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A Life Worth Living

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They stumble into Jo’s room, because it’s nearer to the stairs and it gives them less distance to travel, less time to wait. They barely make it past the door before their lips collide again, but the kiss is slower and deeper this time, like Jo wants to savour the moment and let it build instead of flooring the accelerator and driving her over the edge - which is probably a good thing because Kate’s not sure how long she can last after her epiphany on the sofa. Jo’s hands seem to be everywhere all at once, buried in Kate’s hair, caressing her cheeks, trailing lightly over the length of her arms and then slipping under her T-shirt, blunt fingernails running softly down her spine. Kate breaks out in goosebumps and shivers in response to her touch, but even though her nipples are painfully stiff - relishing the friction caused by every slight movement of her T-shirt - she’s not cold. It feels like she’s on the verge of spontaneous combustion.

Jo’s hands finally settle on Kate’s ass and when their hips sandwich together and a thigh works its way between Kate’s already shaky legs, pressing into her with the precision of a heat-seeking missile, Kate knows she’s going to have to take evasive action if she wants to stand any chance of going the distance. She rests her hands on Jo’s hips, walking her backwards a couple of feet until she’s pressed against the wall, and then her lips trace a path from Jo’s earlobe to her throat, sucking lightly on her pulse point. Jo’s hands move towards her chest but Kate catches them before they get there, gently clasping Jo’s wrists above her head so she can continue her exploration uninterrupted, but then she feels Jo stiffen beneath her and realises the soft whimpers of approval have abruptly stopped. She immediately pulls back, just as Jo’s in the process of saying, quietly,

“Not against the wall, OK?”

And then Kate remembers.

He shoved me against the wall, put a hand over my mouth, took the opportunity to cop a feel while he had the chance…” and she instantly feels like the biggest asshole on the planet. The guilt must be written all over her face because Jo starts to look panicked, like someone who’s desperately trying to cling to a moment that’s about to evaporate.

“No, please don’t stop,” Jo begs her, and she’s reaching for her again, cupping her face in her hands, drawing her into another blistering kiss. When she pulls back, Kate can see the fear in her eyes, like she’s worried that something’s shifted between them, like she’s worried that Kate doesn’t want her anymore, so Kate forces her mind away from the dark path it was just about to go down and pulls her close and, this time, her kisses are gentle, tender, in direct contrast to whatever horror Jo was just revisiting.

It’s Jo who turns up the heat again, and she doesn’t have to speak for Kate to understand what she’s saying when she pulls back from their breathless kiss, sucks salaciously on Kate’s bottom lip and then moves to take off her T-shirt. I want this.     

Kate reaches out, gently covering Jo’s hands with her own.

“Can I?” she asks, and her stomach clenches when Jo blushes and nods, dropping her hands and letting her take charge. Kate’s heart feels like it’s going to beat out of her chest when she inches the fabric over Jo’s slim waist and Jo sucks in a ragged breath when Kate’s fingertips graze delicately over her ribcage. Kate purposefully lets the hem of the T-shirt drag over Jo’s rigid nipples before she pulls it over her head, and then Jo’s just wearing a sports bra and even though it’s not the first time she’s seen her like this, now it feels like she can let her eyes linger for longer and she doesn’t have to make any effort to hide the hunger in her gaze or control her compulsion to touch. She slips her fingers under the band of Jo’s sports bra and lifts it cleanly over her head and then she just stands there and stares while Jo turns pink under the heat of her gaze, looking shy and self-conscious like she did after their first hug outside of Frederico’s.

“God, you’re gorgeous,” Kate blurts out, and even though it’s possibly the cheesiest thing to ever come out of her mouth, she’s never meant anything more in her life, because Jo’s porcelain skin is flawless and dotted with beauty spots and freckles, and her boobs are small, but perfectly rounded. Her nipples are the same shade as her cheeks and clearly begging for attention, and Kate suddenly knows exactly where her mouth wants to be.

She takes Jo’s hand and leads her towards the bed, collapsing in the middle of the mattress and pulling Jo down with her. She moves to climb on top of her, but then she hesitates, glancing at Jo to check for permission first, but Jo’s eyes are dark with anticipation and desire and her hands grasp at Kate’s hips, urging her closer. Their legs tangle and Kate finally lets Jo take some of her weight and then Jo’s whimpering into her ear and undulating underneath her and she can actually feel all of her blood rushing south.

