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all i see is red

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*

Gwendolyn is good to Mildred.

In myriad ways, she’s good to her. The world has been unkind to Mildred Ratched, but not Gwendolyn. She shows Mildred she is worthy of all the love in the world, she knows when Mildred feels strong versus fragile, and she is nothing but patient as Mildred works to unlearn all the previous notions of herself that were instilled in her as a child: that is she good-for-nothing and unlovable.

These are some of the more profound lessons that are borne of their time together, but just as rich are the ways in which Gwendolyn helps Mildred understand and explore her body. Mildred’s body is hers alone, the antithesis of what she was taught as a young girl in a basement theatre. It takes time, but Gwendolyn works to undo the deep-seated shame around the belief that sex between two women is wrong. Together they find ways to make Mildred feel exquisite and brilliant, safe and secure. Mildred never grasped that her body was capable of feeling the kind of blinding pleasure she feels with Gwendolyn, nor did she think she even had a right to want it.

Until Gwendolyn.

*

Mildred stands in the shower, allowing the warm water to sluice across her aching belly. She’s menstruating, and the tight squeeze of cramps sent her clambering into the shower just before 7AM in search of relief. The morning was pinkgray and quiet, stuck in that liminal space just before sunrise, when she rolled away from Gwendolyn.

She braces her hands against the cool tile and sucks a breath deep into her lungs. She’s tired and sore, and when she thinks of the day that lies ahead, Mildred feels already depleted. Merely soaping up her body takes monumental effort.

Rather suddenly, Gwendolyn pokes her head round the shower curtain to peer at Mildred with curiosity and the vaguest hint of worry. “Mildred?” 

Stepping out from under the spray, Mildred gasps, draws a hand to her chest. “Jesus, Gwendolyn, I didn’t hear the door open! What are you doing here?” She’s shy, still, about her naked body in the light of morning and has to refrain from covering herself under Gwendolyn’s stare.

Gwendolyn, for what it’s worth, is certain to keep her gaze steady on Mildred’s face. “I’m sorry, darling. You were gone when I woke up, and I got worried,” she answers over the pelt of the water. “I heard the water running. And so early, too. Is everything ok?”

Mildred sighs and slackens. “It’s really nothing,” she murmurs, always deflecting, always minimizing. “I just have terrible cramps and thought the warm water might help.”

In a previous life, any discussion of or mere allusion to her time of the month would have been unheard of, embarrassing and bordering on inappropriate. In this life, in her beautiful life with Gwendolyn, she is learning to feel more comfortable with the discussion of such things. After all, Gwendolyn declares, they’re both women, and besides, it’s perfectly natural.

“Oh, you poor baby,” Gwendolyn clucks in sympathy, reaching for Mildred through the steam swirling around her.

A beat of silence, then a moment later:

“Hey, you know, I know just the cure for what ails you.” Gwendolyn winks and her whole face lights up with it, and something in Mildred clenches. She looks so beautiful like this, Mildred thinks, with her blonde-red hair loose around her face and the lines that come with age visible absent the mask of makeup.

Mildred is not daft. But she cannot possibly imagine being intimate in her current state, even if the idea is admittedly intriguing. There’s another beat while she considers.

Mildred covers Gwendolyn’s hand where it rests on her shoulder, noting the way the silk of her robe clings to her body in the places where it’s gotten wet. “I appreciate the offer,” she replies resolutely, “but I cannot possibly be desirable like this. Not to mention, it’s unhygienic.”

Gwendolyn’s face softens, the mischief gone. She is unyielding in the way her very body aches for Mildred all the time, but she is patient and understanding before the former. “There is nothing about you that could possibly ever be undesirable, my love.” She moves to untie the knot of the robe belted across her waist. “Let me join you. I’ll wash your hair, and I promise not to do anything you don’t want me to. A soft touch might help the pain.”

She trusts her implicitly, and the idea of Gwendolyn’s strong hands rubbing the tension from her scalp sounds wonderful, so she acquiesces with a nod.

The water has turned lukewarm so Mildred adjusts the tap to heat it further as Gwendolyn steps into the small space behind her. Immediately Mildred leans back into the solid form of her body, back pressed to Gwendolyn’s breasts. It’s erotic yet not expressly sexual, and Mildred can’t ever remember feeling as steadfast and certain about another human being as she does Gwendolyn.

