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Unsteady (Hold On To Me)

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They met on Colonial Day, and the day after that when Laura waited outside Bill’s office just like he’d waited many times outside her classroom. They resumed their practically nightly phone calls, too, which made the separation of the week easier to handle, having to wait for Saturday to spend more physical time together. The plan being to meet up early while the kids were practicing their respective sports, and then spend the evening together, the four of them. 

Since Lee had figured out Laura was back, there was no use for her to stay away. And even though Bill told her both boys were excited to see her again, she still harboured a sense of fear that they’d resent her. More than that, taking it slow and avoiding putting pressure on their new relationship was flying out the window. This was going to work out, it had to.

So Laura made her way back to Bill’s place for the first time in the last month, holding a bag with different kinds of food and clothes for the night. She wasn’t above buying children’s love with cupcakes. Bill opened the door and kissed her silly when she arrived, and being with him was soothing enough to forget about the other worries, for a moment. 

“Do you greet every one of your guests like this?” she asked when he released her, gasping for breath and licking her slightly swollen lips

“Only the special ones,” Bill replied with a grin, taking her bag so she could kick off her shoes.

“How many people are in that category?” Laura asked. 

“Just you. Admission in that circle is tough.”

“What do you have to do?” Laura followed him into the kitchen where he dropped the bag. Then she wrapped her arms around his neck, and gave him another kiss that only served to magnify her need for him. 

“I have to be desperately in love with you. Doesn’t happen every day,” Bill said with all the seriousness of a real rule, which made Laura’s smile brighten.

“I brought some treats for the children and for you,” Laura said, parting from him before she couldn’t, and the look he gave her made it clear that she was the only treat he wanted. She fished around in the bag and got out the plate of cupcakes she’d baked, some chocolates, cocoa powder, because she couldn’t be sure that Bill had any, and a can of whipped cream. “Last week, in the coffee shop, you had that drink in front of you, and you didn’t get to have it. I thought I might be able to recreate it.”

Bill’s expression went from curious to slightly amused. “I didn’t know you could make cappuccino.”

“I looked it up. It shouldn’t be that hard. And if I mess it up, we’ll have to find you another drink,” Laura replied with a wink. He had no idea what she was talking about, but was enjoying the ride anyway. The simple fact of having her move around his kitchen like it was hers was enough to keep his spirits flying high and nod to anything she said. One day, it could be her own, too, and this would be their everyday.

Laura started on the drinks, taking the milk out of the fridge and Bill sat down on a chair at the table after asking if he could help and being directed to this exact spot. He was content with just watching her, especially since she wore a short dress that hugged her body in all the right places and he freely got to admire her form. 

“How was work this week?” she asked, derailing his thoughts.

“Finally got the Secretary of Education to agree with me. She’s almost as stubborn as you.”

“You wouldn’t have been better off with me then,” Laura said, pouring the coffee she’d just made into two cups. “That never would’ve happened anyway. Did you see that they’re opening an investigation and Richard is barred from running for president? I have to say, that feels good.”

Bill nodded, but never quite knew what to say about the man. He had nothing nice to say, that was for sure. More than once, he’d wished to go back and throw his fist at Adar’s face and hear a thing or two break. He’d fought the urge to do so in the Mayor’s office, but now, after learning the extent of what he’d done to Laura, he’d have liked to go back and not be reasonable. Probably a good thing he couldn’t turn back time.

Laura worked on the drinks for a few more minutes before she turned to him and set both mugs on the table with a frown. “I suppose this is more of a mocha than a cappuccino,” she announced. “I messed up somewhere.”

“It smells delicious, thank you,” Bill said, the heavy aromas of coffee and chocolate filling his nose, making him actually want to switch to mochas now. “Leaving that drink last week never mattered to me, because I got you back.”

“You’re still a sweet talker, aren’t you?” Laura smiled at him, bending down to kiss his lips. “Is that why you put so much sugar in your drinks?” she took a sip of her drink, and before he could reply, she straightened up again, striding to the fridge. “I forgot a copious amount of cream. It wouldn’t be your drink otherwise.”

The glint of mischief in her eyes was impossible to miss, and Bill’s heart beat a little faster in anticipation, wondering what she had in mind.

