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We Started Out as Strangers

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Riley is exhausted as she walks through the door to the bar. Boston is a new city and in between her new job at Boston Childrens and getting settled in a new city, she’s determined to form some semblance of a social life on the side while there’s still summer left. But also, she’s stressed and if that social life happens to include a bit of fun on the side, who is she to complain?

It takes a quick nod to the bartender before her tab is open and a whisky sour is placed in front of her on the bar. From there, she observes her surroundings. The place is unusually packed for a Monday night and a few women catch her attention, but for one reason or another she can’t bring herself to approach them. She’s been in Boston for nearly two months now and she’s hardly spent all those nights alone, but waking up to an empty bed or to someone who’s hair was a shade too dark, an inch too long, or a smidge too perky has quickly lost it’s appeal.

She quickly finishes her drink and motions for another, making sure to give the bartender a grateful smile. She takes her time drinking this one while trying to decide if she’s really even in the mood for extracurricular activities tonight. There’s the latest copy of a medical journal and a pint of Ben & Jerrys waiting for her at home that seem to be calling her name louder than the ladies of this bar are.

The bartender slides another drink in front of her and silences her questions with a shrug, “Courtesy of the blonde at the end of the bar.”

Well, at least it’s someone who may be my type she muses before glancing down the bar oh. Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck.

And there, seated at the end of the bar nursing her own drink, a shy smirk on face, sits none other than Abby, whom Riley didn’t even know had left Pittsburgh, much less was in Boston.

By the time they actually lock eyes, the usually confident doctor is sure the gay panic is written all over her face. But she’s nothing if not polite and motions for the smaller women to take the seat next to her. The look on Abby’s face makes her confident she’s made the right decision.

“Of all the people to run into tonight,” she comments as Abby sits her own drink on the counter, “I didn’t expect it to be you.”

“Yeah but are you disappointed?”

Riley rolls her eyes, “Ask me in about thirty minutes. But seriously, what are you doing in Boston?”

Abby smiles, “I finished my PhD last month and moved here about a week ago to take a job at the ICA that starts in a week, and I have a teaching position lined up for the Fall. I’m staying at a hotel around the corner until I have a chance to find an apartment.”

“That’s awesome!” Riley exclaims, “Congrats fellow doctor! This calls for celebratory shots!”

It’s obvious the other woman is embarrassed by the attention but Riley can tell she appreciates the gesture.After ordering a round of shots for them, she turns back to the blonde. “So tell me, what did you do to celebrate? Did John and Harper throw a huge party for you?”

At this, Abby swallows, “Um, no actually. John moved to New York in March and um, Harper and I split up in February.”

“Oh fuck, I’m sorry. I just assumed...I’m sorry.” Riley curses herself for not questioning Harper’s absence from the bar sooner. Abby just shrugs it off, “It’s nothing really. I’m good with how things ended. I think she’s dating someone new, but I knew I wanted out of Pennsylvania. My advisor had an old university friend who was hiring at the ICA and got me an interview. When they extended the offer the same day, I accepted and immediately started packing.”

Riley smiles, “So we’re finally in the same city...you know, I’m off until Thursday. If you don’t have anything to do tomorrow, what do you say we close our tabs and go get dinner? An actual sit-down and catch-up dinner? I know a place we could go not far from here.”

At this, Abby hesitates, “I..are you sure? It’s not that I don’t want to, but are you sure hanging out with your ex’s ex isn’t going to be weird?”

“Not at all,” Riley reassures her, “We’re both adults Abby. Harper was a blip in my life over a decade ago. But, I do understand if I remind you of her and that...Christmas.”

“You were the only good to come of that Christmas,” Abby admits, “Okay yeah. Let’s go get dinner.”

Chapter Text

"You know, I’m offended that you never once tried to make out with me,” Riley declares from her perch on the kitchen counter, “Not once!"

Abby pauses from her task of collecting beer bottles from around their two-bedroom apartment, “Excuse me?”

The brunette gestures wildly, albeit a bit intoxicated, with her hands, “We’ve been living together as roommates for seven months. Tonight was our first jointly-hosted party and I’m pretty sure you tried to make out with every woman who you thought might be into it.” 

“I did no such thing!” Abby exclaims, “I spent the night with you attached at my side!” 

Riley shrugs, “My point stands. It’s very rude, is all I’m pointing out.”

“And what point would that be? That you’re delusional? Or drunk? How much have you had to drink anyways?”

“Enough to know that I should call out such rude behavior.”

The blonde shakes her head. She can’t deny she finds the drunken, yet still somehow cocky, doctor rather attractive. In fact, it was something they had discussed prior to agreeing to share a two-bedroom apartment in New York City when they both somehow relocated there for their respective jobs. Yet they had both agreed the friendship should come first. Apparently drunken-Riley has decided that term of the agreement no longer applies.

“Ri,” she begins patiently as she moves to place a few bottles near the sink, “You know as well as I do that I did not make out with a single woman here tonight.”

“You could though!” Riley smirks and reaches for the blonde. Judging by the way she nearly topples off the counter, she’s feeling more of the alcohol than she lets on. 

Abby chuckles but moves closer to her under the guise of safety; she can’t have the young doctor injure herself after all. She decides it’s much easier to entertain the other woman than object to her drunken thoughts. After all, how many times has the thought of doing exactly what Riley is requesting crossed her mind? 

Standing in front of Riley, whose hands immediately reach for her, she shakes her head and throws the ball back in the other woman’s court, “I could say the same about you, couldn’t I? You haven’t tried to kiss me once, despite bringing dates home and sneaking them to your room and out in the morning before you think I’m awake.” 

At that, the brunette immediately looks ashamed but it soon turns to an all-out pout, “I didn’t know you knew about them! Well, I can’t do anything about that now, but the other...I thought you didn't want me to kiss you! And judging by tonight, you don't!”

God I hope she can treat whiplash, Abby thinks to herself, because Christ this conversation is bouncing all over the place. 

“Riley, no where did I say I did not want to kiss you.”

“So you want to?!” Riley grins, this time pulling the shorter woman to stand in between her open legs. 

“My god you are an actual child when drunk. Adorable, but still a child,” Abby laughs, but makes no attempt to move and instead rests her hands against the other woman’s sides. To help her stay balanced on the counter, of course.

The doctor’s face lights up, “You think I’m adorable?”

"I think you're drunk," Abby sighs and pulls on the other woman, “Come on, get off the counter and let’s get you to the couch. You’re not going to be any help cleaning up tonight.” 

“Just leave it until the morning and I’ll help you,” Riley replies, seemingly calmer now that her feet are firmly planted on the ground and her arms are firmly wrapped around the blonde, “I can think of much better things we could be doing.”

“Jesus Riley. Are you always this horny when you’re drunk?” 

