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On The Stand-A Drink and A Friend

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“Don’t you fucking come any closer to me.”
“I had a drink with her.” Respecting her request for distance, he retrieves his steps then hovers around the end of the table.
“Not another word.” She refuses to listen. Her voice sounds more resolute meanwhile delicate.
“Just hear me out.”
“No. I will not be that wife.”
“Who said that?”
“I don’t want to hear a story about how she called, or you ran into her.”
“I did.”
“Or you didn’t mention it because it didn’t mean anything.” Her eyes rim with red.
“It didn’t.” He emphasizes, voice raising.
“You lied, Kurt.”
“It wasn’t like that.”
She hastens to the door, then holds the doorknob before saying,
“I’m not that woman. I will NOT do this.” Slamming the door behind her, she doesn’t let one tear drop before him, even to the top of her extremity.

He remains where he stood, with his hands tightly holding onto the back of the chair in front of him and head leveling his shoulders. Raising his right hand, he hits the chair so hard that he feels an instant pain spreading in his palm and burning through his fingers. However, no pain can drag him from what agonizes his mind right now.

A month ago, Kurt just finished a meeting with the L.A. District Attorneys at the hotel where he stayed, discussing the ongoing case and being informed that he would not have to testify until next week. He was about to return to his room and phone Diane about his possible return to Chicago for a long weekend when his name was called.
“Kurt!”
He turned. Out of his surprise, Holly Westfall, with a toothy smile on her face, stepped toward him. Before he realized it, she was hugging him. Kurt raised his hands to hold her arms, gently pushing her away, and then took a step back, widening the distance between them.
“Holly, hi. Didn’t expect to see you here.” He feigned a smile.
A little astounded by his overreaction at first, Holly soon recovered to her frivolous mood.
“It’s been a while, isn’t it? Why don’t we have a drink and catch up?” Before he could respond, she dragged his forearm and led him to the bar area within ten feet from where they stood.
“Holly, actually, I’m…” he intended to excuse himself but was cut off by her.
“Come on. It’s been so long. I almost began to worry that you’ve been trying to avoid me.” Giving a playful squeeze on his arm, she seated herself on the stool and winked at the bartender.
“A martini and a beer, please.” She then turned to Kurt, who reluctantly adjusted himself on the stool next to her.
“Sorry for ordering for you, but you know I like doing that.” She shot him a flirty grin.
Drifting his eyes to the movements of the bartender, he nodded along.
“So how have you been?” She turned her crossed legs toward him, with her elbow bracing the counter and jaw resting in her right hand.
“Good, good.” He replied perfunctorily and took a sip of the beer the bartender just put in front of him.
Feeling ignored, she tried to draw his attention.
“Then, how is your ex?”
Stung by her choice of words, Kurt turned to face her with a stern look.
“You mean my wife?”
“You’re still married? Really?” Holly asked with her eyes dramatically widened, like she was so amused.
“Yes, we are.” Kurt answered firmly.
“Well, I expected more from a liberal feminist who’s got a stick in her ass.” She rolled her eyes then ate an olive from the stick floating in her drink.
If he was trying to be civil before, now he was done being polite.
“Holly, I really don’t understand why you enjoy taunting someone whose heels you can’t even reach. She’s a great lawyer, a respected liberal icon, and a committed feminist. If you think my infidelity made her any less of who she already has been, you couldn’t be more wrong, and if you really think divorcing a cheating husband is the only testament of being tough and independent, you’re just degrading yourself by belittling your own gender. So quit talking about my wife like that. You are unworthy of her.”
Astonished by his sudden preach in a rage, Holly stared at him with an aghast look.
“Now, if you excuse me, I have a very important phone call to make.” Standing from his stool, Kurt buttoned his suit and left a few bills on the counter before striding to the lobby.

Closing the door behind him, he took out his phone. It was 10:30 p.m. in L.A. Considering that it was already midnight in Chicago, he did not want to disturb Diane in her sleep. Trying to get over the unpleasant conversation with Holly, all he wanted right now was to see Diane. He then slid his phone unlocked and began to check the earliest flight.