“Tell me stop,” she said, squeezing whipped cream on top of his mug. He watched it, and quickly told her to stop, but she kept going. He narrowed his eyes. She’d never had any intention of listening to him. When she decided she was done, she pulled the can away and set it on the table, eyes moving up to Bill’s with a cheeky grin. The mug was so full that the drink reached over the edge, held together by some sort of magic, which would surely be broken by any movement on the cup or the table. There was no way he’d be able to do anything without spilling.

"That's too much," Bill said in his most severe, military leader tone, just to see what she’d do. She regarded him with disguised surprise and curiosity.

“Let me help you,” Laura breathed softly, bringing her chair closer to his. She dipped her index finger into the cream and held it to his mouth. He complied to the unspoken order, and she watched his lips close around her finger with slightly darkened eyes. She took her finger back, leaving him with the rich and sweet taste of the cream. 

She repeated the motion, but this time, spread the cream over his lips and licked it with her tongue, making Bill’s heart almost jump out of his chest. He was suddenly very grateful she hadn’t stopped when he’d asked her to. Laura’s tongue invited itself into his mouth next, chasing after the lingering taste, but retreated when he tried to caress it with his own.

Laura sat back in her own chair and slowly brought her mug to her lips, making Bill growl in frustration of having her pull away. She was playing with him.

So he played, too. 

One finger dipped into the cream - not as elegantly as her, spilling some liquid on one side, but he couldn’t care less - and brought to Laura’s lips, which opened and eagerly sucked it into her mouth, tongue coming out to run along the sides of it.

Frak, that reminded him of Laura taking another part of him in her hot, wet mouth and overwhelming his senses with sensations he hadn't thought possible. His pants suddenly became tight and he gave a low groan.

Laura shot him an innocent look, emphasised by the slight widening of her eyes and a slow, coy smile. She was good. Bill shot her a smile of his own, his heart close to bursting with how deliciously playful she could be, how she'd chosen him to share those moments with. Just in case the Gods existed, he might have to thank them for bringing this beautiful woman to him. 

They kept feeding each other cream and ravishing each other’s mouth, growing more intense and heated every time. At some point, Bill carried Laura from her chair to his lap, managing the incredible feat of not breaking the kiss while doing that. She reached for the hem of his shirt and pulled it up and away, and he did the same with her dress, kissing and biting at the lovely skin of her chest. 

“There’s an hour until the kids come back, right?” Laura gasped, throwing her head back as encouragement and a way to give him more space to work with. He hummed in agreement but it ended up being something incoherent as his brain couldn’t focus on speech. It could have focused on speech, but that would have meant stopping what he was doing and taking his mouth off Laura’s skin, which wasn’t an option. 

She took that option for him in the end when she stood up and held out her hand. Standing in his kitchen with nothing but her panties, he considered the idea of laying Laura down on the table and just taking her there, but the possibility of the kids walking in on them was a sobering one, so he took her hand and followed her to the bedroom.

Once again, he didn’t finish his drink, but once again, it was more than worth it.

The good thing about Lee and Zak being dropped back home by another parent was that Laura and Bill could stay in each other’s arms for as long as possible. As it were, though, they enjoyed this privilege a little too much and forgot to check the clock. 

They were kissing languidly, hands softly stroking over skin, far from the heady impatience of earlier when the front door opened and closed.

“Dad, we’re back,” Lee called, and Bill sat up in bed, running a hand over his face.

“Bill,” Laura suddenly said with a giggle that made him fall just a little bit deeper in love with her. He turned his questioning gaze to her, but his eyes didn’t settle on her face, moving down her body, the same one he’d spent the last hour worshipping with his own. She didn’t say anything, waiting for him to come up to the right conclusion. 

“Your dress is in the kitchen,” he caught on, and the way her teeth caught her bottom lip made him want to start the clock again and give them another hour.

“I wouldn’t mind if this wasn’t the first sight they had of me,” she gestured at her naked skin, and he could only agree. “And since you’re the one who took it off me, it’s only fair that you’d go and get it back.”

Bill dropped a kiss on her lips, and she ran a hand through his hair that stuck in many directions after the amount of pulling she’d done as he drove relentlessly into her.