Riley’s smile grows bigger, “Nope, but usually you’re not around when I am.” 

Whether she means drunk or horny, Abby isn’t about to question and she sighs, “Ri, we agreed before we moved in that we wouldn't cross the lines of friendship. You wanted that agreement.” 

“So I was wrong,” Riley shrugs, “It’s rare, but it has been known to happen occasionally.”

Abby says nothing as she calculates the pros and cons and risks in her head. She waits too long to reply and feels the doctor tense up, 

“You’re not into this,” Riley states as she takes a step back seeming much sober than she was just a few minutes prior “Fuck. I’ve misread all of this, haven't I?”

Immediately Abby misses the feel of the other woman against her and instinctively moves towards her, “Riley, stop. You haven’t misread anything.” 

“Oh.”

Riley doesn’t seem convinced and after several long minutes Abby takes pity on her and reaches to pull her close again, “So, are you actually going to kiss me or have we been having this conversation for the last twenty minutes for nothing?”

“Oh, I uh,” Riley fumbles, “I mean..”

Abby bites her lip, “Riley? Fucking kiss me already.”

Chapter Text

Dinner turns out to be this tiny hole in the wall Italian diner that Abby refuses to step foot into until Riley assures her she won’t get food poisoning but, in the off chance she does, Riley herself will nurse her back to health. A bit dramatic but hey, the diner may look sketchy from the outside but Riley swears they have the best tiramisu in the entire Northeast. 

They’ve traded their whisky sours for a bottle of wine and fell into a comfortable conversation. It’s not until the bill is laid on the edge of the table that they take stock of the time. 

“Oh my god, it’s nearly midnight!” Abby exclaims, “I'm sorry. I didn’t mean to keep you out this late!”

“It’s fine, I’m off tomorrow and really have nothing planned. I think they want to close though,” Riley hesitates, there’s so much more she wants to say but knows it’s not time yet. Instead she reaches for the bill and slides her credit card towards the waiter, ignoring Abby’s protests, “You can get dinner the next time.”

“Bold of you to assume there will be a next time.” 

Riley frowns as she signs the receipt before standing to move towards the door, “I didn’t mean..I just assumed since we’re in the same city maybe we could explore toget--” She sees the smirk on the blonde’s face and rolls her eyes, “Not cool.”

Abby grins, “Perhaps not cool, but definitely fun.”

“For you,” the doctor retorts. The night air is a little crisp as they walk along the street in silence. Soon Riley realizes they’re walking with no real destination in mind, “Where is your hotel?”

“Um, about 15 minutes back that way, I think.” 

“Seriously?” Riley laughs, pivoting to face the shorter woman. She’s misjudged the distance though, and Abby plows into her. Her hands fall to the other woman’s side to ensure her balance, and Abby’s hand immediately covers her own. She bites her bottom lip, “My apartment is the same direction…”

Abby’s eyes trace over the other woman’s face, looking for any indication Riley would be open to sharing the night. There’s nothing though, aside from the charged air around them. She takes a step away from the doctor and chuckles, “We should probably head back that way.” 

Riley nods and they walk in near silence, only breaking in occasionally with a comment here and there or a quick apology when they bump into each other. Finally, the brunette stops outside of a building, “So this is me..”

The blonde tries not to look disappointed, “I’m staying just a few blocks further. Um. Tonight was..nice. Thank you for dinner.”

“Abby?” Riley’s biting her lip again and Abby resists the urge to lean towards her. 

“Yeah?”

‘Would uh, you like to come up for a...drink? Even a glass or two of water would be good after those two bottles of wine.”

Abby hesitates. She’s into the doctor, that much is painfully clear. But after her last relationship full of secrets and half-truths, she wants clarity before agreeing to literally anything Riley suggests. “Um. Just to be clear, is this you asking me to come up as a friend to sober up or…”

“Or,” Riley begins hesitantly, “I’m asking you to come up for a drink because I don’t want tonight to end. If..if I’ve misread your interest I’m sorry, I won’t ask again and I hope I haven’t screwed up our friendship. But if I haven’t misread things...maybe we could start with a drink and you could stay the night. I mean it’s after midnight and the streets of Boston really aren’t safe for someone to walk back to a hotel. I’d hate for you to be murdered after hanging out with me. Imagine the police scrutiny I’d fall under.” 

Chuckling, Abby shakes her head, “You’ll do anything to avoid police scrutiny, right?”

Riley has turned serious and doesn’t banter back, “Abby. Have I misread things?”

“No, god no, I’ve...I am so into you.” Abby moves to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear, but Riley beats her to it. Then her cheek is pressed against the older woman’s warm hand and Abby smiles, “Let’s go upstairs? I think I can miss out on the perks of a hotel room for one night.”

Leading the way, the brunette tries not to let her nerves show. She’s brought women back to her place before without a single hesitation. Now though, she’s trying to remember if she put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher before leaving, and if her clothes are still scattered across her bathroom floor. She opens the door to her apartment and motions for Abby to walk in, “Fair warning, work has been busy lately so my place is a mess. I’m actually not even certain I have wine glasses clean.”

“I guess it’s a good thing I’m not really interested in drinking more wine tonight,” Abby replies, taking a step towards her the moment the door closes behind them. Quickly she pushes Riley back against the solid wood and leans up, her lips mere inches from the other woman’s.

Riley’s hands fall to her shoulders, fully prepared to take the lead and move things along. It’s only when she leans down to close the gap between them that Abby pulls back out of reach. Her brow furrows with confusion, “What are you interested in tonight then?”

“A tour of your apartment,” Abby replies, stepping fully back and smirking at the look of absolute confusion on the other woman’s face, “Starting with the bedroom. Then maybe the kitchen in the morning, assuming you can cook breakfast.” 

“I can cook!” 

Abby smirks, “Good. The hotel offers room service AND a breakfast bar. Would hate to give that perk up.”

The doctor looks mildly offended and begins pulling the blonde towards her bedroom, “Yeah well, if you’ll allow me to show you my bed, I’m certain I can offer a few things the hotel can’t.” 

Chapter Text

The moment the door shuts behind her, Abby leans back against it and closes her eyes. Winter in Boston is somehow much worse than she expected, even if she has the comfort of her girlfriend to keep her warm at night and wouldn’t trade it for anything. Today though, she’s cold and exhausted but exams have been graded and final grades have been posted and now Christmas break has officially begun for her. If only the nagging headache behind her eyes would go away. Between that and a cough that has formed in the last few hours, she’s only mildly concerned the flu going around her department has reached her.

