whole body felt like it was on fire. She chewed her lip and looked away.

“Who?” Tasha prompted, cocking her head sideways in an attempt to make eye contact with her. She waited but when Patterson didn’t look up, Tasha tried again. She smiled and gave a small laugh. “It’s me, isn’t it? I knew it!”

Patterson turned her head to look back at Tasha but she said nothing. She considered denying it but couldn’t bring herself to say anything. Tasha had kissed her because she had never kissed anyone she worked with, that’s all that was.

Tasha’s face grew serious. “Tell me I’m wrong.”

“I can’t,” Patterson said and shook her head. Tasha was looking into her eyes and Patterson looked down. She suddenly felt very uncomfortable. She’d never felt uncomfortable with Tasha before.

“You have a crush on me?” Tasha asked.

Patterson nodded.

“But you like guys,” Tasha pressed. “David and Borden. Jack.”

“I don’t know,” Patterson sighed. She shrugged and looked back up into Tasha’s face. “I like you. And that kiss was... wow. I just, I don’t know.”

Tasha bit her lip. “Can I tell you something?” she asked.

Patterson nodded again. “Yeah.”

“Hey, Tash,” Tasha began, a smile playing on the corners of her lips as she continued their game on her own. “Truth or dare? Dare. Ok, I dare you to call your crush and confess your feelings.”

“What are you doing Tasha?” Patterson asked as Tasha grabbed her phone from the table and tapped the screen. She held the phone to her ear and waited. Patterson jumped when her phone began to vibrate in the pocket of her pants. She pulled it out and glanced at the caller ID, giving Tasha a puzzled look.

“Are you gonna answer or what?” Tasha asked impatiently as the phone continued to ring in her ear.

Patterson raised an eyebrow and accepted the call. “Hello?”

“Hey, Patterson,” Tasha said into the phone, maintaining eye contact with Patterson. “It’s Tasha. I just wanted to tell you that I have a really big crush on you, and I really, really want to keep kissing you.”

Tasha hung up her phone and held it in her hand while she continued holding Patterson’s gaze. The blonde looked away first, letting her phone slip out of her hand and into her lap. She was shaking her head and then got up, her phone tumbling to the floor. She walked to the opposite side of the room and then turned back to look at Tasha.

“You have a crush on me?” she asked, pointing at herself.

“Yeah. And you’ve got a crush on me.”

“You’re drunk,” Patterson said dismissively, turning away from her again.

“So are you.”

“Yeah, but you don’t have a crush on me,” Patterson insisted, her back turned to the brunette. “You're just drunk and you’re my friend.”

Tasha got off the couch and went to Patterson. She put a hand on her shoulder and gently turned her around so she could look at her.

“I'm not that drunk. I’ve had a crush on you for years,” she admitted. “I never acted on it because we’re friends. Best friends. But if you have feelings for me, then I want to act on it.”

Patterson's gaze fell on Tasha’s lips and the memory of kissing her came rushing back to her. She could still feel her lips on her own and the taste of Tasha’s lip gloss lingered.

“Do you have feelings for me?” Tasha pressed when Patterson didn’t respond. “If you don’t and this is just the booze, we can hit the reset button and pretend none of this ever happened.”

Patterson made up her mind in that moment. She took a deep breath and took a single step towards Tasha. She kissed her so hard their teeth banged together, and she felt Tasha kissing her back, deepening the kiss and fisting her hands into her hair. Patterson’s own hands fell to Tasha’s waist, pulling the brunette even closer as she slid a hand beneath Tasha’s blouse. A small moan escaped her lips as Tasha nipped her bottom lip.

They continued kissing and Tasha’s right hand left Patterson’s hair, dropping to her breast. Patterson's breath hitched as Tasha gave a slight squeeze before letting her thumb run over the nipple.

“Is this okay?” Tasha asked, breaking the kiss and stepping backwards so she could fully see Patterson’s face and expression.

“It’s okay,” Patterson replied, nodding.

Tasha hooked her fingers into the belt loops of Patterson’s slacks and tugged towards her. She continued stepping backwards towards the couch, gently pulling Patterson along with her until the backs of her knees hit the couch and she dropped onto the cushions. Tasha gave another sharp tug and pulled Patterson down with her.

Patterson let herself fall onto Tasha’s lap and cautiously straddled her friend, wrapping her legs around the brunette’s waist. She’d never been with a woman but let her instincts take over when Tasha recaptured her mouth and began kissing her. She fisted her hands into Tasha’s hair and moaned quietly as Tasha’s mouth moved to her jaw and neck. Tasha pushed the collar of her shirt aside and grazed her teeth over the newly exposed skin.