As it turned out, surprising Diane was an excellent idea. She was excited to see him and so emotionally touched by his unexpected appearance. Actually, he was a little overwhelmed by her apologetic tears for not being able to spare the whole weekend for his short stay and the insatiable intimacy she extended when she was alone with him, which could only be traced back to the time when he returned home from a long trip of trial in their early marriage. During their separation, Diane never showed her full affection to him. Even after having sex, she restrained from mentioning those three words, which apparently lingered on her lips. Instead, she just rolled over to lie on her side, with the bedsheet covering her lower back, and fell asleep. Kurt would lean against the headboard, study her frame for a while and then reach out to cover the sheet over her shoulder before he got dressed and left for the hotel.

However, this short reunion was filled with long-lost domestic intimacy. She buried herself in his arm, with her right arm tightly clinging around his waist and left hand trying to reach his right one draping from her shoulder. The crackling from the fireplace beside the couch marked the tranquility of the living room. If there were a tighter way to hold him, she would. Kurt sensed it might be his long absence and the recent panic of lawyer killing that mounted to her insecurity. He held her tighter and pressed a long kiss on her temple.
“I’m here, Diane. Whatever happens, nothing will keep me from wanting to see you, nothing. I promise.”
She did not respond, but he could feel a slight shivering under his arm and the wetting material of his shirt around his upper chest. He tried to sit straight and catch her eyes when she lifted her head and stared at him with glistening reddened eyes. Kurt had a hard time figuring out her expression, mingled with affection, gratification, and a hint of guilt. What worried her?
“Diane, did I…” she leaned closer and interrupted his confusion with a full kiss. He then sank into her lips and darted his tongue in seeking hers. The kiss was soon deepened with teeth and tongues, and their hands fumbled all over each other. Not parting their lips, they made their way to the bedroom, bumping into the furniture from time to time, tearing each other’s clothes and leaving a trace to the bed.

After she reached her ecstasy, he rolled over on his back and breathed heavily. When their breaths caught an even pace, Kurt braced himself with his elbow against the mattress and reached for the bedsheet from the end of the bed. He covered Diane’s exposed skin all the way up around her shoulder and himself by the waist. Lying on his back, he closed his eyes. For the whole day, he only slept unsteadily on the plane for a few hours. Now, he was really tired, but his eyelids struggled to take one more look of her before he fell asleep, yet his fatigue took over. Eyes shutting, he then heard the sizzling of the friction between the bedsheets and felt a light rock of the mattress. The cold skin of her breasts touched his hairy chest. Her smooth legs entwined with his under the sheet. She landed her still-hot cheek on his shoulder, with her arm clinging around his neck and slender fingers tucked in his tousled hair. He remained unmoved, breathing in her body scent, and tried to synchronize the heaving of their chests. Lying there for a short while and relishing the touch of her soft skin, he was about to fall asleep, when he felt her lips softly pressed on the corner of his mouth and a hot tear dropped on his shoulder, followed by a whisper “I love you, Kurt.”

Chapter Text

“Hi, Diane Lockhart, please.” The man smiles at the receptionist.
Kurt slows down his steps on hearing her name. He just shared an awkward small talk with this man before stepping out of the elevator.
“Uh, Maia Rindell.” He tells the other girl at the reception and shots the man a lopsided smile.
“And you are Mr. …?” “Tell her it’s Tully.” The man answers in a light mood.
“Sir, you can go in, now.”
Kurt’s eyes follow the man, who takes a halt at the doorway of Diane’s office, probably making a dramatic entrance. Diane lifts her head, looking emotionless at first, but then cracks on something he says apparently. The man never sits down, just standing behind the chair with hands waving when he’s talking. Kurt furrows. He cannot name it, but the informality of their meeting makes him very uncomfortable.
“That was quick. Did you find something?” Kurt turns to meet Maia who is approaching him, accompanied by a pregnant woman.
“Yeah, yeah, I think so.” A little unprepared for being called, he answers hastily and steps forward to the couch near the reception.
“This is Lucca. She works on it, too.”
“Yeah, I know Lucca.” He receives an embarrassed greeting from Lucca and begins to rummage in his briefcase.