She sheds her shoes and coat and makes her way to the bedroom to change into warmer and more comfortable clothes. Riley isn’t expected for another eight hours, and that’s assuming no babies decide to make an early appearance for the holidays. But over the three years they’ve been together, this is the first they’ve actually spent under the same roof, in the same city, and Riley is determined it’s going to be the best Christmas ever. After all, Riley’s schedule has left them no time to go back to Pennsylvania which means they’ll have to miss Tipper’s magical white elephant event and they’re both heartbroken about that, really.

Abby knows it’s by no small amount of bribing that Riley has arranged to have Christmas Eve and Christmas morning off. The doctor was so determined to be able to wake up on Christmas Day with Abby that the blonde is sure there may have been some slightly illegal blackmail happening to make that possible. But, as she learned early in their relationship, sometimes it was best to not question Riley’s ways. For now though, there’s no pressing matter for her to attend to for work or the holidays and she decides a nap is in order.  

When she wakes up many hours later, Riley is sitting on the edge of the bed next to her, her hand rubbing her back gently. “Hey babe, you’re home early aren’t you?” she says softly, not wanting to break the serenity of the room. 

“I am,” Riley confirms, “You were sleeping when I got home so I went ahead and finished up my Christmas wrapping and I may have made cookies.” 

“Best girlfriend ever.”

“I know I am,” Riley teases and leans down for a kiss. Abby immediately deepens it and the doctor’s hand moves up to brush blonde strands away from her face. She pulls back with a frown, “Abs, you feel really warm. Do you feel okay?”

“I have a headache and feel kinda crummy, but I’m sure it’s nothing. I’ll drink some orange juice later or something and be fine.”

Riley does not look convinced. “Let me grab the thermometer. In the event you are sick, let’s get ahead of it so you’re not totally sick for Christmas, okay?”

Abby rolls her eyes but knows she won’t win this argument. She watches the other woman leave the room and return with the thermometer, “I’m telling you, this is entirely un---mph!” Her words are cut off when the offending object is stuck under her tongue. She glares at the brunette but complies with the not-so-subtle demand, preferring instead to enjoy watching her girlfriend in take-charge mode, until the device beeps and Riley pulls it away. 

“You have a slight fever,” she notes, “but not high enough to be worried. Why don’t you hang out here and rest and I’ll throw something together for dinner. Maybe some chicken noodle soup. Do you want something for your headache?”

“Um,” Abby blinks, caught completely off guard as she’s pulled out of her musings, “I know you just asked me something but I have no clue what it was.”

“Do you want something for your headache?” Riley repeats, “If so I’ll bring you something before I start cooking.”

Abby bites her lip and tries to pull the taller woman down to her level, “Or, you could lose a few layers of clothes and keep me company.”

“Abs, you need to take something now if you feel bad,” Riley tries, “and you need to rest. I have plans for you on Christmas morning and I need you to be healthy for them.”

Flopping back down dramatically, the blonde sighs, “Fiiiiine. But right now I’m okay. I can handle this headache and I don’t need to be confined to bed unless you’re willing to be confined with me.” A quick glance at the brunette’s face assures her Riley isn’t going to be swayed on that and she backtracks, “Which I can see you aren’t willing to do, so how’s this. Let’s have dinner, watch a movie or two and if I feel worse in the morning I’ll go to the clinic.”

A single, perfectly sculpted eyebrow raises, “And why, pray tell, would you go to the clinic?”

“I don’t know,” Abby replies, her headache getting worse the more they talk and she closes her eyes, “If I have a fever that generally means a cold or something right? They can give me that nice little antibiotic pack and send me on my way or something. I don’t know, I’m not a doctor. Well, I am, but not a medical doctor.” 

“No,” Riley deadpans, “You are not a medical doctor but might I remind you that your fabulous girlfriend, however, is a fully qualified, board-certified medical doctor?” 

Cracking one eye open, Abby can’t really tell if Riley’s truly offended. Truthfully, while she’s so proud of her girlfriend, so many people around them, family and friends included, views Riley as a doctor. Abby prefers to focus on Riley herself. And right now, her girlfriend is staring at her awaiting a reply. 

“I know you are, babe. I know you’ll take care of me. I just…”

“Just what?” Riley probes, “Do you not trust me? I mean I know I joke about murder a lot but antibiotics really wouldn’t accomplish anything on that front.” 

“You’re my girlfriend,” Abby replies softly, “You’re this incredible woman and doctor that happens to be my girlfriend and so when I’m sick, like now, I want my girlfriend to take care of me. Not my doctor.” 

It soothes Riley’s concern and she smiles, “Okay fine. No playing Doctor Riley tonight. Just girlfriend Riley.” 

“Does that mean you’ll play Doctor Riley another night?” is out before Abby can even think twice about it and her hand flies up to cover her mouth immediately.

“Well,” Riley muses, obviously amused, “ That is certainly new and to be explored another time. But, if you stay in bed and rest like I tell you to, I might even be convinced to bring home my white coat, if you want.” 

“Stop laughing at me!” 

“Oh I’m not laughing. But I am going to go start dinner. Stay here and relax. Watch mindless TV and text me if you need anything.”

Abby nods, but her pout is clear.

“Oh and Abs?” Riley waits until Abby looks up at her, “You’re not the only one that has a thing for doctors.”

She ducks out of the door before the blonde can reply and sets about making chicken noodle soup. Realizing Abby never specifically agreed to chicken noodle, she walks to the bedroom to ask, but Abby is asleep and she can’t bring herself to wake her. Instead, she also makes potato soup and opens a can of vegetable soup just in case. Grilled cheese sandwiches complete the meal and she sets about plating everything and sliding it onto a tray. 

Making her way back to the bedroom balancing a food tray with three bowls of soup and a few sandwiches turns out to be a balancing feat, but Abby’s awake now and judging by the look on her face, Riley is sure she’s being judged for something by the time she sets the tray down.

“Um, did you invite company?”

Riley’s confusion shows, “Into our bedroom?”

“To dinner,” Abby clarifies, “We already had the bedroom discussion remember?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Riley rolls her eyes and takes a seat on the edge of the bed, “Anyways, I didn’t know what kind of soup you wanted so I made three. You don’t have to eat all three, obviously, but please eat something.” 

Abby watches her carefully, picks up on the insecurity that is peaking through the doctor’s demeanor before smiling softly, “You’ve never taken care of a sick girlfriend before, have you?”

“Um no. I usually just send a care package and give them space until they’re better.”

“So us living together is cramping your usual style of avoidance,” Abby jokes but can tell it falls flat when the brunette begins picking at a loose thread on the blanket, “Ri, you’re doing fine. Maybe a bit...overkill on the soup, but we’ll eat on it for a few days.”

Riley doesn’t look up, “Don’t get me wrong, I cared about some of them but you’re the first person that I want to take care of. Even if it’s just a little cold. I love you, Abs. I’ve never once regretted asking you to move in. I can’t imagine not living with you. But I feel a little out of my depth here.”