It only took a few seconds for Tasha to work the buttons holding Patterson’s shirt closed and she soon had the blouse open. She ran her hands up and down the creamy skin of the blonde’s torso before landing on the clasp of her bra. Tasha kissed Patterson again as she quickly unhooked it. She slid a hand inside one of the cups and massaged the warm flesh, feeling Patterson’s body respond as her nipples pebbled and hardened under her touch.

Patterson felt trapped inside the garments now hanging off her arms, and she pushed Tasha’s mouth and hands away so she could remove the shirt and bra fully. She tossed them to the floor and returned her attention to Tasha. Patterson’s jaw dropped. Tasha had quickly shed her own blouse and bra. Her nipples stood erect and Patterson wasn’t sure if she’d ever seen anything so beautiful before. She’d seen Tasha in the locker room before but this was somehow different. Her hands found Tasha’s breasts and she kneaded them gently before dipping her head down to lick tentatively at a nipple.

Tasha put a hand behind Patterson’s head to hold the blonde’s mouth in place, and she let her head fall backwards as she moaned the blonde’s first name. Patterson’s tongue felt incredible as it circled her nipple, flicking quickly over it. Moisture began to gather between her legs and she felt like a teenager. It was almost embarrassing how quickly she’d been turned on by Patterson’s somewhat clumsy actions. Tasha grabbed a handful of blonde hair and gently pulled Patterson’s head away from her chest.

“If you keep doing that, I won’t be able to stop,” she said quietly. “If you don’t want to go any further, we should stop.”

It almost hurt Tasha to offer Patterson an out. The last thing she wanted right now was to stop. She’d prefer to push Patterson backwards onto her bed and spend a few hours between her thighs with the blonde’s legs wrapped tightly around her head. She was acutely aware of how much continuing on could change their friendship but she was almost desperate to taste her.

“Do you want to stop?” Patterson asked.

Tasha didn’t hesitate. “No. I don’t want to stop,” she said. “But I will if you want me to.”

Patterson released the grip her legs had on Tasha’s waist and slid off of her lap. She stood up and appraised the empty shot glasses and bottle of whiskey on the table before reaching a hand down and grabbing Tasha’s hand, giving it a squeeze.

“Come on,” she said quietly. “Let’s not stop then.”

Tasha allowed Patterson to pull her off the couch and guide her down the short hallway to her bedroom. Once inside, Patterson reached for Tasha’s pants, unbuttoning them and working the zipper in nearly one movement. She began pushing the material down but Tasha brushed her hands away, removing the slacks fully. Tasha stood in a simple pair of black panties and waited for Patterson to make the next move. She suddenly found herself on her back with Patterson straddling her body, kissing and nipping at her lips.

“No,” Tasha whispered between kisses. She rolled quickly to her left and pinned Patterson against the mattress. She leaned down again and kissed her, feeling the blonde arch her back up to meet Tasha's kiss more fully.

Tasha began kissing her way down Patterson’s body, circling the blonde’s nipples with her tongue, and trailing it down to the waist of her pants. Her fingers dexterously unhooked the single button holding the garment closed and she shoved them down her toned legs. She returned to Patterson’s mouth and kissed her roughly before trailing her lips down her chin and neck, finally coming to a stop at her breasts. Tasha darted her tongue out and ran it around a hard nipple.

Patterson moaned loudly as Tasha sucked the peak into her mouth while her hands massaged her other breast. Her moan spurred Tasha on and she moved her mouth to the other nipple, lapping at it and gently tugging with her teeth.

“Tasha,” Patterson moaned. She brought her hands to the back of the brunette’s head, and ran her fingernails up and down along the nape of her neck. Tasha shivered and gave Patterson’s nipple another appreciative suck as she let her right hand drop down between Patterson’s thighs.

Patterson’s hips bucked as Tasha lightly traced along the edges of her panties with the tip of her finger. The pressure was almost non-existent but the sensation of the silky fabric lightly brushing against her skin made Patterson squirm against Tasha’s touch. Tasha’s lips left her breasts and she felt her tongue travel down her stomach before a kiss was pressed to her hip bone.

Tasha pushed Patterson’s legs apart and settled between them. She kissed the inside of each thigh and worked her way to the fabric covering her mound. Tasha placed a kiss to the top of Patterson’s left thigh before straddling her and grasping both hands. She pinned them up near Patterson's head and kissed her hard. She rocked her pelvis against Patterson's, eliciting another moan as Patterson tilted up in search of more friction.

Patterson pulled her hands free of Tasha’s grip and grabbed fistfuls of Tasha’s hair as the brunette once again began working her way down her body. Tasha caressed Patterson’s hip before cupping her sex and rubbing her through the damp fabric. She caressed the spot at the apex of her thighs and applied a light pressure, feeling Patterson push back against her hand in search of more direct pressure against her clit.

“You’re wet,” Tasha whispered as she pressed another kiss to Patterson’s hip. She blew a light breath over her covered center and Patterson jumped again. She hooked her fingers into the waist of her panties, and Tasha tugged them slowly down the blonde's legs and tossed them to the floor.

