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Mildred lost track of time while she was kissing Gwen, focused only on the feeling of soft lips and strong arms wrapped around her. Mildred and Gwen had been pressed together so tightly, and all Mildred had wanted was more, more, more, her body aching with it, an ache that settled between her legs as she kissed Gwen. Mildred has never felt this way before, never wants to stop feeling this. They had moved to the couch, barely breaking apart when Gwen settled Mildred on her lap, and they had kissed and kissed, and Mildred had wanted terribly. Eventually Gwen slowed things down, pulled Mildred against her side, and wrapped her arms around her. Mildred had waited for Gwen to speak, thought she must have slowed down their rather frantic kissing and touching to discuss things further. But Gwen says nothing, just holds Mildred and caresses her arms softly, making Mildred feel warm and soft, the want settling to something more dull and pleasant. In the moment Mildred remembers the conversation they were having before the kissing begun, and she wonders what is beneath the silence, whether Gwen’s thoughts have turned back to her cancer.

“How are you feeling Gwendolyn?”

“Honestly?” Gwen says, and Mildred feels Gwen heave a deep sigh before replying, “I’m terrified.”

“Of course.” Mildred shifts so that she can cradle Gwen’s face in her palms and look her in the eyes. Mildred can carry this for Gwen, can care for her through this. Mildred may not know how to please a woman, but she wants to take care of Gwen, wants to make her feel loved and soothe her fear.

“You’re the first person I’ve told,” Gwen blurts out.

“Oh darling.” Mildred’s chest feels so full. Gwen is trusting her with this. Gwen is so scared, and of course she is, the doctor told her she was dying, and she had been holding that all on her own. Mildred pulls Gwen gently towards her and wraps her up in a hug. Gwen wraps her arms around Mildred’s waist, clings to her, breathing becoming ragged. “I’m here, my love,” Mildred tells her, “I have you.”

“It isn’t fair,” Gwen says, her face pressed to Mildred’s shoulder. “To find you now when I don’t have much time left.” Mildred presses a kiss to Gwen’s hair. The world is never fair, Mildred knows that quite well. But sweet Gwen shouldn’t suffer like this, is too good and kind for this pain. “I’m sorry,” Gwen whispers. “I shouldn’t be complaining about the world being unfair, not when the world has been so cruel to you Mildred.”

“Perhaps that’s changing,” Mildred says as she runs her hands through Gwen’s hair, pulls each bobby pin from blonde locks, leaving Gwen’s hair free for Mildred to run her fingers through. “You’re here with me now.”

Gwen sobs, looks up at Mildred, her blue eyes shining, “Do you really want to be here, Mildred? Because I would understand if it were too much.”

“I want nothing more than to be with you if you’ll have me.”

“This will get bad. I’m going to get sick and die. And it isn’t your responsibility to take care of me.”

“What if I want it to be?” Mildred asks. What a privilege it would be to care for someone she loves again after how she failed her brother. What a joy to have someone who she can show love to for the first time in decades. “I love you. I meant what I said about finding a doctor to cure you.” Mildred swallows, will not give up hope, but understands that Gwen needs to hear this, “but I will be here for as long as you have on this earth and for as hard as things may get.”

Gwen sobs then, buries her face in Mildred’s neck, and then she is truly sobbing, her body shaking against Mildred’s as they hold tight to each other. Gwen sobs and Mildred rubs her back, lets the other woman let out what she knows must be the absolutely overwhelming fear and sorrow she has been keeping inside since she heard this awful news. Mildred holds her, and it is such a privilege to see Gwen like this. Gwen is trusting Mildred to see her so vulnerable, is clinging to Mildred when she is so afraid. Gwen sobs and sobs, gasping for breath, fists pulling at the fabric of Mildred’s blouse.

 


 

Gwen can’t understand how it can feel so safe to be in the arms of a woman that she hardly knows. She fell in love so quickly, and Mildred’s arms are the safest place Gwen thinks she has ever been. Gwen decides then that if she is going to die, she will spend her remaining days being fearless, throwing herself into this budding relationship.

“I love you Mildred,” Gwen whispers, her throat thick with tears.

“I love you,” Mildred echoes, her fingers on Gwen’s neck, caressing the sensitive skin there. It sends tingles down Gwen’s body. All she wants is to lean into this feeling. Mildred’s fingers are so soft and gentle, and Gwen wonders if anyone else is allowed to see this side of Mildred. She’s so different here than when Gwen has observed her in the hospital, so open, her fingers weaving into Gwen’s hair with so much love in each motion.