Abby reaches out for the other woman’s hand and places a quick kiss on her palm, “I love you too, but my head really hurts too much for emotional conversations tonight. So, help me eat this food, and then we’re going to cuddle and watch Netflix until we fall asleep. That’s what I need right now.”

A few hours later, after Riley has packed away the numerous containers of soup for the night, she’s leaning back against the stack of pillows with Abby curled into her side. The other woman is drowsily running her fingers across the sliver of skin exposed on her abs and Riley can’t help but lean down to kiss the top of the blonde head resting on her shoulder. Abby shifts impossibly closer and mumbles something unintelligible. 

Riley knows she’ll wake up a hundred times throughout the night to check on her girlfriend. She’ll get up early in the morning and run to the grocery store for orange juice, zinc, and possibly medicine for the other woman. But she also knows the small box hidden in her work bag means Abby being healthy for Christmas morning is a must. 

Chapter Text

As she pulls up to the hospital entrance, Abby isn’t sure what to expect on the other side of the sliding doors. The call she received from Kate, one of Riley’s colleagues was nothing short of, “There’s been an accident and please come get your girl before she drives us all to drink on the clock.” Based on the lack of urgency in her voice the blonde can only assume it’s nothing major.

Parking her car in the nearby visitors spot she grabs her phone and heads towards the sliding glass doors, texting Katie for directions as she goes.

“Oh Abby, thank God you’re here!” the other woman is waiting for her next to the ER desk.

Abby blinks, “Um. What happened? Where’s Riley?”

Kate gives her a sympathetic look and Abby isn’t sure how to take it as they walk towards one of the rooms. “Long story short, she has a concussion. We couldn’t let her check herself out or let her leave alone. Hence the call.”

They walk into the room, and Abby can’t help but notice Riley looks small laying on the bed underneath the sheet. She’s still wearing scrubs, although her shirt has dried blood on it to match the bandage on her head.

“So my girlfriend managed to give herself a concussion and what appears to be stitches while working at the hospital.” Abby states, “I really hope there is a good explanation for this?”

Riley looks embarrassed. “I’m sorry Abs. They shouldn’t have called you. Kate just wanted to use this as a chance to embarrass me.”

Abby takes a seat on the edge of the bed, amusement slowly taking over now that she knows the doctor isn’t seriously injured, “I very much doubt that’s the case. You have a concussion. You know you can’t drive. Speaking of which, how exactly does a doctor get a concussion at work?”

At this, Kate begins to laugh, earning a deadly glare from the brunette. “Yeah Dr. Bennett, why didn't you share with Abby how this happened? 

“It was an accident,” Riley replies, crossing her arms stubbornly. 

Kate rolls her eyes, “Fine. I’ll tell he--”

“Don’t you dare!” Riley protests, “You can’t tell her details! HIPPA and all that!”

“Oh please,” Katie chuckles, “She’s listed as your next of kin, power of attorney and all that, dumbass.”  

“I am?” Abby questions aloud before realizing that should be discussed at home, “Anyways, will someone please explain to me how this happened?

Kate grins, “This one here decided to challenge Rick to a race at lunch. What she failed to realize, however, was the floor had just been mopped. You know that bright yellow wet floor sign they put out when the floor is wet? Yeah she tripped over it, slipped on the wet tile, and hit her head against the foot of a wheelchair someone left in the hallway. Hence both the stitches and the concussion.”

“Oookay,” the blonde replies, trying not to chuckle at the image her brain supplies, “So, Kate, what do I need to do to take her home?”

“Um I’m right here,” Riley interjects with nothing short of an unhappy look plastered on her face, “I am fully capable of--”

“You know hospital policy. You literally work here and spend half your time explaining it to unreasonable patients. For the love of God please do not become one of those unreasonable patients.” Turning towards Abby her tone lightens, “I’ll get the discharge paper. She’s on mandated leave for at least five days, and you’ll need to wake her up every hour tonight. Are you familiar with concussions?”

Abby nods, “Oddly yes. John has had a few after drunken shenanigans gone wrong. I ask her questions, make sure she answers correctly and repeat every hour. Bring her back if she gets confused or becomes a pain in the ass.” 

Kate laughs, “She’s your pain to deal with now. But yeah, you have my number if anything comes up. I’m on until 11 tonight but call me if you need to.”

From the bed, Riley sighs loudly, “If the two of you would stop talking about me like I’m not here, can I please get out of this bed?”

“Nope,” Kate replies, “I’m going to get the paperwork and you are going to stay in the bed until I’m back with a chair. Then you can leave.”

As she walks out she can hear the objections to the thought of being wheeled out in a wheelchair and shakes her head. Doctors always make the worst patients and she hopes Abby knows what she’s in for.

** 

It’s an hour, and many arguments later, when they finally get home. It’s rare they disagree about anything, but when Riley decides she’s going to do paperwork and Abby puts her foot down with a hard no, things get a bit tense. 

“I’m concussed, not dying!” Riley says angrily flopping back like a petulant two year old. She immediately regrets it as the wave of nausea hits and moves to stretch out along the couch. She squeezes her eyes shut which does nothing to help her headache and Abby gives her a sympathetic look.

“Babe, please, just take it easy okay? I’m worried about you enough without you ignoring literally every doctor’s order there is.”

Riley glares at her, “I'm a doctor. I’m following my own orders.”

Abby stares at her, “That’s literally not how this works. And for tonight? You’re following my orders.” 

One of the doctor’s eyebrows goes up, “Bold of you. Any other night I’d consider taking you up on that just to see what you could come up with.”

“Why are you being so difficult?!” Abby throws her hands up, “You have a concussion, genius. You had to have seven stitches to stitch your hard head up! Do you have any idea how scared I was when Katie called me?!” 

“She shouldn't have called,” Riley replies, “There was no need to bother you.” 

“I’m your girlfriend , Riley! It is literally my job to be there for you when you need me. And judging by what Kate said, you know I’m right! So will you please just chill the fuck out, do as you're told for once in your life, and fucking follow the usual concussion protocol. ” 

She storms out of the room and towards their bedroom, acutely aware that blowing up on her concussed girlfriend definitely was not on the list of instructions. Now though, with Riley safely home, she allows herself to process the panic she pushed down earlier. Many years of therapy after her parent’s deaths left her in a good place but, after Kate’s call, the fear that something serious had happened to Riley had left her nearly frozen. And yes, she knows Riley hates having to depend on people and that she should have handled it better once they got home or, at the least, taken Kate’s subtle warnings to heart. 

The door opens and she hears the soft footsteps of her girlfriend before the other side of the bed dips. Riley’s hand begins rubbing her back and she fights the urge to smile.

“I’m sorry,” the brunette begins, “I don’t like being taken care of. I’m not used to it really.”