“Thank you for letting me in,” Gwendolyn murmurs into Mildred’s ear, and Mildred knows she doesn’t just mean into the shower. She wraps an arm around Mildred’s middle, pulling her impossibly closer to plant a chaste kiss to a freckle on her shoulder.

Mildred’s hair is still pinned up close to her skull, the style she prefers for sleep, and Gwendolyn uses gentle fingers to comb through the strands to find and remove all the bobby pins one-by-one.

It is such a tender act, albeit a simple one, that Mildred has to swallow around a lump in her throat. She’s never had anyone to undo her hair before, not even in childhood, like a mother or caretaker. To still her, Mildred reaches up to grab Gwendolyn’s hand where it is wrapped around a lock of hair. “I love you. Do you know that?” She can’t see Gwendolyn’s face, but Mildred swears she can hear her smile.

“I love you, my sweet one,” Gwendolyn chuckles, and reaches for the bottle of shampoo on the nearby ledge. It’s the White Rain brand, Mildred’s favorite, and it suits Gwendolyn just fine because to her it smells like sunshine.

Gwendolyn works a palmful of shampoo through Mildred’s thick hair, massaging her scalp in a way that makes Mildred feel a little like she’s melting. She cannot help but tilt her head back to rest against Gwendolyn’s shoulder (given the height difference, the fit is perfect) and close her eyelids against the deluge of warm water.

“How’s that feel?” Gwendolyn murmurs, unintentionally low in her ear, and it causes a rather unexpected and confounding ache to form between her thighs, drawing that steady pain away from her abdomen. Mildred can’t quite discern if she’s aching because she’s becoming aroused (listening to her body is still so novel) or because of her cycle, but she glances down in time to see a streak of blood running past her knee before traveling down the drain.

Though her skin is already pink from the warmth of the water, her cheeks color impossibly darker, and she can only reply to Gwendolyn with a curt, “good.” Over the stream of running water, Mildred can hear Gwendolyn’s even breathing behind her as she starts to rinse Mildred’s hair, and it’s like some kind of lightbulb switching on when she realizes that, yes, she wants Gwendolyn desperately.

It’s something about the narrow space and their shared nakedness, the combined heat of the water and their bodies, and those long fingers working steadily in her hair. Mildred feels like the air has turned thick and heady and she’s not imagining it, is she? Mildred wonders if Gwendolyn wants as much as she does.

She wants dreadfully to overcome her bodily insecurity and lean into this feeling and chase the arousal burning her from the inside out. Emboldened and brave, Mildred turns in Gwendolyn’s arms to face her, and Gwendolyn looks back at her, surprise coloring her lovely features.

Running a hand down Gwendolyn’s damp cheek, she rasps, “Gwen, will you make love to me?”

A smile cracks Gwendolyn’s face wide open. “Nothing would make me happier, but are you certain? I don’t want you to feel unsure.” She cups the hand at her cheek, squeezing it.

“You are so good to me,” Mildred replies. “I’m sure.”

Things move quickly then, too quickly, and when Mildred looks back on it later she will wish they had taken their sweet time to relish in each other a little more.

Mildred gently grasps the back of Gwendolyn’s head to bring her closer, and when their lips meet something visceral and electric sparks down her spine. They lean into each other, crowded impossibly closer in the modest space, and Mildred has never before felt like climbing into another person’s body and wanting to wear them like a second skin.

And just from kissing!

Gwendolyn’s lips are wet; Mildred sucks her lower lip in between her own and earns herself an appreciative moan in response. Gwendolyn pushes her tongue insistently against Mildred’s, and the taste of her is warm and familiar and Mildred drinks it in greedily. There is a pounding between her legs, something heavy and yearning settling there, and she realizes she has forgotten about the staccato drip of blood down her thighs. Gwendolyn seems not to have noticed at all.

She wraps her arms around Gwendolyn’s back and Gwendolyn grips her hips tightly in a kind of response. Mildred’s heart races with the delicious press of their breasts together as water continues to rain down around them. Gwendolyn breathes heavily into Mildred’s mouth and they are kissing wordlessly, and Mildred’s hands roam over the endless expanse of her lover’s back, up her shoulders and to her neck, to tug not-so-gently at the baby hairs at the base of Gwendolyn’s skull.