After helping Maia reveal the connection between the two cases, Kurt dismisses his desire to see Diane, especially after his testimony on the stand earlier that morning. He is probably the last person she wants to see right now. From where he stands, he cannot spot Diane’s office, and neither does he feel appropriate to pry into her. With a ping of the elevator, he steps in and hits the button to the ground floor.
“Hold it, please.” Hearing the howl, Kurt holds the door from shutting, and he is met with that man again, who loses his previous perky face and nods at him for appreciation. He feels a little relaxed knowing the meeting has been ceased, but he doesn’t feel like standing side by side with him and sharing the ride downstairs.
“You got a quick meeting, too?”
“Yep.” Not even looking at him, Kurt keeps his answer as short as possible, discouraging this conversation starter, which seems not working anyway.
“I mean, women are so moody.” Shaking his head, the man sighs and continues.
“One day they want you like hell, and the other day they just kick you away.”
Kurt fixates his eyes straight forward, he doesn’t need to hear more. Fists clenched, he feels a tumbling heat creeps through his neck to his ears. He refrains from punching the man.
Receiving no response from him, the man shots him a disdainful look and steps out when they arrive at the ground floor. Kurt stands still in the elevator. He stares at the button to the 23rd floor, pondering on whether he should go up. After a few seconds, the door is about to shut when he reaches out his arm and blocks it. He swallows hard before stepping out and leaving the building.

He glances at his phone, it’s 8:30 p.m. He called her an hour ago, and still, she didn’t answer or return his call. He can’t get rid of the image of her in the court today when he was crossed by the opposing attorney. On the stand, he looked at her, but she did not give any reactions to the souring questions. She didn’t even blink, but there was a palpable shivering of her throat when the attorney dropped his last comment on the alleged intention of his testimony. He thought they’d passed tangling with the affair. Especially for the past few weeks, he sensed huge progress in their reconciliation, largely from her part. He had the feeling that it would not be long before they could move in together again, and he even made calls recently to some acquaintances to fill him in job opportunities in town, but a reminder of his falsely-proved connection with Holly just put all the effort down to drain.
The bar is crowded with people enjoying their Friday night. He sits at the counter, eyes on his third beer, contemplating whether it is the right thing to give her space, whether it is wise to let her conjecture her own version of the non-existent meeting with Holly, thinking ill of him and torturing herself, because he is doing the same thing. She wouldn’t land an eye on that man, he thinks, but he is not sure what her frenzy could drive her to do. He cannot bear thinking about Diane with another man. “Would she?” He breathes heavily on the thought and takes in the last gulp of his beer. The mouthful swallow of the liquor almost hurts his throat. The bartender approaches and takes away his cup.
“Another beer, sir?”
“No.” He eyes the bartender firmly, “Hit me with tequila.”

Chapter Text

The celebration of winning the case did not last long. Diane spent most of the time alone in her office. Kurt called. She was about to call him back but rendered to her pride. Fairly speaking, she knew him well enough to understand he wouldn’t undercut not just Holly but anyone in the same circumstances. In her sober moment, she knew what she was furious about was not his “loyalty” to the former mistress that she accused him of; she knew she was devastated on the idea of them still spending time together; she also knew Holly was the kind of woman who would exaggerate men’s attachment to her. Even though she could think it through afterwards, it didn’t mean she was not hurt. Besides, the regret of spending last night with Tully for revenge just made her feel worse, in spite of the impact of micro-dosing.