Gwen moans as Mildred scratches a little at her scalp, leans into the feeling, the way her body is humming with Mildred’s touch. She wants to forget everything else, wants to live in this moment and in this feeling.

Gwen looks at Mildred, meets her eyes, and Gwen’s breath is taken away by how she can see into Mildred’s soul. There have been moments when Gwen found it so difficult to read Mildred, but now Mildred is hiding nothing, her dark eyes holding so much love that Gwen can have no doubt. Gwen doesn’t understand what pulled her to Mildred after such a short time, but she thinks now that somehow her heart understood that she was meant to be with Mildred.

“Will you stay with me tonight?” Gwen asks, and then immediately regrets it as she watches Mildred’s eyes widen. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that anything has to happen between us. I just want to be here with you, and for tonight forget everything else. We can just hold each other, or you can stay in the guestroom, anything that makes you comfortable.” Gwen thinks she must sound desperate, feels desperate for Mildred to stay, doesn’t want to lose the comfort and love of Mildred’s touch now that she’s felt it.

“What if I want something more to happen between us?” Mildred asks, eyes dark, voice sounding surprisingly confident. “I want all of you Gwendolyn. Would it be alright if I want that?”

Gwen’s face blossoms into a smile, and all she can feel is the joy of Mildred here in front of her, telling her she wants her. Gwen presses her palm to Mildred’s cheek. Mildred has told Gwen a little of her past, and Gwen knows she has to take extra care, has been with women before who have been raped, knows that sex can be more complicated when that lives in someone’s past. And Gwen wants more than anything to show Mildred love. She wants to shower her body in kisses and bring her pleasure and show her that sex can carry so much love. But Gwen wants more than anything to show Mildred that she is loved and respected, and that Gwen will never push her to do anything that isn’t completely Mildred’s choice.

“Do you want to go upstairs?” Gwen asks. “There is no pressure at all. We can just lie together, or we can go as far as you feel comfortable with.”

“I want to,” Mildred says, “Please Gwen, I’ve never wanted anyone like this before. I want you to show me how to make you feel good.”

Gwen swallows, wants Mildred so badly. “I would love that,” Gwen says, “But I need you to know that we will go only as far as you want. If you want to stop at any point, you tell me and we will stop. What matters more than anything to me is your comfort, Mildred.”

Mildred leans forward and kisses Gwen’s lips so softly, pulls back, tells Gwen, “Take me to bed.”

 


 

Mildred and Gwen have stripped down to their undergarments. Mildred is wearing only her slip, but still, it feels like too much, she doesn’t want this separation from Gwen, wants to feel their skin pressed together. Mildred’s heart is racing, and she has to force herself to breathe to steady herself. She’s had sex so many times before, and though she doesn’t enjoys it, it has never filled her with this kind of anxiety before. Just focus on something else and get through it. It had always worked fine. But this is different, Mildred wants Gwen, has never felt that before. She wants her desperately, the ache between her legs back again, growing as she and Gwen kiss beneath the blankets.

Mildred had grown up being taught that women are not meant to want like this, that it is a perversion, certainly feeling this way with another woman was something that the nuns in the orphanage would have told her was so wrong. She had ended up in that orphanage after the last home, after Edmund had killed their foster parents, and Mildred had run. The nuns told all the girls there that sex was wrong and dirty, and Mildred had kept quiet and never told them that meant she must be dirty because of all the awful things she had done with Edmund.

Mildred pushes the unwanted thoughts from her mind. This is not dirty, and it is not wrong. This is the most wonderful thing Mildred has ever felt in her life, Gwen’s hands touching her softly, lovingly, never touching somewhere new without asking Mildred’s permission. Even with all the anxiety swirling in Mildred’s chest, she knows she is safe.

Mildred sits up and pulls her slip over her head, unclasps her bra, and then she’s bare in front of Gwen, who is staring at her with lust in her eyes. But that expression doesn’t make Mildred feel nauseous like it always has when men look at her with lust. She feels beautiful and wanted, and she thinks she is looking at Gwen with the very same expression on her own face. “Would you get undressed too?” Mildred asks, overwhelmed with the desire to see Gwen, to press her body against Gwen’s bare skin, to feel her warmth, and hold her in her arms with nothing between them.