Abby rolls over and gives her a small smile, “I know. I think I underestimated your stubbornness though.”

Riley returns her smile with a sheepish one of her own, “Honestly, Kate embarrassed me and I was in a foul mood. I shouldn’t have made things difficult on you though. I’m sorry.”

“Why were you embarrassed? I’ve known about your not-so-secret antics with Rick for months now.” 

“Not that, besides, none of my stunts with Rick could possibly be more embarrassing than the whipped cream and balloon incident,” Riley admits, “It was common sense for Kate, or any of my coworkers really, to call you. I didn’t expect her to mention that I’ve listed you as...everything. We haven’t discussed that level of...commitment.” 

Abby delays replying by motioning for the brunette to lay down next to her. Once in place, she wraps her arm around her girlfriend’s waist. “I was terrified,” she quietly admits, “I could tell by Kate’s voice it wasn’t anything too terrible, but it was like..my parents all over again in a way. I’ve had calls from the ER to pick John, or even an ex here or there, up. Never once have I been so worried. Ri, it’s been three years. I think we’re past the whole ‘are we serious about this?’ thing. Besides, you’ve been listed as my partner and emergency contact on everything since I moved here.”

“Okay, so what if I actually stop being a brat tonight?” Riley says softly, “I’ll lay on the couch and follow all the orders on two conditions. The first being you have to make that pasta dish for dinner tonight.”

“And the second?” 

Riley grins, “You have to kiss me.” 


Chapter Text

“What do you think about Amy ?”

Pulling her attention from her phone, Abby looks up at her girlfriend and frowns, “No way. Do you want our kid to hate us?”

Riley smiles and looks down to where her hand is resting on the blonde’s stomach then leans down to kiss her forehead, “She’s not going to hate us until she’s at least a teenager.”

“True, and then it’ll only be you she hates,” Abby teases, “After all, you’re totally going to be the strict mom who forces her to cheer for the Red Sox.” 

The doctor opens her mouth to object but hesitates, “You...aren’t wrong.” 

“Oh I know. We have time to decide on a name but have you given any more thought to if we want to ask anyone to be her godparents?”

Riley sighs, “Yes and no. You know I’m not big on the whole church thing, but I do like the idea of her having two dedicated people outside of us. Could we name godparents but not go through the whole church thing?”

“We could do that,” Abby agrees, “I don’t really want her to feel like she’s been forced into a religion anyways. If she wants to go when she’s older, I’ll support that. Do you have any idea on who?”

“Would it be weird of me to say..John?”

Chuckling, Abby shakes her head, not surprised in the slightest. When they had told him she was pregnant, the man actually cried. Not even a week later the packages began arriving with onesies and baby toys and haven’t stopped yet. Secretly she’s concerned they’re going to have to move into a bigger place so they’ll have room for the baby’s things alone. 

John and Riley had bonded early in their relationship though, and while Abby knows he’s still a close friend, she’s very aware her wife has taken over as the man’s best friend. She’s fine with it; she’s actually become really close friends with Jane so it all equals out in the end.  

“Not at all. He was the first person I thought of too,” Abby admits, “He’s our best friend and he’s already playing the role of the doting uncle well.

“Plus I can totally start calling him the Godfather now!” Riley grins, “He’s gonna hate it!”

Abby rolls her eyes, “I married a child.  

Riley leans down to steal a kiss, “But you love me!”

“For some reason I do,” the blonde shakes her head, “I’m stuck on who we could choose for her godmother. I have a few thoughts but...I’m not sure how you’ll feel about them.”

“We are not naming Tipper Caldwell our child’s godmother. Or Harper, for that matter.”

“Oh come on! Can you imagine Tipper’s reaction if we asked her?” Her wife’s expression leaves her backtracking quickly, “Or not. Actually, um, what would you think about Jane?

“Jane Caldwell ???” Riley nearly shrieks all traces of calmness gone, “You seriously want someone from that family, the family that made my high school years hell and treated you like shit, to be our kid’s godmother?”

Abby sits up slowly and turns to face her wife, “Honey, listen to me. Jane is different from the rest of the family. She’s one of our best friends! When you got stranded in Pittsburg last year, who picked you up on her way back here?”

“Jane, but she had to drive home anyways!”

“Yes, but when I ended up in the hospital and you were in surgery, who made sure I wasn’t alone, and made sure you knew what was going on?” she presses gently, knowing Riley still blames herself for not being there during their first trimester pregnancy scare.

Riley sighs, “I know you’re right, but I’m not ready to admit it just yet. Jane is a good friend but I need a little time to adjust to the fact a Caldwell is going to be our daughter’s godmother.” 

“You know you can think about it. She’s not coming for another few months so we have time. If you're not comfortable with Jane, we have time to decide on someone else.”

“No,” Riley concedes, “Jane and John are the two I’d choose. We should invite them to dinner and ask them, right?”

And that’s what leads the four of them to a small Italian diner a few weeks later. John isn’t impressed by the drink menu and let’s his displeasure be known until Abby shoots him a look.

“Johnathon Michael! I’m starving and I can’t even drink. Unless you want to drink water, shut up and pick a wine so we can move on to ordering appetizers.” 

Riley chuckles, “That’s her pregnant lady is hangry tone. I’d do what she says.” 

He places his order quickly but once the rest of the table places their order his grin turns deadly and he faces Riley, “Sooooo, you’re doing what she says now?”

“John!” Jane scolds, “Leave them be!

The brunette just shrugs, “She’s having my baby so yeah, I’m doing what she asks. Mostly.” 

“Oh the baby!” Jane all but squeals, “Have you decided on a name yet?!”

Abby laughs, “Not quite. We have a few ideas but we may wait until after she's born to tell everyone.” 

“That’s just mean!” The look on Jane’s face is so sad even Riley feels bad for wanting to keep some aspects of their pregnancy a secret. 

“Actually,” she starts looking over at the blonde for approval. After a quick nod, she continues, “The reason we invited you both to dinner--”

“Is because we’re fabulous, we know,” John interrupts. “You don’t have to tell me every time you see me!”

Jane and Abby laugh while Riley just rolls her eyes, “ Actually, Abby and I wanted to ask you both something. We’ve decided that we want the two of you to be her godparents, of sorts. Abby  and I aren’t overly religious and obviously she won’t be raised Catholic. But we do want this for her.” 

Silence falls amongst the table. John looks like he’s about to cry, his hands covering his mouth as his eyes look back and forth between the two women. Jane, however, is full on crying as she flies out of her chair and moves to throw her arms around both women. 

“Oh my gosh! Are you serious?! Yes! I want to be her godmother! I can spoil her and answer all her questions about boys if she’s into them!”