It’s 10:30 p.m. Stepping out of the shower, she slips in her silk robe and dries her hair with a towel. Looking at herself in the mirror, she tightly presses her lips. Having been feeling a bit adrift recently, sometimes when she wakes up in the middle of the night, it takes her a moment to figure out where she is or what day it is. She tries to wipe Kurt or Tully off her mind. She needs to get some sleep. “I’ll think about it tomorrow.” She tells herself. Turning out the light of the bathroom, she puts her phone on the nightstand and climbs into bed when a loud pounding from the front door makes her furrow. She thought she had made it quite clear with him today that what happened between them was a mistake. She gets up reluctantly, rushes downstairs, and prepares to talk some sense to Tully, but she is surprised by who is standing at the door.
“Kurt!” She cries.
Not saying a word, he faces her with an intense gaze, steps in the house before being given the permission, and slams the door behind him. Diane is forced to move backwards by his determined marching until her back touches the wall. He narrows the distance between them by stepping closer and pressing his weight on her. Diane is frightened by the serious look on his face. His cheeks blush, and his eyes are bloodshot. Fixing his hands on her hips, Kurt pins her steady against the wall. Raising his right hand, he runs his fingers through her still damp hair and circles a stray behind her ear. The back of his fingers follows the trail by brushing the smooth skin of her neck and then the part of her chest not covered by the robe. Studying every inch of her skin preciously, his index finger pauses at her cleavage. Diane flushes, and her chest starts heaving fast. She grabs his hand before he can slip it to where he intends to. Drifting his eyes from their hands, he locks his gaze with her pale-blue orbs.
Diane swallows before saying in a wobbly voice, “Kurt, I don’t think we should…” her unfinished words are smothered by his kiss. His lips forcefully separate hers and suck hard on her lower lip. Her eyes roll back to her brain. Her grip of his hand tightens, but instead of stopping him, she alters to lead his hand under her robe to cup her breast and rub her already-stiffened nipple. Before she realizes it, she is responding to him fiercely by sticking her tongue down to his throat and letting it tangle with his, tasting the remaining alcohol in his mouth. With her right palm crawling to the back of his head, she tries to press him impossibly closer to her. They kiss the way they never have before like there were no tomorrow, like they would kiss until the end of the time. Slowly parting their lips, they pant heavily for air, with foreheads leaning against each other and eyes shut.
“You are drunk.” Out of her breath, she says dizzily.
“Shush.” He slightly shakes his head and presses his lips on hers again for a firm and wet kiss, before he leans back, bending over, putting his right arm behind the back of her knees, and carries her in his arms. Suddenly losing her balance, “Kurt!” Diane cries and clings her arms around his neck tightly at once. Ignoring her reproachful tone, Kurt shuts her up by dipping his head and kissing her fully. With one arm hanging around his neck, she cups his face with the other hand. Carrying her, he climbs about ten stairs with only three big strides. Their kisses never cease until he carries her to the bed.

Landing Diane on her preferred side of the bed, Kurt kicks off his boots, slips out of his suit and leather jacket at one move and joins her. Her robe is a bit loosened by his previous fumbling, the lapels of which only conceal her nipples. Under the dim light shooting from the bedside lamp, the semicircle of her breast forms a shadow casting on the rim of the other one. Her legs are exposed and stretching under him. Kurt spreads her robe wider to the sides. She moans at the touch of the cool metal of his belt buckle on her lower abdomen. Dipping his head, Kurt sniffs the skin behind her ear, mesmerized by the mixed scent of shampoo, body cream and her. Diane closes her eyes and squirms under the touch of his lips. He kisses her earlobe, then down to her jaw, her neck and her collar bone, with his teeth nibbling every inch of the skin his lips sweep. His hand glides upwards her thigh and reaches her panties. Curling his fingers, he hooks the lace of the scarce material and attempts to pull them down. Diane arches her back and helps him accelerate the process. Her hands are busy locating his belt buckle. She can feel his hard length points her inner thigh through the coarse material. Loosening his belt, she unzips his jeans. Kurt lowers his jeans and boxers before inserting his length into her when he feels an instant contraction of her clits. His hot lips move to the skin between her breasts, sucking hard while he rocks between her legs. Diane lets out a puff, embedding her nails in his shoulders through his plaid shirt. Kurt gradually speeds up the rhythm of his rocking and his callused hands pinch her pelvis so hard that they will definitely leave bruises. Diane’s head pulls back to the pillow. Her torso shakes to his rhythm, and she further widens her legs.