This was his bedroom, so he had more clothes to wear, and Laura’s rapt eyes watched his body as he got dressed. She preferred when he took his clothes off, but this wasn’t bad either. When he left, she got up, stretched with a contented smile and tied half her hair up.

“I told the boys you stained your dress and needed to have it washed, and that’s why it wasn’t on you,” Bill explained when he came back. 

Laura laughed as she took the garment and slipped it back on. “I’m not sure they’ll believe that. Your washing machine is in the bathroom.”

“Hopefully, they won’t have your logic.”

“Are you hoping that your children are dumb, Bill?” Laura asked, but she couldn't get through the sentence without laughing again, and Bill with her.

Bill took her hand and kissed it before leading them out of their bubble and into the living room. The nervousness that Laura still felt over reuniting with Lee and Zak dissipated when they beamed at her and launched themselves into her arms. Her vision became blurry with tears, and Bill’s hand stayed on her shoulder as she listened to everything that the boys had to catch her up on. 

“I missed you too,” she whispered to them as they sat in a triangle on the floor. “What do you want to do tonight?” she eventually asked, once their stories had died down enough for her to get a word in.

“We should make a blanket fort so we could all be under it and watch Pirates of Picon 2,” Lee declared, which was really less of a suggestion and more of an order.

“I haven’t seen the first one,” Bill said, and Laura remembered this was the movie she’d watched with the boys on Lee’s birthday months ago. She wondered if Lee had suggested that particular sequel on purpose. It was fitting, after all. Two beginnings of a relationship, but so incredibly different.

“I’ll fill you in,” Laura promised. “It’s a good story. I think you’re gonna like it.”

“Yes, dad, you need the beginning, because then there’s Pirates of Picon 3 and 4 too,” Lee said.

“We’re watching one and heading to bed,” Bill said with a small smile and a shake of his head. 

“How about we make team pizza and team blanket fort?” Laura suggested. “That way, it takes less time. I don’t know about you, but I’m starving.” The look Bill gave her made her ears burn. They both knew why. 

The kids enthusiastically agreed, and Lee talked about structure and number of blankets with Bill while Laura took Zak to the kitchen and had him swear he wouldn’t eat all the toppings before they reached the pizza. He reluctantly promised, but tried to do it anyway.

“Will I be in your class next year?” Zak asked, as he threw pieces of ham onto the tomato sauce base.

“I don’t know yet. I have to meet with the other teachers and decide, and it will depend on the number of students we have overall,” Laura answered. “Would you like that?”

Zak nodded, taking the opportunity to stuff some ham into his mouth. 

Laura smiled, the thought of it warming her heart. “You’d have to obey class rules,” she pointed out.

“I always obey class rules!” Zak vividly defended, a little too much to be believable.

“That’s not what Maya tells me,” Laura countered. He wasn’t that bad - a chatterbox, according to Maya - but if she was going to walk the line of teacher and father’s girlfriend that he sees in PJs, they would need ground rules.

Zak pouted and crossed his arms. “She’s lying?” he tried, but Laura shook her head. “I’ll try,” he compromised.

“I’ll let you know closer to the start of school, but I’m due to have fourth grade anyway,” Laura said, and Zak beamed in response.

When the pizza was in the oven, Zak joined Team Blanket Fort and Laura watched the three of them, her heart tightening. It was still scary, and she knew that the fear of losing them would never go away, but the joy of being around them now outweighed that ten to one. She sighed and leaned against the wall, watching the man she loved and the children who had wriggled their way into her heart build them a shelter for movie night. They argued about where should this chair go , and if you put on another blanket it’s gonna fall over , and it felt good. It felt right. 

Bill eventually looked up at her, giving her the most tender smile as his thoughts mirrored her own. They were going to be okay.

Later, as the movie played and their empty dinner plates were discarded on the side, they huddled together, their world narrowed down to this little fort that held their family. Laura leaned back against the pillows, resting her head on Bill’s shoulder and he turned his head to kiss her forehead. He wasn’t paying much attention to the movie either, possessed by an overwhelming wave of safety, of love and family.

As Zak became tired and lay his head on Laura’s lap, her hand came up to slowly stroke his hair. The absent-minded gesture brought tears to her eyes, and she let them run free.