Riley notes they should probably find that last night a bit insulting, but it’s Jane so she lets it slide. With one arm around the taller woman, she looks over at John, who has been rendered silent for probably the first time in his life and, if she’s honest, he’s starting to worry her. “John? Do you have thoughts on this?”

The silent man scoffs but his eyes are glassy with emotion, “Oh please, if she needs advice on boys, we all know I am the one she’ll come to. In fact the same can be said for fashion tips, learning how to stalk people, and her 21st birthday which, by the way, I will be planning of course!” 

 

Chapter Text

Watching the blur of activity in front of her, Abby sighed for what seemed like the hundredth time as she took in the frazzled state of her wife. Her wife who was currently staging balloons around the living room with the precision and attention to detail only a surgeon could have. And while she can’t deny the fact she’s quite enjoying the display of biceps the other woman’s sleeveless shirt provides as she moves the furniture around for the seventh (or eighth?) time, the fact of the matter is Riley has entered a state of obsession.

Over a child’s birthday party.

On Riley’s next lap around the room, she reaches out and grabs her wife’s hand, pulling her down on the couch next to her. Before the brunette can object, she shakes her head. “Babe, you know I love you and I know you want this party to be perfect. But Lexi is a year old. I really don’t think she cares if a balloon is out of place. She’s going to be happier to see your parents than she is being handed a box to unwrap.” 

“That’s not true!" Riley objects, “She’ll have pictures and video to look back on when she’s older. Everything needs to be perfect! Otherwise she’ll hate us for throwing her the lamest first birthday party ever.”

Abby blinks, idly wondering if her wife has been watching too much reality television again. “RIley. Have you ever once looked at photos from your first birthday?”

“No…”

“Okay, have you ever watched--did they even have camcorders back then?”

Riley scoffs, “You’re only a year younger than me, love.”

“Oh, right. Anyways. My point here is, Lexi will not hold it against us if a balloon goes flat,” she sees the absolute look of horror flash across her wife’s face and backtracks, “Not that it will! The balloons are fine and will be fine. But let’s be real here. Lexi has inherited your destructive tendencies and will likely have more fun watching John pop them than she will watching them float around.” 

Sighing, Riley flops back into the couch cushion. “I’m over-reacting aren’t I?”

“Maybe just a bit okay yeah a lot?” 

“She’s our baby,” the doctor honest to god pouts, “I just want everything to be perfect.”

Abby smiles and curls into her side. “I know babe. But she’s one. This level of planning is for the fifth or sixth birthday. Besides, she’s asleep annnnnd once you’ve finished obsessing over every little detail, we’re both home together with really nothing to do except wait until people show up.”

“True. It is nice just to relax and cuddle.”

“It is,” Abby concedes, “Or we could do other things. Adult things. Things that will work you up and then relax you.”

The look of confusion on Riley’s face is so comical that, if Abby wasn’t currently trying to initiate getting the doctor out of the form fitting tank she’s wearing, she’d laugh. Instead she slides her hand under the thin shirt and scrapes her nails across the other woman’s hip bone. It jars Riley out of her confusion and her hand flies to cover that of her wife.

“Oh my god Abs! It’s our daughter’s birthday and we have company showing up in less than two hours. And you want to fool around?!”

“Okay,” Abby begins slowly, “First of all, I’m well aware it’s our daughter’s birthday. I’m the one that carried her for nine months and gave birth to her, remember? Secondly, no, I do not want to fool around. I want to have sex with my wife who really needs to work off some stress. And based on prior performances, we don’t need two hours.” 

Riley frowns, “Are you calling me easy?”

The blonde resists the urge to scream. Or to hit her wife with a pillow. Or both. Both sound equally appealing at the moment but she knows neither would get her closer to her goal. Slowly, she pulls away from Riley and stands, her hands coming to the bottom of her own shirt. 

“You are literally making this anything but easy,” she retorts as she pulls her shirt over her head and throws it at her wife, somehow resisting the urge to laugh when it hits Riley directly in the face. “I’m going upstairs. You can follow me, or you can stay down here with your balloons and stress out for the next hour while I do other things in the name of relieving stress.” 

With that, she turns and makes her way up the stairs, a sly smirk forming when she hears the doctor move from the couch. It’s dramatic. It’s just a little mean. Usually those are both areas her wife excels in but, after three years together, of course bits of the other woman has rubbed off on her. As she stretches out across their bed and waits, she hears Riley pause outside of Lexi’s bedroom before entering their own. Her shirt is in the other woman’s hand before Riley tosses it aside.

“We have company coming in less than two hours, I have cleaned this place from top to bottom, and you think you can leave your shirt laying around the living room?!”

“If you had let me have my way, I would have left more than that.”

Riley shakes her head in faux-annoyance, but she’s smiling as she moves towards the bed and reaches for the other woman’s belt. “You realize John always shows up early. So we have maybe half an hour, an hour tops?”

“You do realize you’ve wasted thirty minutes already and in that amount of time I could have already had my way with you, right?”

“When you put it that way,” Riley mutters, fumbling now to pull on the blonde’s jeans carelessly. 

“Ri, I love you, but for the love of God, please stop talking,” Abby grinds out as her hands move to rid the other woman of her shirt, “And I swear if your daughter wakes up….”

“It will be because her mother couldn’t stay quie--oh fuck!” 

Abby pulls her mouth back from the taller woman’s neck. “Yeah, I’m trying to, remember?” 

After that Riley gets on board pretty quickly (not that Abby thought she wouldn’t). They may traumatize John, who quickly grabs Lexi from her room and relocates her to the safety of the front porch, and Jane may question why there’s a bruise on Riley’s neck, but Riley is relaxed and carefree during the party and Abby reasons it was probably worth the story John will undoubtedly tell Lexi when she’s older. 

Chapter Text

Abby’s finger hovers over the “like” button on Instagram. She’s always been quick to like anything Riley has posted, but this time a frown is plastered on her face in place of her usual smile at seeing the doctor. It’s not like she’s not happy to see Riley’s smiling face. She adores it, really. She even recognizes a few of the women and men in the photo as her coworkers. 

But what she doesn’t recognize is the woman casually hanging off of the doctor. What she doesn’t care for is the way the other woman’s hand rests a little too casual on the other woman’s hip. And what she really does not care for is the red mark on the brunette’s neck; a mark she’s convinced only got there one way and probably by the unknown woman. 

She closes the app without liking the picture and looks at the time. Riley had posted the picture late in the night so it was obvious she had been busy til late. Considering the other woman usually texts her first thing, the sinking feeling in her stomach makes her think the doctor’s still entertaining an overnight guest. Quickly, she realizes she really does not like the unnamed woman who may or may not have, but more than likely did, spend the night with Riley. 

Tossing her phone towards the coffee table, she moves towards the kitchen with the intention of doing a quick clean then maybe taking a nap. It’s not until her phone chimes two hours later that she realizes she may have gone full-on reorganize and scrub everything in sight mode. Of course, it’s Riley texting.

