AUTHOR: Suki
TITLE: Troublesome Questions (sequel to Bright Star)
PAIRING: Ellie/OFC, CJ/OFC, Ellie/CJ(but not really)
RATING: NC-17 for mature themes, sexual situations and language
FEEDBACK: Love, love, love feedback. Constructive as well as what you may have liked is appreciated at suki@ashesofoldlovers.net
SPOILERS: None I can think of, but end of Season Two to be safe.
DISCLAIMERS: For what it's worth....The West Wing and it's characters are the property of Aaron B. Sorkin, Warner Brothers, NBC et al. No copyright infringement for profit is intended. If you recognize them from TV, they are not mine. Everyone else, especially Kira, Sarah, and Britt are figments of my imagination and I am very possessive about them. Please do not use them without asking my permission.
ARCHIVE: Please ask first. And, as always, this and my other pieces will be archived at http://www.ashesofoldlovers.net
SERIES: Series as yet untitled. Previous Installments: Worlds Collide Dancing Love Means Never Having to Say You're Hungry Dream Houses Bright Star
NOTES: I promise they will eventually get to the much discussed dinner party, and hopefully in the next installment.
TEASER: CJ shakes her head at Toby's obvious perception, silently recognizing that he will ask troublesome questions later.

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Troublesome Questions by Suki

"Josh," CJ sighs, tossing her pencil onto the desk and rubbing her forehead. "We can not say that anyone who opposes 673 is anti-family and wants to punish the poor working families in this country for having the grave misfortune of being born poor," CJ says, leaning back in her chair and tossing the press-release on her desk.

"Sure we can," Josh says dismissively.

"No, we really can't, Josh," CJ sighs. "Toby?" CJ yells down the hall, as she leans over to look out her office door and down toward the communications' bullpen. "Toby, get your butt down here."

Toby and Sam both walk out of Toby's office and toward CJ's a few minutes later. Sam flops down on the couch next to Josh, as Toby leans in the doorway. "You bellowed?" Toby sighs with resignation.

"And it took you long enough to get here," CJ says with a raised eyebrow. "Please explain to Josh why we can not say that anyone who opposes 673 is anti-family and wants to punish the poor working families in this country for having the grave misfortune of being born poor," CJ says, leaning back in her chair and putting her feet up on the corner of her desk with a smirk, as Toby rubs his forehead and then swings his gaze to Josh.

After a moment, Toby looks back at CJ and smiles slightly. "No," Toby says softly.

"No, you won't explain why, or no, we can't say that?" CJ asks, confused.

"Both," Toby says with wave of his hand. "No, we can't say it because there are a sufficient number of members on our side of the aisle that disagree with us, and we can not afford to be losing democrats right now. And, no, I don't have to explain it to Josh because I already discussed it with Leo, and we will both slap Josh into next week if he even utters it in the shower. And damn, you made me explain it anyway, and you know how crazy that makes me," Toby says, waving both hands. "Now, Sam, come on," Toby says, as Sam grins and Josh still looks ready to argue his cause.

As Toby turns to leave, his path is blocked by Ellie, who jumps back slightly as Toby almost walks into her. "Ellie, sorry. I didn't see you there," Toby says, reaching forward to steady her by grabbing her elbow.

"It's fine," Ellie says with a shake of her head and a soft smile. "I was in the residence for brunch and thought I would stop in and say hello. But if you are all working, I don't want to interrupt," Ellie says, glancing into CJ's office.

"No, it's fine. We're done with this," CJ says, looking pointedly at Josh. "Come on in."

Toby watches Ellie carefully, and CJ smiles at his careful evaluation of Ellie's appearance. When Ellie steps into her office, Sam and Josh both stare, their eyes wandering down her body and back up.

When CJ first saw Ellie's hair cut, and then her clothing changes, and then the alteration in her appearance by attitude and makeup and accessories, she was mildly surprised, but the look of shock on Sam's and Josh's faces makes her take a second appraising look. Ellie's dark hair is pulled back by a zig-zagging headband, with a few stay wisps hanging around her face. She is wearing a supple looking, caramel-colored suede skirt with an off-center slit and a three- quarter sleeve sweater in the same soft shade blended with grey and pale blue threads. Her dark brown boots are conservative but have a nice heel and rise to just below her knees. The bracelets at her wrist jingle subtly as she reaches to push he hair off her shoulder out of reflex.

"Ellie... hi," Josh says, standing and apparently looking intently at her hair. "It's good to see you."

"You look great, Ellie. How's school?" Sam asks, reaching over and touching her arm briefly.