She sucks and kisses a path down Jo’s neck, taking her time, building the anticipation. Jo’s breathing gets progressively shallower as Kate moves towards her intended target and it only takes a couple of flicks of her tongue for Jo’s hands to fist in her hair. When she starts to lightly suck on one nipple while circling the other with her thumb, Jo jerks against her and swears under her breath and Kate feels a thrill of exhilaration because Jo seems to be getting off on this as much as she is. Her hands rove over bare, impossibly soft skin, trying not to leave any inch untouched, but when her palm flattens against Jo’s stomach there’s another sharp intake of breath and it’s clear she likes that, too. She strokes back and forth over the soft skin, lower and lower, until Jo’s squirming underneath her. Then she reaches for Jo’s belt buckle but, suddenly, Jo’s grasping her wrist, stopping her. There’s a paralysing moment when she thinks she’s done something wrong again, but then Jo says in a voice that sounds a lot huskier than usual,

“You’re not going any further until you’ve taken your clothes off.”

Kate’s never gotten undressed so fast in her life. She pulls her T-shirt and bra off in one fell swoop and then pulls down her knickers at the same time as her sweatpants, and if she wasn’t in such a hurry to return to what they were just doing, she’d probably be embarrassed by how soaked they are. Instead, she just kicks them haphazardly off the bed and onto the floor. Jo’s actually laughing, until Kate turns back around to face her, and then the laughter suddenly dies on her lips. Kate watches Jo’s eyes widen slightly as she drinks in every inch of her physique, hears the way her breathing quickens, and she’s forgotten what it feels like, to be wanted like this. 

“Mark’s an idiot for not appreciating you, you know?” Jo says softly, and Kate feels a sudden jolt in her chest.

“Me or my boobs?” she asks with a wry smile, because that’s where Jo’s attention seems to be fixated at the moment.


“Let’s not talk about Mark right now,” Kate says pointedly, reaching for Jo’s belt and, this time, Jo doesn’t offer any objections when she moves to unbuckle it, somehow managing not to fumble even though her fingers are shaking. Jo lifts her hips so she can finish removing it and Kate can’t help but smile when she sees the gaping waistband on Jo’s jeans, remembering their earlier conversation.

“See, they do have their benefits. Instant access,” she jokes, and then she slips her hand below the waistband, without having to undo the button or the zip first. She brings her palm to rest right at the base of Jo’s stomach, over the fabric of her underwear, and Jo seems to be struggling to form an appropriate response.

“You’re not funny,” she eventually informs her, but the affection in her smile says otherwise.

Kate holds her gaze while she sets about removing the final obstacle between them, tugging down Jo’s jeans and her underwear, making sure Jo’s smile doesn’t falter in the process, but then she can’t resist letting her eyes trail downwards, to the trim thatch of hair between Jo’s thighs, both of which are glistening with the evidence of her arousal. She swallows, then, trailing her fingers lazily over Jo’s leg, gradually inching higher.

“If they feel like sandpaper, just remember, you’re the one who took the bloody razors off me,” Jo informs her drolly, but Kate’s hand pauses against her thigh, because she’s not ready to joke about that. She’s not sure she ever will be.

“It would’ve killed me, you know? Losing you like that,” she tells her softly, because now they’re lying here completely naked, halfway to losing themselves in each other, she feels like she’s finally in a position to be franker than she was when they first got here, “Even before all of this.”

Jo looks startled for a moment - uncomfortable - but when she reaches out to stroke Kate’s cheek, her touch is achingly tender.

“Well, right now, I’ve never been happier to be alive,” Jo informs her, and even though her tone has a jokey inflection and her smile is warm, there’s something in her eyes that makes it look like she’s almost on the verge of tears.