“Millie.” Gwendolyn pulls back with a wild look in her eye, and the pet name is like kindling.

The match has been struck and Mildred is desperate to stoke the flames.

Mildred reaches for one of her breasts, stroking her thumb across the nipple. It pebbles beautifully under her touch. Gwendolyn grips her hips tighter and tilts her head back, Mildred watching in awe as the warm spray of the shower slides down her flushed cheeks. Mildred ducks her head to capture the hardened peak of Gwendolyn’s breast in her mouth and sucks, running her tongue appreciatively over the soft skin.

The response is immediate and comes in the form of a groan, muffled and lost to the thick, humid air. Mildred is burning all over; nothing gets her going like making Gwendolyn feel good does.

Gwendolyn places her palm against Mildred’s chest to still her, abruptly, and Mildred releases her breast with a gentle pop. She appraises Gwendolyn questioningly.

“Millie,” she repeats, the barest hint of mirth in her voice, “this was supposed to be about you, to help your pain. Let me.” She reaches for Mildred’s hand and laces their fingers together.

Mildred’s pulse jumps with the touch, but she pouts. “I know, but then I got to feeling you and…” she trails off.

“There’ll be time for me later,” Gwendolyn assures her, squeezing the fingers puzzled in her own. She tugs Mildred to her so their bodies are flush against one another, and being pressed against the grooves and terrain of her body sends another pointed beat to Mildred’s center. Mildred’s eyes close. Gwendolyn presses a kiss to her shoulder, the graceful, exposed column of her neck, the blush of her cheeks, her eyelids, and reaches behind her to grip her buttocks. Their hips slot together with the movement and Mildred keenly needs, needs, needs.

Against her own heated skin, Mildred can feel Gwendolyn’s center meet hers, the soft patch of hair there and the jut of her pubic bone. She desperately wants to open her thighs a touch and rut carelessly against her. As Gwendolyn pinches the taut skin of her behind, Mildred turns her head slightly to catch Gwendolyn’s roving lips with her own. Hands on Gwendolyn’s forearms, she breathes into her pursed lips, “please.” Gwendolyn will want to take the time to truly explore Mildred’s body as she always does, Mildred knows with certainty, but the water is turning chilly and Mildred is aching and frenzied beyond measure.

“Please, what?” Gwendolyn teases, shifting her hips slightly upward to punctuate the question. Mildred hisses in reply, eager for the friction. “Mmm, I see.” Gwendolyn takes pity on Mildred then, who is quickly dissolving in her arms.

She reaches around to Mildred’s front, shifts her hips away by a few inches to give herself room to work, and uses a single finger to trace where Mildred’s thigh meets her hip. She draws aimless patterns on the skin there for a moment, winding her up (though she hardly needs it), before using her whole hand to cup Mildred in an intimate squeeze.

Mildred’s chest heaves with it. She needs Gwendolyn like she needs air.

With no warning, Gwendolyn splits Mildred’s labia with two fingers and Mildred squeaks. She runs her fingers down, up, and down again against Mildred’s cunt, where she is warm and sticky, and aching for it. She draws her fingers up to her clit, stiff and hard.

When Gwendolyn’s nimble fingers connect with Mildred’s clit, she can’t help but bite out a moan bordering vaguely on pornographic. Her instinct is always to not be loud, not be heard, but she knows Gwendolyn savors the noises she makes when they make love. Gwendolyn starts a slow, rhythmic press of her fingers against Mildred’s clit, working her with the experience of a woman who damn well knows what she’s doing. She leans in to kiss Mildred simultaneously, whose lips are swollen where her teeth have teased the flesh. Mildred breathes Gwendolyn in and rolls her hips against the steady pressure to create additional friction. “That’s it, doll,” Gwendolyn hums her approval.

Her release is building, Mildred is sure, but her head is swimming with the feeling of one of Gwendolyn’s hands pinching her nipple and the other rubbing exquisite circles between her legs, that she can’t be sure how long she’s been rolling her hips in time with Gwendolyn’s fingers. She knows, decisive and sudden, that she won’t be able to reach completion without Gwendolyn inside her.