"Hey, Josh. It's good, Sam. Thanks," Ellie says with a smile before turning her attention to CJ. The smile reaches her eyes as she makes eye contact with CJ, and then she looks at her hands before looking up again. "I'm serious, if I am interrupting anything..." Ellie's words trail off as she looks to CJ for her reaction.

"Seriously, you are so not interrupting anything," CJ says, looking at Josh and Sam. "Grab a seat. Tell me about school."

Sam and Josh each take another glance at Ellie and then turn and head toward the door with guilty smiles at CJ's raised eyebrow. Toby stands there for a moment, looking hard at CJ, before she leans against her desk and skews her lips to the side. He then shakes his head slightly, raises an eyebrow of his own, and turns and walks deliberately down the hall.

CJ shakes her head at Toby's obvious perception, silently recognizing that he will ask troublesome questions later. After she has closed her door, she grabs her water and sits down on the couch next to Ellie.

"So, how was brunch?" CJ asks.

"It was fine, I guess. My dad wouldn't shut up about the haircut and clothes, and while I know I should be pleased that he was so complimentary, I found myself getting really pissed off that he was so excited to see me like this," Ellie says, waving her hand at her skirt, her tights-covered knee sliding out through the slit in her skirt.

CJ smiles, and resists the urge to fix Ellie's cross, hanging just under the neckline of her sweater. "Well, El, what did you expect? It's quite a change."

"He asked if I was seeing anyone and I almost froze. I didn't know what to say. And Zoey kept smiling like an idiot and giggling at inappropriate times. I guess she will never have a career in espionage," Ellie sighs.

CJ smirks and leans back, crossing her legs. "So? Come on, tell me about the date," CJ says, nudging Ellie's calf with her foot. "You didn't actually think I was going to settle for that pathetic phone call did you?"

Ellie blushes and looks down at her hands, leaning back as well. "Well...it was a little unreal," Ellie says, looking up and then shaking her hair off her shoulders as she rubs her neck. "I don't know what I expected, but it wasn't to feel that comfortable with her right away. I walked into her apartment and she kissed me, touched my hair, and it was like I had known her for years, not hours." "And what happened to taking it slow?" CJ asks with a raised eyebrow.

"Yeah, like that was going to happen," Ellie laughs. "I was looking at a painting of her that her mother did when she was little, and her arms were around my waist, and then we were kissing and, well, it was inevitable. We talked for hours first, but... She is so amazing, CJ."

"So, which did you tell her first: that you had never been with a woman before or your last name?" CJ asks with a smirk.

Ellie blushes and shakes her head before answering. "I just sort of blurted it out. She was saying that it had been a long time since she had been involved with someone serious, and I told her I had never been involved with anyone serious, and she almost fell over."

"And?' CJ prompts, leaning forward.

"And then we were kissing, and I just thought she should know the rest before it went any farther and then --"

"So, you told her you had never been with a woman before and she went straight for the goal?" CJ asks, irritated at Britt's perceived insensitivity.

"No, we had a minor misunderstanding. I got my feelings hurt and then we smoothed it out, and then we were kissing. I just couldn't let her sleep with me without knowing. I mean, I had just told her I wouldn't hurt her--"

CJ raises her eyebrow at Ellie's promise not to hurt the more experienced woman, as opposed to how CJ thinks the promises should have flowed.

Ellie waves off the look and continues. "--and I just didn't think it was fair. So I told her who I was."

"And she?" CJ asks, knowing from the phone call the day before that Britt `freaked' in Ellie's words, but then recovered.

"She was a little shocked, had no idea. I started to leave and she came after me. To her credit, she didn't even flinch when Kim and Phil circled us," Ellie says with a prideful smile.

"Wait, I thought the agents stayed outside the building," CJ says.

"They did. I was almost to the car when she caught up with me," Ellie says with a guilty smile.

"Please tell me that you went back inside to discuss it, knowing what a media nightmare it would be to be seen having a lovers' quarrel in public?" CJ says, covering her eyes. "Did you, you know, touch while you were having this conversation?"

"Yeah, CJ. She tore my shirt off and felt me up, right there on the front walk," Ellie says sarcastically, pantomiming the actions. "CJ, she grabbed my arm, rested her hands on my shoulders, I think maybe touched my neck or my cheek, while she apologized for freaking out."

"And?" CJ says, still looking concerned.

"And then nothing. I waved off the agents and went back inside. We kissed in the front hall, but no one could have seen, and then we went upstairs," Ellie says shrugging.

"Ok, well, if there was going to be a story it would have happened by now," CJ says, shaking her head. She looks up at Ellie and smiles, smiling wider as Ellie's cheeks turn pink under her scrutiny. "So, how was it?" CJ says, nudging her leg again with her foot.