Gwen sits up, tells Mildred, “You are the most beautiful woman I have ever laid eyes on.” And then Gwen is removing her own bra and underwear, and Mildred is staring at Gwen, bare in front of her and she thinks that surely Gwen is wrong, and Gwen herself is the most stunning woman in the world.

Mildred leans forward and kisses Gwen again, pulls Gwen’s chest flush against Mildred’s, her nipples so sensitive as they rub against Gwen’s skin, shooting bolts of pleasure between Mildred’s legs. She’s never felt this before, only an occasional dull ache when she wakes from a half-remembered dream, never felt anything like this with another person. Mildred has been researching feverishly all day exactly how two women have sex, where women are most sensitive. She wants so desperately to make Gwen feel good.

They’re kissing and kissing, and Mildred realizes with a flush of warmth to her cheeks, that she is half on top of Gwen and grinding against her. Mildred looks down, sees the trail of moisture on Gwen’s thigh, and wonders if Gwen will be disgusted with her. Gwen catches Mildred’s eyes, smiles so warmly, still with pupils wide, eyes darker than Mildred has ever seen them.

“Can I touch you?” Gwen asks, and Mildred thinks her body might combust if Gwen doesn’t touch her.

“Yes,” Mildred says immediately, wonders instantly if she isn’t supposed to make her desire so obvious, if she is meant to be coy and demure. But she doesn’t think Gwen would want that, Gwen who is so bold, who seems drawn to Mildred’s own boldness, Gwen who has asked again and again for Mildred’s honesty.

“Lay down, my love,” Gwen says, and then Mildred watches Gwen freeze. “Only if you’re comfortable,” Gwen says. “Whatever position feels most comfortable to you.” Gwen looks so nervous as she tells Mildred. “I want you to be completely comfortable with everything we’re doing. And if you aren’t, promise me you will tell me immediately and we will stop.”

Mildred nods, moved by Gwen’s fervent declaration, her care for Mildred’s comfort above all else. Mildred shifts to lie back on the pillow, “I trust you,” she says, her body exposed for Gwen to see, for Gwen to touch.

Mildred reaches out for Gwen, who comes to her, presses a kiss to Mildred’s mouth, hovering above her, careful about leaning too much of her weight on top of Mildred. They kiss for a long moment like this, before Gwen asks, “Can I touch your breasts?”

Mildred gasps, “Yes, please.” It makes Gwen smile, her fingers circling Mildred’s nipple. How can this feel so good? People have grabbed her breasts before, but never with this kind of attention to Mildred’s pleasure, and never has it made Mildred feel like this, made her hips buck like this, seeking out Gwen’s leg again to try to relieve some of the ache.

Gwen’s hand is moving lower, down Mildred’s abdomen, the top of her hip, a jolt of anxiety rising up in Mildred. “Is this alright?” Gwen asks.

“Yes,” Mildred says, and Gwen is holding Mildred’s hips in her hands, and then she is leaning over to press a kiss to Mildred’s thigh.

“Can I use my mouth?” Gwen asks, her cheek pressed to Mildred’s leg. Nothing has ever felt this intimate before, Gwen’s face so close to Mildred’s center, her cheek pressed to sensitive skin.

Mildred heaves a few breaths, overwhelmed already by the intensity. “Yes,” she gasps, and Gwen is kissing Mildred’s thigh again, soft little kisses up her leg as her hands knead at Mildred’s backside. It feels incredible, Mildred’s every nerve feels alight with pleasure, Gwen’s tongue darting out and licking at Mildred’s inner thighs. Mildred hears herself moan, feels Gwen’s smile against her skin.

Gwen’s mouth is pressed so close to Mildred’s center, and Mildred feels the little puffs of air as Gwen asks, “May I?” Mildred doesn’t answer for a second, and Gwen looks up, eyes meeting Mildred’s. “It’s ok if the answer is no. We don’t need to go any further tonight.”

“I want to,” Mildred says, is aching, can feel that she is dripping wet, doesn’t know how she could survive Gwen not touching her.

Gwen smiles. “Anytime, if you want to stop you tell me. If you want me to change what I’m doing. If something doesn’t feel good, or something else would feel better, promise me that you will tell me.”

“I promise,” Mildred says.