She pulls Kate back on top of her and now, finally, they’re skin on skin. Kate thinks she might be experiencing a come-to-Jesus moment - or at least, a come-to-Jo one - because all of a sudden Jo’s tongue is in her mouth and her hands are on her ass and their hips are grinding together, erratically at first, but it doesn’t take long for them to work together in perfect syncopation. And she can feel Jo now, slick and wet against her thigh, and it makes her throb. Jo’s gasping into her mouth and Kate thinks if their nipples bump together one more time, that small jolt of friction is going to send her spiralling. She transfers her weight a little, just enough for her to be able to squeeze an arm between them, just enough for her to get a better angle, but then Jo uses it to her advantage and flips her over and suddenly Kate’s on her back and Jo’s straddling her waist, chest heaving and boobs looking even more glorious because now her whole chest has a rosy glow. She’s the most beautiful person Kate’s ever laid eyes on and her appreciation must be written all over her face, because Jo suddenly looks uneasy, like she doesn’t deserve it.

“Jesus Christ, Jo, are you trying to kill me?” Kate protests, except it isn’t really a protest, because she could happily spend the rest of her life suspended in this moment. She reaches out to palm Jo’s boobs, play with her nipples, and she has to bite back a groan when she feels the answering rush of wetness against her stomach, but then Jo grasps her wrists.

“Let me touch you first,” she implores. It sounds like less of a command and more of a plea and there’s something in Jo’s expression, something desperate and longing, that makes Kate willingly relent. Not that she needs much persuasion. At least if Jo goes first, she can pick up some pointers along the way.

“You can do whatever you want to me,” Kate tells her softly, and she means it. She smooths the hair away from Jo’s face and Jo’s eyelids flutter shut as she leans into the touch, but then she opens them again, and all Kate can think is “oh, fuck” because Jo suddenly looks like a woman on a mission.

Jo’s lips reunite with hers, and it’s slow and seductive - more intimate, somehow - and she quickly realises that the weight of Jo on top of her, enveloping every inch of her, is every bit as exhilarating as the feeling of Jo writhing underneath her.

And then Jo’s hand is finally, mercifully, tracing a feather-light path up her inner thigh. Kate knows she’s not just wet, she’s drenched, but she doesn’t get the chance to feel self-conscious about it because when deft fingers finally work their way towards where she needs them most, Jo groans appreciatively against her mouth and gasps the word “fuck” under her breath in a tone that’s raspy and strangled and somehow, impossibly, it manages to turn Kate on even more.

Jo’s touch is light at first, teasing, but Kate’s head still jolts back against the pillow and her hips jerk into Jo’s hand, instinctively demanding more. Jo’s watching her reactions intently as she slowly applies more pressure, and the scrutiny should feel uncomfortable, but Kate drinks in the sight of Jo’s flushed cheeks and glazed eyes, the way she keeps moistening and biting her bottom lip, and she doesn’t want to close her eyes or look away because it’s the hottest thing she’s ever seen.

“Jo, please,” she begs, even though she’s never begged for anything in her life, and Jo slides one finger inside of her - two - and it somehow fills her in a way that Mark never could. The pressure inside her head builds in conjunction with the pressure between her thighs, and now she can’t stop her eyelids from fluttering shut, until stars start dancing in the darkness. A fresh wave of heat washes over her, spreading all the way to her toes, which are rapidly losing their grip on the bottom of the bed because she’s twitching and jerking and clutching convulsively at Jo, whose skin is slick with sweat.

Then Jo’s swirling her tongue over her nipple in tandem with the thrusts and curls of her fingers and her thumb is sliding its way over her clit with devastating accuracy, and Kate’s not just moaning anymore, she’s making noises she didn’t think she was capable of, needy and desperate and primal. She forces her eyes open to find Jo looking up at her through hooded eyelids as her slender wrist flexes between her thighs, and the rapturous expression on Jo’s face suggests that she’s enjoying this every bit as much as Kate is. Their eyes lock and then there’s a flicker of something on Jo’s face, something tender and vulnerable that looks a lot like love.

“I’ve wanted to do this for so long,” she confesses, and then she leans forward to kiss Kate and it’s sweet and soft and Kate promptly shatters. She hangs onto Jo for dear life, riding out the most intense orgasm she’s ever experienced and Jo’s fingers stay inside her as she shakes and convulses.