The scientist watched Tasha through half-lidded eyes as her legs were spread even wider and Tasha draped a leg over her shoulder. Patterson groaned and Tasha was certain she heard a whimper as she lightly ran her fingers over and around her clit. She looked back up to Patterson's face and saw the desire painted there. She watched as her chest heaved and back arched. She focused her attention on Patterson's clit and enjoyed watching Patterson's hips buck upwards.

"Tasha..." Patterson moaned as Tasha’s fingers continued their assault on her clit. "Please."

Tasha stopped her fingers and gave Patterson a mischievous grin.

“Please what?”

Patterson didn’t respond and Tasha ran her index finger slowly along the length of her lips, collecting the moisture that had begun to gather there. She made a slow circle around her clit before flicking it lightly.

"Oh my god," Patterson moaned again as her hips bucked. "Please."

Patterson felt Tasha's warm breath on the inside of her thighs. Tasha kissed and licked around the edges of Patterson's center, avoiding her clit and teasing the blonde. Patterson grabbed at Tasha's hair, causing Tasha to look up.

"Please, Tash," Patterson said. She sounded like she'd just run a marathon. "Fuck me. Please."

Patterson barely had the last word out of her mouth when Tasha took a long lick along the blonde's folds.

"Oh!" Patterson cried as Tasha’s tongue danced over and around her clit.

Tasha took another long, slow lick with the flat of her tongue, spreading Patterson wide open. She luxuriated in the warm wetness of Patterson's core as the blonde squirmed against her, tilting her hips and seeking more friction. Tasha snaked her tongue between the folds, sinking deep inside several times as she fucked her friend with her tongue. She slowly dragged the rough surface of her tongue along Patterson's center, stopping only when her tongue pushed up against her clit. She hummed softly as she licked at the bud before wrapping her lips around the small bundle of nerves and sucking hard. She was rewarded with another buck of Patterson's hips and a desperate sounding whine.

"Tasha," Patterson groaned, shoving a hand in Tasha's hair to hold her in place and pushing herself hard down onto Tasha's mouth.

A new wave of moisture flooded between Patterson’s legs and Tasha lapped at it hungrily. The blonde was close and Tasha increased her efforts, slipping a single finger inside of her slick core as she licked and sucked at her clit. Tasha rotated her index finger as she slowly fucked Patterson, crooking it slightly and massaging a spot on her inner walls that caused Patterson to curse.

“Please, Tash,” Patterson repeated and a whimper followed as Tasha’s tongue flickered over her clit again. She was aware of the need in her voice but no longer cared. She was close to the edge and needed Tasha to push her over it.

A second finger joined the first and Tasha began fucking her faster as Patterson began thrusting back against her. She felt Patterson’s walls begin to spasm around her pistoning fingers and she fucked her even faster, her hand a blur as she sucked her clit hard into her mouth.

“Come for me,” Tasha urged as she felt Patterson start to lose control.

Patterson grabbed at the comforter as her body tensed for a brief moment before she began to shake. Tasha didn’t let up on her oral or digital assault, drawing Patterson’s orgasm out for as long as she could. When she finally stilled, the brunette withdrew her fingers, licked them clean, and pressed a kiss to Patterson's mound before trailing her tongue back up her body and kissing her mouth again. She curled up next to Patterson and continued placing small kisses on her jaw and neck as the blonde struggled to catch her breath.

Neither spoke for a minute and Tasha lifted her head up to watch Patterson’s face for signs of regret or panic or anything other than the small smile that she saw there. She kissed Patterson again and leaned back against the bed pillows.

“Can I tell you something?” Tasha asked.

“Mmhmm,” Patterson replied dreamily as she stifled a yawn.

“I still have a big crush on you,” she said and paused. “But I wasn’t that drunk.”

Patterson rolled onto her side so she could face Tasha. She draped an arm over her waist and leaned in to kiss her.

“I was,” she admitted quietly. Their faces were so close together that their lips touched as Patterson spoke.

Tasha blanched and pulled back. She’d made a horrible mistake and taken advantage of her best friend’s vulnerabilities. Her skin crawled and she felt like she’d just committed a horrible act.

“I’m so sorry, Patterson,” she said quickly. “I thought... It doesn’t matter. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have.”

Patterson pressed a single finger against Tasha’s lips in a silencing gesture.

“I was extremely drunk,” she continued. Her voice took on a more awake tone and she looked into Tasha’s eyes. “But you were right. I had a crush on you.”

“Had?” Tasha asked.

"Had," Patterson agreed. “Now I think I’m just in lust with you.”

Tasha let out a sigh of relief. She kissed Patterson lightly. “I might be in lust with you, too,” she said and paused. "Round two?"