And then Gwen’s tongue is on her, licking up Mildred’s length, touching oh so briefly on what Mildred knows is her clitoris. She had not touched it herself. Had looked at anatomy books, knows this spot brings pleasure, but nothing could have prepared her for this feeling. Gwen is licking at her, her tongue circling Mildred’s clit, and it is so much more intense than anything Mildred has ever felt before.

Mildred focuses on the feeling, on Gwen’s tongue drawing circles, reversing direction, and the pressure inside Mildred is growing and growing. And then Mildred’s mind is wandering, the last time someone’s mouth was on Mildred, the only time. Her brother. So many nights they made her lie there as he fumbled with his fingers and his mouth. Mildred is nauseous, her mind filled with the scent of Edmund, of that room, the thick smoke, Edmund’s sweat. She’s getting lost, she needs to stop. She can’t think about this now. She can’t think of Edmund touching her like that when she’s with Gwen. Mildred feels so sick.

“Gwen,” Mildred says. Gwen stops immediately, moves from between Mildred’s legs and lies beside her, her face so filled with worry and love when she leans over to make eye contact with Mildred.

“Are you alright?” Gwen asks.

Gwen stopped. Her mouth had already been on Mildred and all Mildred had done was say Gwen’s name and Gwen had stopped. Mildred has never asked someone to stop before, can’t imagine any of the men she’s been with would have stopped once things got this far.

“Mildred,” Gwen says again, and Mildred focuses on Gwen’s face lined with worry, and Mildred realizes she hasn’t said anything, must be scaring Gwen. “What do you need?” Gwen asks.

“Can we wait a minute?” Mildred needs to focus on Gwen, she looks into blue eyes, focuses on the love and worry and care she sees in those perfect eyes. The past recedes into the distance, and Mildred is here again, with Gwen, on linens that smell like lavender scented detergent. She smells Gwen, feels Gwen. Normally during sex Mildred escapes into some violent fantasy about war and blood and pain to keep her from remembering the true horror of her past. But she can’t do that with Gwen, not when Gwen is looking at her with so much concern, so much love.

Gwen’s hand is on Mildred’s cheek. “We can stop. I can just hold you tonight.”

Mildred thinks she might cry at how genuine Gwen’s offer seems, as though she truly would be content to simply hold Mildred.

Mildred wants to be with Gwen though, wants this more than anything she can ever remember. “No, I just want to lie here with you for a few minutes before we continue, if you wouldn’t mind.”

Gwen’s brow furrows. “Anything you want or need I promise I will give you.”

Mildred presses her hand over Gwen’s, pulls her palm to her lips and presses a soft kiss there. Mildred can’t explain, can’t tell Gwen the ways she was touched as a child and why Gwen putting her mouth on Mildred throws her mind back into horrible memories. She wants to feel Gwen touching her that way, still aches even as her mind is struggling right now. “Can you hold my hand while you’re…” Mildred drifts off, doesn’t know the words for what Gwen is doing, feels so embarrassed to be asking this.

“Of course,” Gwen says. “What else should I do to make you more comfortable with me.”

That is enough to make Mildred feel like she is about to cry. “I am comfortable with you. I have never felt this comfortable with another person in my life.”

“Oh darling.” Gwen is maneuvering them slightly so that they are both lying on their sides and staring into each other’s eyes. It is so intimate that Mildred feels shaken, has never let herself be this open with another person. “I love you so much, Mildred. You are safe here with me. I never want to hurt you.”

“I know that,” Mildred promises. “Would you touch me like this?” she asks, realizes that she wants to be looking at Gwen, that when she isn’t looking at Gwen that it is easier for her mind to travel elsewhere as it always has, and for once Mildred wants to stay right here. She’s never wanted this before, has never wanted to feel close to another person like she wants when she’s with Gwen.

“I will touch you in any way that feels good to you Mildred. Anything you want is yours.” Gwen kisses her softly, and though Mildred hasn’t told Gwen why she is struggling, Gwen is giving her everything she needs with such care and love but without a hint of pity. “You tell me when you’re ready.”

“I’m ready,” Mildred says. “Can I touch you too?” she asks.

“Of course, you may, my love,” Gwen says, and Mildred did not think she would like being called by pet names, but with Gwen it makes her feel warm and loved and somehow also makes her burn with need. She moves her hand down to where Gwen is warm and wet, cups Gwen with her palm, her wetness taking Mildred by surprise. Gwen moans loudly as Mildred gives her a squeeze, Gwen immediately thrusting against Mildred’s hand.