She just lies there in a boneless heap for a moment, trying to get her breath back and willing her cheeks to feel slightly less like they’re on fire, but she manages to thread her hands through Jo’s hair when she leans in to kiss her again. Then, slowly, Jo withdraws her fingers, and Kate’s already picturing all of the ways she’s going to make her scream, until Jo has the audacity to start lightly circling her clit again, which is still twitching spasmodically from her last orgasm.

“Enjoying yourself?” Jo asks, directly into her ear, and her Scottish lilt is low and suggestive and just a little bit smug and Kate tries to think of an adequate comeback, but then Jo’s tongue circles her ear and all she can do is hiss “yes,” and then “fuck.” She makes a valiant attempt to claw back control, but it takes a matter of seconds before she’s being launched back into oblivion again and, this time, without Jo’s weight to anchor her, she practically levitates off the bed. She always considered herself lucky if she managed to achieve one orgasm with Mark – and it was usually of her own making – but Jo’s making the contents of her bedroom drawer look severely overrated.

It takes a moment for her to remember how to speak, but then she regards Jo affectionately. “If you carry on like this, you’re going to wear me out before I get a chance to return the favour,” she warns her, but she doesn’t mean it, because she fully intends to spend the rest of the night ravishing every inch of Jo Davidson.

Jo didn’t think it was possible to find Kate any more attractive, until she was naked and writhing in response to her touch, until Kate’s lips were parted and her cheeks were pink and her pupils were dilated with pleasure. The sound of Kate chanting her name while an expression of pure, unbridled ecstasy washed over her face may have been the highlight of her life to date and Jo was fully intending to bury her face between Kate’s legs and go for the hattrick until Kate growled at her and flipped her over.

Now Kate’s back on top, regarding Jo with a dangerous glint in her eye, and it’s simultaneously the most aroused and unnerved she’s ever felt during sex.  

Jo’s used to being in control, to manoeuvring women to exactly where she wants them, to clinging to the short-lived sense of power that it gives her. If she makes her boundaries explicit, no one can overstep them and if she gives clear instructions, she never has to tell her partners what she doesn’t like, so they never have to see her freeze or flinch. Even then, it’s difficult for her to shut everything else out, to let herself go, and she usually only manages it with the women she occasionally picks up in bars - strangers who she’s never going to see again, women who know absolutely nothing about her - not even her name - and are just looking for a good time, no strings attached. It’s always been a hollow kind of pleasure, like scratching an itch that never really goes away, and it never managed to chase away the pervasive loneliness that drove her to go looking for companionship in the first place.  

Jo knows she made Farida feel inadequate sometimes, made her wonder why the things that worked on everybody else didn’t seem to work on her. Farida would disappear between her legs until her jaw seized up, finger her and fuck her until she had to pull away and flex her hand to try and restore some feeling. Sex would usually culminate in Farida sighing with frustration and asking Jo what the problem was - if there was someone else; if she wasn’t doing it for her anymore. She never seemed to reach the logical conclusion – that Jo herself was the problem. Eventually, it was easier to let their relationship become all give and no take, so Farida was always the one fisting her hands in the bedsheets and screaming into a pillow, even though Jo wanted to be touched, yearned for someone to make her feel alive and connected and loved and safe. And now, for the first time in her life, she finally does, but she’s terrified that her body or her brain are somehow going to betray her and she’s going to make Kate feel like she’s doing something wrong, even though it feels so, so right - better than it’s ever felt before. And that’s terrifying in itself, because the way Kate’s looking at her, the way Kate’s touching her, it’s like she’s healing the wounds, fixing the damage, trying to make her feel whole again.

“Jo, is everything OK?” Kate asks her softly, because she always seems to know when it isn’t. The hand that was on her hip moves to stroke soothing patterns across her stomach and Kate regards her searchingly.

“I’m sorry… for the way I reacted before,” Jo tells her quietly. “I don’t want you to think… I mean, I know you would never hurt me.”

“Don’t be sorry. If I do anything that you don’t like – anything that makes you feel even the slightest bit uncomfortable – you need to tell me, OK?”

The kindness that comes so easily to Kate still feels completely unfamiliar to Jo and it makes her chest ache.