For a split second, she considers ignoring it. But she’s never turned down an opportunity to talk to the other woman and isn’t going to start now. She looks at her phone and instantly regrets the decision.

Can we talk? Facetime?

Abby hesitates. The last thing she really wants to do is hear the brunette talk about her night or, possibly worse, tell her she’s met someone. She knows she’s being borderline ridiculous; they’ve talked about their mutual attraction for each other but agreed it wasn’t ideal to start anything while they’re in different cities and Abby’s future is so uncertain. But, after initially admitting they found each other intriguing and mutual interest was there, their conversations and flirting never ended and she’s certain for as much as they talk, there was no way Riley could be talking or dating anyone else. Her phone chimes again and she sighs. 

Please?

She sighs as she mentally reminds herself she’s a close friend to Riley and should be there for her when necessary. 

Sure. 

Her phone rings immediately and Riley’s face appears on the screen. She looks exhausted, more so than usual, her hair screams bedhead, and her hoodie is pulled up high on her neck. Abby recognizes the look as someone who didn’t spend the night alone.

“That was quick.” She jests, “You didn’t even give me time to get to the couch.” 

“Sorry.” Riley’s voice is huskier than usual and Abby refuses to allow herself to think of explanations for that. “I had a really late night and, God this is so awkward. I don’t know how to explain what I want to say. I don’t want to screw up our friendship but there are things I need to say.”

Abby chooses to put them both out of their misery quickly. “You’ve met someone.” 

“No! Well yes, but no?” Riley feels like she’s floundering. “I went out with friends from work last night and met this woman.”

“Yeah, I saw the picture.” Abby tries not to let her disappointment show.

Riley watches her carefully and takes a deep breath. “I need to say something, to explain, but I need you to let me say it before I lose my nerve okay?”

Abby nods and bites her lip. “Okay.”

“I..I haven’t been with anyone since we started talking. Sure I’ve gone on dates and made out here and there, but Abby, I haven’t wanted to sleep with anyone else. Last night I met someone and we came back here after the bar closed.”

At the admission, Abby can’t help but look away as her face falls. Riley immediately notices.

“Abs, I couldn’t do it. I brought her back here and she ended up sleeping it off in my guest room. The moment she sat down on my couch I knew I had made a mistake.”

“Your neck doesn’t seem to think so.” It’s out before Abby can think twice and she closes her eyes when she sees Riley physically recoil. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that.”

Riley doesn’t look into the camera. “That was from the drunken make-out session in the bathroom. I didn’t realize...I was so caught up in my head I didn’t realize she was leaving a mark. Abby, all I could think about was how wrong it felt. I want you and I know we’ve tried to ignore our attraction to each other, but fuck, Abs. Why are we doing this to ourselves?”

Abby is silent for several minutes. “We agreed we shouldn’t explore this until I graduate.”

“But why?” Riley challenges. “Unless you have strong opposition against long-distance relationships, why aren’t we trying? You have to know by now how into you I am, and not to stroke my own ego, but I’m pretty sure you’re into me too.” 

“Riley, we agreed…”

“Listen, I can’t keep making out with other women and trying to convince myself they’re you!” 

Abby’s mouth falls open at the bluntness but Riley doesn’t seem to notice.

“It’s killing me, Abs. It kills me to pretend I don’t want you and to not be able to show you how much I care about you. Every time I have more than two days off in a row, I want to come see you. I want to take you out on dates. When I manage to get a holiday off, I want to spend it together. So no, Abby. I didn’t agree to this. I didn’t agree to wanting you so much that I can’t even think of being with anyone else.”

“Oh,” is all Abby can manage to say as she processes the words. Riley watches her carefully, trying to figure out what she’s thinking, but as time passes she looks away.

“I’m sorry for putting you in this position.” She begins quietly, “It’s too much for me though and I needed you to know. I understand that you don’t want to be with me; I respect it. But Abs, I don’t think I can keep on with our flirting and how things are now if it means nothing to you."

“No!” Abby finds her voice, “No Riley, it does mean something!”

“Does it?”

Abby stares at her. “Of course it does. Ri, I couldn’t even like your post with her because of how it made me feel. I was sure you took her home last night and that was why you didn’t text this morning.”

“Abs no, I mean yes, she was here this morning but nothing happened last night. This morning she left early- I explained to her I wasn’t available - and I went back to bed to sleep off my hangover. Then I had to explain to my mother why a random woman at a bar had obviously left a mark on my neck and that I, in fact, had not cheated on you.”

“Wait, what? Your mother--”

“My mother called and was very unhappy with me. She knows how I feel about you and thought I had wronged you somehow.” Riley shrugs, “She knows what you mean to me, Abs.”

Abby shakes her head. “She doesn’t even know me. Why would she think you wronged me? Which you didn’t. What you do isn’t my--.”

“You literally just admitted to being jealous, and now you say what I do doesn’t impact you. Seems reasonable,” Riley teases gently. “Do you not realize you’re usually the first person I talk to in the morning and last person I text at night? There are some days you’re the only person I talk to outside of work. I hate when I don’t get to talk to you.” 

It’s obvious Abby is processing things when she doesn’t reply. Minutes drag on and Riley begins to get nervous. “I’ve thrown a lot at you today. It’s okay if you need time.”

There’s another few long moments of silence and Riley is sure she’s royally fucked everything up when the blonde finally speaks.

“When is the next time you have more than two days off in a row?”

Riley’s thrown by the change of conversation but quickly flips to her calendar to check. “I have four days off at the end of this month. Why?”

“I want to see you.”

“Do you want to see me to turn me down in person or do you have something else in mind? I mean, I’d like to know what I’m getting myself into here.” Riley knows her sarcasm is coming out as a form of protection but also knows Abby recognizes her defence mechanisms by now.

Sure enough, Abby rolls her eyes and smiles. “Yes Ri, I want you to travel 250 miles to come see me just to tell you I don’t want you. Because that makes perfect sense.”  

“So you’re saying, I have a chance?”

Abby chuckles. “I’m saying you should tell your mother we’ve talked and you’re not in trouble. You should also probably prepare to tell the next woman that tries to make out with you that you’re taken.”

There’s a bit of cockiness laced through her words and Riley can’t deny she finds it very attractive. Now, the weight of the conversation has lifted considerably from her shoulders and she gives her trademark smirk. “Am I though? Taken?”

“Do you want to be?”

God, yes, she thinks giddily, but instead shrugs and plays it cool. “I mean, I could probably be tempted.”

“Seriously, Riley? Do you really think it’s a good idea to antagonize me after you just spent the better part of thirty minutes trying to convince me to date you?”

“Actually,” Riley shrugs, “It sounds like an excellent idea. You should really know what you’re signing up for.”