Raising his head, Kurt fixates his eyes on her face and then meets her blurred orbs. She can see the slight twitch of his face on every strike. He hasn’t said anything since his arrival. Being drunk makes Kurt reckless, and she loves this new side about him. Looking into his darkened eyes, she can’t tell what he is thinking. The only thing she knows for sure is that she wants him like always. No matter how close or far they are, she wants him. No matter how stubbornly he sticks to his principles even at her expense, she wants him. No matter how few words he could squeeze to clear himself out of complications, she still wants him. The fact is, she just can’t stop loving him, her man of few words.

“Kurt!” She cries on peaking her orgasm. Her strained muscles relax when his length pulls out of her. He rests his chin on her shoulder for a moment and then rolls over lying on his side and then staring at her flushed face. Eyes shut and lashes fluttering, she is relishing the aftermath of their lovemaking when she feels his lips on her cheek. She opens her eyes, meeting his gaze full of tenderness.
“Why did you come here?” She can’t help but ask.
He closes the gap between them, puts his arm around her waist, and then pulls her closer to him, molding her back with his front so tightly. Diane clenches with confusion. He brushes her forearm to soothe her and rests his lips on her exposed shoulder.
“Kurt?” She can’t see his face, which makes her nervous.
His lips slide to her neck then the back of her ear, and his grip of her tightens.
“If you feel hurt, Diane,” he whispers in her ear, “you come to me, me only.” He doesn’t say more, and she soon feels the breath puffing to her ear slows down to an even pace, yet his grip of her never loosens. She doesn’t know how long it takes for her to fall asleep. In his arms, she feels a solid ground she has lost trace of for a long time, a state where she knows exactly who she wants to be.

Chapter Text

She reaches out to his side of the bed, only finding it empty. Rubbing her eyes with the back of her hand, she tries to see more clearly, still no trace of him. “Was that a dream?” She rolls over reaching for her phone on the nightstand and tries to recollect what happened last night. Then a blurred figure in the chair next to the window startles her.
“Oh my god, Kurt?” She flinches by the sight of him and sits up to brace her back against the headboard.
“Yes.” He is sitting in the chair, fully dressed, with hands entwined before him.
“What are you doing? What time is it?” She drags the sheet up to cover her bare skin.
“Five.”
“And you’re up, because…” She still feels a bit dizzy.
“I, uh, I apologize for last night. I was too drunk and impertinent.” Dipping his head, he sounds distressful.
“Kurt, you don’t have to. Actually, I’m…” A grin creeps on her face. She intends to tell him that she’s glad he came but is cut off.
“No, Diane. I should. I don’t know why I came here. I don’t even remember what I did to you. I am so sorry. I cannot believe I forced myself on you. I should have respected your space when you wanted it.”
Her growing grin soon vanishes on hearing his repeated apologies. She is even annoyed by his self-condemning inclination and his principles of being appropriate.
“It’s something out of your strict moral standards?” She doesn’t know why but she is so upset on hearing his apology, so she adds “like cheating?”.
“Diane.”
“I presume you didn’t remember what you did the second day either last time you were this drunk.” She satirizes him, yet it doesn’t give her any pleasure.
“Diane, it’s different.”
“Don’t worry about it. Whatever you do doesn’t surprise me.” She fuels up and intends to sound more hurtful, “And blaming the alcohol should be listed in your standards since you did that a lot.”
He stands up.
“I don’t think it’s a good time, Diane. Maybe we should talk later.”
“You mean the next time you barge in?” She can’t help but become more aggressive.
“Again, I apologize for coming here and hurting you. I wasn’t myself. I…I saw this man, and I thought…” He doesn’t continue.
“What?”
He takes a deep breath. “I was at your firm yesterday working on a case with Maia, and I saw this man looking for you. He, well, I shouldn’t have overthought it. It was stupid.”
Diane’s heart sinks. She didn’t expect this is where it would lead to. The idea that he may have known about Tully unnerves her. The former aggression for a fight with him is soon quenched by a chill up her spine. Her sudden silence leaves the air between them awkward.
“Diane? Anything I should know about?”
“Uh, no. He’s a friend.” She lies. Her eyes drift somewhere else and her tone becomes softer.
Kurt remains silent for a while, dipping his head and locking his eyes on the carpet.
“Look, I will leave for New York for the next two weeks. I think we should have a talk but not now. Both of us need to think it through before we tell what we really feel. You have the right reason to be pissed off at me, and I hope we can talk when you feel better.”
Diane doesn’t respond. He makes sense, she thinks.
Kurt steps closer, sits on the bedside and then looks at her.
“I think I should make one thing clear before I leave.” Diane returns his gaze with a nervous look. She is afraid that he will pursue the matter about Tully.
“I ran into Holly three weeks ago. We had an argument, and it didn’t last more than ten minutes. I don’t know how she made it sound different, but this is what happened.” He pauses and the rims of his eyes redden, “Diane, I would break my wrist if I hurt you again.”
She wells up on his words and tightly presses her lips together.
“I’ll contact you when I’m back in town.” He pats her hands softly before he stands up and heads to the door.
“Kurt.”
“Yes?” He turns. She wants him to stay badly. She wants to confess to him about Tully, even though she failed in her first attempt the day he flew back from L.A. She wants to tell him she doesn’t blame him for last night, to tell him that she wants him, always, and to tell him that she doesn’t need any space and all she wants from him is to hold her as tightly as he did last night.
“I’m…uh…” She swallows, “I’m sorry for what I just said. I didn’t mean it.” She says bashfully.
He smiles at her, “I know”, and then walks out.
She feels empty and hollow. Last night, she thought this would be a turn of their relationship. She didn’t expect it to become a turn to an unknowing direction this morning.
Two weeks is long enough for him to weigh whether it is still worth his patience and effort to pay for his mistake and to work so hard on the reconciliation. If he really knows about Tully, maybe it would be a much easier decision to make. She lies on her back and stares at the ceiling for nothing. “This is the worst weekend ever.” She admits.