Gwen’s thumb is circling Mildred’s clit again, and Mildred mirrors the motion on Gwen, is rewarded with soft sighs and moans, and those noises make everything better, make the pleasure more intense, the need more. Mildred feels the pleasure building inside her. “Please use your mouth,” Mildred says, wants that sensation again desperately.

Gwen’s tongue licks at Mildred and she has never felt something so good, hips bucking against Gwen’s face. She weaves her fingers into Gwen’s hair. So good. And she can feel this is Gwen, her hair, the moans she makes as she licks at Mildred reverberating through Mildred. Her mind is present, Gwen keeps one hand locked with Mildred’s as she promised, and then she sucks at Mildred’s clit and suddenly the pleasure is so intense. Mildred nearly shouts in surprise, feels the ripples course through her as Gwen continues to lick softly at her.

After the waves of pleasure have softened and Gwen has soothed the most gentle licks to Mildred’s core, Gwen comes up to lie beside Mildred. How did she never know it could feel good? How did she never know she could feel close to someone when she was having sex, that she really could feel love in this act? Gwen is pulling Mildred into her arms, Mildred’s head on her chest, and stroking her back. For a few minutes Gwen doesn’t say anything, just caresses Mildred, presses kisses to her head and Mildred tucks her face into Gwen’s neck.

“How are you feeling?” Gwen asks. “The first time can be overwhelming, and anything you’re feeling right now is alright.”

Mildred doesn’t know if she can speak without breaking down in tears. She doesn’t think she has ever felt this close to someone in her life. She feels splayed open, exposed, body loose and humming, feels like every wall she normally has around her has been torn down and she never wants to build them back up. This is so new, and she desperately wants to believe that she can trust Gwen in this way.

“I love you,” Gwen murmurs into Mildred’s hair. “You’re safe.”

Mildred doesn’t understand how Gwen knew, but those words catch Mildred off guard, and she lets out a sob. Gwen startles, looks distressed, maneuvers so that Mildred is staring into blue eyes that are rapidly filling with tears.

“I’m sorry,” Gwen says. “I shouldn’t have pushed you.”

“You didn’t. I wanted to be with you. I loved it. It felt so good Gwen. I feel so good.” Mildred’s throat feels tight, voice small, as she adds “And safe.” She smiles at Gwen, fights back the tears and continues, “I’ve just never felt like that before. I’ve never felt good in that way before.”

“Oh,” Gwen says, looks impossibly sad for an instant before she smiles softly at Mildred. “You should always feel good. I will make sure of it.”

“I didn’t realize it could feel like that,” Mildred says, feels her cheeks blush, tears still leaking from her eyes. She’s an adult woman and she never knew sex could feel good, feels so embarrassed.

“It can and it should. I never want to be intimate if it doesn’t feel good to you. Your comfort and your pleasure are what matters.”

Mildred’s throat feels tight, no one has ever cared for either of those things before, she hasn’t even cared about her own comfort or pleasure before. Mildred doesn’t have words to explain to Gwen how it feels to hear those words and believe them. This is so new, but she believes those words to her core. Mildred can’t express what this means to her, the enormity of what it feels like to feel pleasure and safety with Gwen. Instead Mildred says, “I want to make you feel good too.”

“We don’t have to do anything else tonight,” Gwen says. “I don’t ever want you to feel like I am pressuring you to reciprocate. Everything we do together is always what you want and feel comfortable with. That’s all I want. I enjoy making you feel good.” Gwen grins. “I want to make you feel good as often and in as many ways as you want.”

Mildred wants that. She wants Gwen to touch her again, doesn’t understand how she can want Gwen again, feels intoxicated with pleasure and want, her body humming with it. “I want to touch you,” she says, anxiety and excitement coursing through her in equal measure. “Would you show me how to make you feel good?”

 


 

Mildred heard soldiers talking about this act during the war, most of them had hated it, had complained about the smell of a woman, the taste, had reluctantly done it to please a girl they were seeing. Others had laughed, said they absolutely refused to put their mouths on women. And Mildred cannot understand, because as she licks Gwen's clit and hears Gwen moan loudly, her hips bucking, pushing herself against Mildred’s mouth, Mildred thinks she will never get enough of this. Gwen is spread out beneath her, moaning, so much more vocal than Mildred imagined her to be, and oh how many times she had imagined.

Mildred curls her fingers just how Gwen instructed her, moving them in a few different positions, before she is rewarded with a loud moan and Gwen’s breathy, “There. Harder, please.”