“Riley…”

“Yes?”

Abby tries to give her a stern look, but it comes out as more of an amused smile. “No more making out with women who aren’t me, mmkay?”

“Does this mean I can make out with you when I come visit in a few weeks?” She sees the not-amused look the blonde gives her and shifts the topic. “I mean, of course, no more making out with women who aren’t my girlfriend. Who do you think I am?”

“My girlfriend, obviously.” 

Riley beams. “Yeah. Only took us about two years, but yeah, I finally am.”

Chapter Text

If the muffled “Fuck!” wasn’t enough to send Abby running from the bedroom towards the kitchen, the loud crash and distinct sound of glass shattering that followed certainly would have been. 

“Babe?” she asks cautiously. “ Everything okay?”

A quick glance around the kitchen quickly lets her know that no, in fact, nothing is okay. Half-packed boxes are everywhere, stacks of dishes that should be in the boxes are instead sitting in various piles on the counters and table. The glass that’s shattered across the floor further proves her point and damnit, she really liked that vase too. 

“Remind me again…” Riley pauses for dramatic effect. “Why the fuck we didn’t hire someone to move you to Baltimore?”

Abby chuckles and moves towards the closet to grab the broom. “Because between the two of us and John we thought we could manage it.”

“Right. Speaking of John, shouldn’t he be helping?” Riley questions with an arched eyebrow. 

“Not unless we want more things broken,” Abby mutters and the arched eyebrow goes impossibly higher.

“What was that dear?”

“Um. You’re right, he should be here. Why don’t you call him and I’ll finish packing the kitchen up.” The before something else gets broken goes unspoken. 

Riley moves towards the living room to find her phone as the blonde cleans up the shattered vase and begins to move around the kitchen trying to organize the mess in some semblance of order before packing things away in boxes. She’s closing the lid on the second box when her girlfriend reappears. 

“Okay John is going to be here within the hou--Abby! What are you doing?!”

Startled, Abby freezes. “Uh. Packing up the kitchen?”

“I had everything organized!” Riley throws her hands up. “Now how do we know what is where?”

Abby blinks. “Babe,” she starts slowly, “I’m not doubting your organizational skills, but what exactly was the logic of those piles?”

Riley crosses her arms and looks positively offended. “All of the piles weighed roughly the same so none of the boxes would be too heavy for us to carry. I’m going to bet the box you’re taping up is twice as heavy because they’re all pots, pans and cast iron skillets. Try to lift it.”

Abby does as requested and finds she can barely lift the box in question. “Oh.” 

“Yeah,” Riley replies dryly. “ Oh. ” 

“I should probably go back to boxing up my clothes,” Abby replies but the doctor is already shaking her head.

“Nope. You can finish up the kitchen since your way is apparently superior to mine. I’ll tackle your clothes. When John gets here he can work on the bookcase.” She sees Abby is about to protest and rolls her eyes as she heads towards the bedroom. “Abs, he can’t break books. It’ll be fine.”

“Bold of you to assume he’s actually going to pack anything,” Abby mutters as she turns back to the box and begins taking things out. “Figures there was a method to her madness.”

“I heard that!” Riley calls from the other room and Abby rolls her eyes. 

It’s a little over an hour later when John comes stumbling through the door with a bottle of wine in one hand and a bag from the local sushi place in the other.

“ABBY!” he screeches in typical John fashion. 

The blonde in question pokes her head through the kitchen entryway and greets him as she moves to stack the box against the living room wall. “Ah, you finally decided to grace us with your presence?”

“Um, of course,” He responds. “Your better half requested I bring her sushi, therefore here I am!” 

“Of course she wants sushi. Was the wine her idea as well?” The accompanying eye roll and smile tempers her words. “Babe! John is here!”

“John!” Riley’s sole focus is on the brown bag in the man’s hand but something behind Abby catches her attention and a frown forms. “Hon, those boxes look like they’re about to fall over any minute now.” 

While the sushi may have been Riley’s request, the wine and plastic cups are most definitely John’s. Soon Abby finds herself taking a healthy gulp from the red solo cup as her girlfriend and best friend debate the best way to stack boxes. 

Or rather, Riley is moving boxes around while John sits on the couch, an actual wine glass in hand, giving her directions and judging her every move. While Abby, who enjoys watching her girlfriend’s toned biceps flex with each lift, may not mind it, after they move the same box for the third time, Riley’s patience is waning. 

“I see now why you didn’t have him here to start with.”

Abby chuckles. “You’re the one that invited him.”

“Yes,” Riley huffs, “to help us. You’re leaving Pittsburgh soon...wanna help me hide a body?”

“Not a chance. But since he’s the reason you’re here, you’re the one that gets to move all the boxes.” With that, she flops down next to the slightly tipsy man on the couch and reaches for the wine bottle to refill her cup.

“Make that two bodies,” Riley mutters as she reaches for another box. 

Abby smirks and her voice is full of amusement. “What was that babe?”

“Oh nothing. I was just wondering how many boxes I would need to carry a body out of here unnoticed.” 

“Um, I don’t know, probably about as many as it would take for me to donate your blazer collection to Goodwill.” 

Riley gasps. “You wouldn’t !”

“Actually no.” John reassures her, “She wouldn't because she has described in great detail how much she enjoys taking them off of you. Which, by the way, my therapy bill is in the mail because I really did not need to know any of those details.”  

“John!” 

“Abby! What did you tell him?!”

Wisely, the blonde chooses to sink down into the couch and attempt to hide her face behind her cup. “I told him you were the love of my life and I cannot be blamed for finding you hot as fuck in those blazers.”

Riley glares at her. “You threatened to throw them out!”

Abby rolls her eyes. “I would never actually follow through. Have you not realized that by moving in together we double our blazer collection?”

Dark eyes cloud over in thought and Abby knows she’s forgiven for her earlier threat. Riley taps her fingertip against her lip a few times before smirking. “Does that mean I get to wear your black blazer with the satin trim?”

“Depends,” Abby replies, meeting Riley’s smirk with one of her own. “Is that the only thing you’re wearing?”

“Um guys. First of all, ew. Second of all, can we refrain from the eye-fucking while I’m sitting right here.” 

John looks scandalized and both women chuckle. While Abby may blush, Riley just shrugs. “I mean, you can leave.”

“But the boxes--” he begins only to have Abby push him off the couch and towards the door.

“Will get packed without you. We need to take a break before we pack up the closet I think. Let the food settle and all.”

He’s barely out the door before the blonde has it shut and locked. She turns to the brunette who’s staring at her.

“Uh Abs, I really don’t think --”

“Riley, I love you but if you want to wear that blazer, you won’t finish that statement and you’ll meet me in the bedroom as soon as you find which box it’s in.”