……

Kurt wakes up by a pain from his back, like a strained muscle. Blinking his eyes, he tries to figure out where he is. The light of the bedside lamp is dim but enough to make her hair shine. Her silk robe drapes down from her arm to her back, wrinkling to a pile on the mattress behind her and exposing her shoulder and chest. The lower part of the robe barely covers her waist and hip, leaving her long legs stretch to the end of the bed. She is basically half-naked. He found himself still in his shirt but jeans unzipped and boxers unkempt. His arm is clinging around her waist, with hers folded on it. His head is aching. He tries to recall how he ended up in her bed but he can’t. He gingerly retrieves his arm from her hold and climbs down from the bed. Every movement makes his back ache. “What the hell did I do?” From where he stands, he sees his jacket on the floor at the other side of the bed. Collecting his clothes, he finds a pair of lilac panties carelessly tossed on his boots. Kurt steps closer to the bed and looks at Diane’s sleeping frame. When he leans closer, he is astonished by so many hickeys spreading from her neck to her chest and a distinctively dark one on the skin between her breasts. Eyes down, he sees a bruise on her hip bone. The sight of her trampled figure makes him feel a lump to his throat. He covers her frame gently with the sheet under her feet.

After tidying himself up, he sits in the chair next to the window. He cannot believe he just came down here and ravaged her when she was not even ready to see him, when she was still working on how to deal with their situation. He cannot imagine how frightened and hurt she was when he did this to her. What would she think of him? How could he face her after this? If she were given more time, maybe they could still work it out. At least, he knew he would do anything to fix what had been damaged, but he screwed it up by injuring her in a different way. He recalls how jealous and angry he felt last night at the idea of Diane being with another man, but what he did might just push her further away from him. Struggling with his own thought, Kurt hears her movements under the sheet. He fidgets by realizing she is about to wake up. He has no idea how to approach her after what he did last night. She rolls over and is startled by the sight of him.
“Oh my god, Kurt?”
“Yes.” He answers.