Mildred has always been repulsed by the sight of men taking their pleasure, grunting as they thrust into her, reaching their peak. But Gwen being vocal, Gwen asking for what she wants, moaning, playing with her own nipples, it all makes Mildred so aroused, makes her want to reach between her legs and touch herself. Gwen is so beautiful, so perfect, and Mildred wants to make her feel good. She presses her lips to Gwen’s clit, sucks hard, remembers how incredible this felt when Gwen did it to her. And then she can feel Gwen’s body pulsing around her fingers, keeps her mouth against Gwen, tries to remember what Gwen had done to make this feeling last as long as possible.

Eventually Gwen moves away from the stimulation, murmurs “c’mere.”

“Was that alright?” Mildred asks, coming to lie down on the arm Gwen has extended for her. “I’ll get better, I promise. I’ll learn.”

“My darling,” Gwen coos, “That felt incredible.” Gwen is smiling softly, looking at Mildred with love, face relaxed, a little hazy with pleasure, Mildred thinks. She looks so beautiful. Mildred stares, thinks there is no way this could possibly be dirty, no way Gwen could be dirty or wrong for taking pleasure in this way.

“This is the best day of my life,” Gwen says, “Thank you.” It sounds so genuine, but how could this possibly be the best day of Gwen’s life when she was told she was dying. How could being with Mildred possibly make anyone happy in the way Gwen looks right now. She’s smiling so widely, is looking at Mildred with more love than she has ever seen directed at her.

“I love you,” Mildred says, cannot say anything else, cannot make sense of this. But she knows she loves Gwen, knows she wants to spend her life by her side.

“I love you,” Gwen says, presses a soft kiss to Mildred’s lips. Exhaustion is overtaking Mildred, and she closes her eyes when Gwen wraps her up in her arms, mind calmer than Mildred can ever remember as she drifts off to sleep.

 


 

“Good morning,” Gwen says the moment Mildred’s eyes open. She has been staring at Mildred for the last hour, waiting, terrified of what will happen when Mildred wakes.

“Good morning,” Mildred replies, looks so light and relaxed.

It eases the fear just a little. “How are you feeling this morning?”

“Tired,” Mildred says, words a bit slurred, and Gwen is gone, wants to wake up to this woman every day. Mildred smiles at Gwen. “I love you.”

Gwen stares. This is too good to be true. Mildred is here in her bed smiling at her. “Are you ok with what happened last night?” Gwen blurts out. She knows Mildred has just woken up, but Gwen has been so afraid that this last hour watching Mildred sleep peacefully might be the last time she sees her like this. Gwen has to find out if her heart will break in two.

Mildred suddenly looks much more awake, props herself up a little to look at Gwen. “You mean with making love to you?”

Gwen never pegged Mildred as one to use the phrase making love, Gwen certainly isn’t prone to using it herself. But that’s what last night had felt like, an expression of love and trust, a vulnerability and openness that Gwen has never truly felt before. “Yes,” Gwen says, “I know the first time can be a lot. Anything you’re feeling this morning is alright.” The words hurt to say, because Gwen will not be alright if Mildred tells her this was a mistake or that she regrets what happened between them.

Mildred stares at Gwen for a long moment before asking, “Are you afraid I changed my mind?”

It’s happened before, women who Gwen had been their first had woken up full of regret and fear and fled from the reality of what had happened.

“I love you Gwendolyn, and I meant what I said, I am not going anywhere.”

“It isn’t too much? Me being sick? Being with another woman?”

“I have never felt anything this good or right in my entire life.”

“You aren’t overwhel-“

Mildred’s lips are pressed to Gwen’s, hands cupping her face, tongue caressing Gwen’s, as Mildred swallows the rest of Gwen’s fears, kisses her desperately, passionately.

“Last night was incredible,” Mildred says, their faces inches apart. “I would stay in this bed with you forever if I could. And this illness, we will face it together. When you’re ready we can get out of bed and start looking into doctors and treatments. Until then I can practice my skills. I’m so new to this, I feel I will need a lot of practice.”

Mildred is grinning at Gwen, and then she ducks beneath the blankets, moves down Gwen’s naked body, Mildred’s mouth landing on Gwen’s core. Gwen lets the feeling of Mildred’s tongue take away the fears about the future, and she lets herself live in this glorious moment, will embrace this happiness for as long as she can.