Kate hesitates for a minute, and Jo can see she’s wrestling with something that looks a lot like disappointment before she adds, “We’re going to be here for a while, Jo. There’s no rush. And if you’re not ready – ”

Jo impulsively reaches for Kate’s hand, and Kate groans when she unceremoniously spreads her legs, pressing Kate’s fingers into her wetness.

“I’m ready,” she murmurs, because regardless of how this ends up playing out, she can’t bear the thought of Kate stopping, not now. “So how about you finish what you started?”

She knows Kate likes a challenge and, thankfully, it has the desired effect. Kate’s eyes darken and then she’s leaning in to kiss her and Jo notices how Kate supports some of her own body weight, so it doesn’t feel like she’s being pinned down. The hand between her thighs starts to move, slowly and delicately at first, but then with a little more determination, and Jo whimpers into Kate’s mouth.  

“Feel free to give me some guidance,” Kate encourages her, and then her lips start working their magic a little lower down and Jo knows the feeling of Kate Fleming worshipping her tits will never, ever lose its novelty.

“Based on your performance to date, I don’t think you’re going to need…ahhh…” And she’s right, because Kate’s fingers are slowly working her into a frenzy, like she’s done this a thousand times before. When Jo thinks back to her own clueless and completely inept fumbling during her first encounter with another woman, she can’t help but begrudge Kate a little bit. It doesn’t last for long though, because how can it, when Kate’s making her legs quiver and her stomach clench and her heart pound in her ears.

“Harder,” she orders, because old habits die hard, and to her relief, Kate doesn’t ask, “are you sure?” she just obliges, gets it perfectly right first time, and Jo throws her head back, biting her lip.

“Is it OK if I – ”

Kate’s fingers are dipping lower now, poised to slip inside of her, and all Jo can do at this point is grunt in the affirmative.

“How many?” she asks softly and, frankly, Jo couldn't care less.

“Two,” she manages to choke out, but Kate only adds one at first, gently testing the resistance, moving her finger up and down, deeper and deeper, until she finally deigns to honour Jo’s request and fill her completely. Jo’s eyes roll back and she lets out a strangled gasp when Kate mirrors her earlier actions, curling into her; thrusting against her.

“Do you have any idea how much it turns me on when you make that noise?” Kate’s asking her, and then she adds, “Fuck Jo, you feel amazing,” which prompts Jo to make that noise again.

“You like that?” Kate asks, and Jo wonders if Kate plans to keep up this running commentary, whether she expects her to actually have the capacity to reply.

“What do you thi - fuck, fuck, fuck.”

Kate’s found her clit again now, and somehow the pressure is just right and Jo knows, then, that she’s not going to have any issues with relinquishing control, that Kate isn’t going to look down at her in disappointment when her efforts don’t have the desired outcome, because the pleasure is all-consuming and it’s building and building and -  

“Jo, look at me,” Kate demands, and Jo somehow manages to force her eyes open.  

“You’re so beautiful,” Kate informs as she continues to fuck her, but then Jo sees her expression - caught somewhere between awe, arousal and something else - and it doesn’t feel like they’re fucking anymore.

“Kate - ” Jo protests, but it comes out sounding as weak as her resolve right now.

“I mean it Jo, you’re - ”

“Shut up,” Jo begs, even as her hips are slamming into Kate’s hand like her life depends on it, even as she’s gasping for breath and clutching at Kate, trying to pull her closer.

“You’re perfect,” Kate murmurs into her ear, like she hasn’t spent the last 25 years of her life being told that she was anything but.

Jo lets out a noise that’s somewhere between a sob and a scream as her orgasm rips through her and it feels like she’s being torn apart at the seams and stitched back together again at the same time. She blindly reaches for Kate, pulling her into a crushing embrace as she convulses around her fingers, and then Kate’s holding her, kissing away the tears that are streaming down her cheeks, tenderly, lovingly.

“Was that OK?” she asks, and Jo lets out a disbelieving laugh, appalled that she even has to ask.

“Let’s just say, if you do decide to become a card-carrying lesbian, I’d happily give you a reference.”

They smile at each other then, with the dumbstruck wonderment of two people who have just had the best sex of their lives, but Jo still feels that familiar sliver of fear that always goes hand-in-hand with happiness, because she knows that if anyone tries to take this away from her, it’s going to destroy her.