She tells her as such.

“I need you to fuck me, Gwendolyn,” she pants, a bead of sweat slipping down her neck. The water has long since gone cold.

Gwendolyn stills her fingers for a moment, and Mildred groans against the acute loss of sensation; she lurches her pelvis forward in protest. Gwendolyn just wants to make her girl feel good; she dips her fingers down to her opening, digits slipping through the slick there. She slips just the tip of one finger into Mildred and Mildred gasps, her words caught in her throat.

“In, in, in,” she begs, widening her stance to encourage Gwendolyn’s finger to slide inside.

Gwendolyn complies and pushes one finger into Mildred, and she whimpers when she sees Mildred’s face contort in pleasure. She begins a slow pushpull, inout, the palm of her hand bumping against Mildred’s clit on the in. Gwendolyn knows Mildred can take (wants) more, so she slips in two more fingers along with the first and revels at the way Mildred’s body accepts them beautifully.

It’s all gotten away from Mildred then; she cannot control the motion of her hips or the race of her pulse or the fingernails that rake against Gwen’s ass, sure to leave marks. Mildred feels so full and so good with Gwendolyn’s fingers inside her and she grinds against her hand like a woman undone. Gwendolyn’s lips are at her ear, telling Mildred that she’s a good girl and that she’s beautiful like this, and Mildred can’t understand not having known this woman all her life. Her free hand wraps around Mildred’s hip to encourage her to grind down harder against Gwendolyn’s fingers in time with her expert thrusts, and Mildred does so, bucking wildly against the hand at her cunt and feeling it in the muscles of her legs.

Mildred is mewling like a kitten and the flush that has darkened her face and neck is spreading down to her breasts and she just wants to tell Gwendolyn that she loves her, needs her, no one else has ever been this good to her. Enjoying penetration is relatively new for Mildred, too, and the wet suck of Gwendolyn’s fingers entering and leaving her body is so utterly beyond this earthly world.

Gwendolyn shifts the hand at Mildred’s hip to under her thigh, bringing her leg up to wrap around Gwendolyn’s waist, and this new angle opens Mildred up exquisitely. Mildred’s mouth drops open and Gwendolyn laughs, truly laughs. “How do you feel, darling?”

Mildred grits out her response. “I’m so close, Gwen, don’t you dare stop.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it.” Gwendolyn massages the palm of her hand against Mildred’s throbbing clit, and though her wrist is starting to ache, continues to drive her fingers into Mildred, spurring her to climax. Mildred is climbing a steep ascent, sweaty and aching, and she catches Gwendolyn looking at her with adoration and something in her heart splinters with the connection.

When Gwendolyn leans in and licks a line of sweat from Mildred’s cheek, it’s all she needs.

Mildred comes in a shuddering wave, moaning “oh, god,” and clenching like a vice around Gwendolyn’s fingers. Gwendolyn fucks her through the waves, cooing low in her ear. She curls around Gwendolyn’s body like a second skin and it’s bliss, beginning deep in her cunt and spreading like the lick of flames to her toes, her chest, her scalp. She wants Gwendolyn to stay inside her forever, even once the tremors have passed. She dips her head and rests her forehead in between Gwendolyn’s breasts, trying to catch her breath and calm her galloping pulse. She fumbles behind her to shut off the faucet; their skin is wrinkly and pruned by now.

Gwendolyn tenderly lets Mildred’s leg down (there are sure to be bruises on her thighs) and starts to slide her fingers from her body. Mildred watches, eyes wide, as her fingers come away covered in blood. She’s immediately horrified, having truly forgotten she’d been menstruating, and steels herself for Gwendolyn’s certain disgust. She lifts her head in time to see Gwendolyn raise the fingers to her lips and suck them into her mouth, cleaning them off.

Mildred forgets, actually forgets, how to breathe.

A laugh bursts forth from Gwendolyn, the deep, joyous kind, at Mildred’s wide-eyed stare and fucked-out expression. She pecks her on the cheek before pushing the shower curtain aside to reach for the towel hanging nearby.

“I told you nothing about you is undesirable.” She shrugs, hopping out the shower. “How’s your stomach feeling?”

*

fin