Ellie blushes harder and shakes her hair off her shoulders. "It was amazing," she says softly.

"Yeah?" CJ asks with a conspiratorial grin.

"I was so nervous. I mean, I'd never...I'd read a little but..."

"So, what, you researched lesbian sex?" CJ laughs.

"Well, yes," Ellie admits, blushing. "I didn't want to be completely clueless, but standing there, confronted with a real woman, I was scared to death," Ellie says, shaking her head, her eyes wide.

"And?" CJ asks, smiling softly and touching her hand.

Ellie grins and looks up from her hand. "She could tell I was scared, and she was gentle and attentive and it was just incredible," Ellie says with a dreamy look in her eyes. "I have never felt like that before. I mean, sort of out of control and in control all at the same time."

"I hope she wasn't *too* gentle," CJ laughs, pushing Ellie's knee when she closes her eyes in embarrassment, her face impossibly flushed.

"No, she was not too gentle," Ellie says in a mocking tone. "And I am not telling you anymore, so you can forget it."

CJ grins and touches her hand. "I am happy for you. Your first time should be special, and it sounds like it was. And you're going to be seeing each other now?" CJ says with a raised eyebrow.

Ellie nods and smiles. "Yes, I officially have a girlfriend," Ellie laughs.

"God help us," CJ says laughing harder. "You do know you need to be discreet, at least until you tell your parents, right?" CJ says, tapping her finger against the back of Ellie's hand. "Does she understand that?" CJ says.

"Her name is Britt, CJ," Ellie says with a small smile. "And, yes, she understands. And it's in her best interest as well, so we'll be careful. So, what's up with you and Kira? You two sounded very domestic yesterday morning," Ellie says, laughing at CJ's blush.

"Yes, well...there's nothing `up' with us. We've known each other for a long time. And we're seeing each other again," CJ says, standing and crossing to her desk.

"Seeing each other? Come on, CJ, you two are practically living together," Ellie says, following CJ over to the desk. "So, why aren't you?"

"Why aren't I what?" CJ asks.

"Why aren't you and Kira living together?" Ellie asks with a laugh.

CJ picks up her pencil and taps it against her desk and then drops it and pushes her hair off her face, sighing as she responds. "Because, there are still a few things we need to work out, and with her in Baltimore and me here..." CJ trails off with a wave of her hand.

Ellie smiles and steps closer, leaning on the desk as she leans forward and smiles. "CJ, it's time to stop hiding from this," Ellie says, smiling wider as CJ rolls her eyes at Ellie's use of her words against her. "Seriously? You two are great together, so, go for it."

"Ok, so you've had a girlfriend for all of what, twelve hours, maybe, and now you are doling out relationship advice?" CJ asks, waving her hand as her voice rises in inflection.

Ellie laughs and shakes her head. "I'm just saying, if she makes you happy, trust it."

"I'll keep that in mind," CJ says sarcastically, shaking her head. "Ellie, you need to tell them, and soon," CJ says, looking hard at her.

Ellie nods. "I know. I'll be up weekend after next for a couple days. I'll tell them then. Dad'll have a good three or four days to process before he has to head anywhere," Ellie says steadily.

"Ok, and in the meantime you be careful," CJ says, pointing at her. "Are you bringing Britt on Saturday?" CJ asks with a small smile.

"I asked her, but unless Paula, one of the managers, can cover on Saturday, she won't want to leave the bar," Ellie says. "So, I'll call Kira and let her know."

"I would like to meet her," CJ says softly. "I am glad you are so happy, El. Just take care of yourself in all this, ok?"

"I am," Ellie says, laughing softly.

CJ walks back around the desk and hugs Ellie, smiling into her hair as Ellie squeezes her a little closer and turns her face against CJ's shoulder before letting go. As they pull away slowly, CJ pushes Ellie's hair off her face and then pulls back quickly as someone knocks on her door.

Toby steps into the office a moment later and looks carefully between the two women. "CJ, Leo's ready for us," Toby says, nodding to Ellie.

"I'll talk to you later," Ellie says, moving past Toby and into the hall. Toby looks after her for a moment and then back at CJ, shaking his head as he closes CJ's office door.

CJ groans inwardly, knowing what is coming. "Toby," she sighs, grabbing her notebook.

"Please tell me I'm not seeing this," Toby says, waving toward the door. "Please tell me that the President's chronically withdrawn daughter doesn't have a crush on you."

"Toby, you really need to get a life there. I mean if you are starting to--"

"CJ, come on. I saw what was between you and Kira before anyone else did," Toby says, clearly uncomfortable. "Don't insult my intelligence."

"Toby, don't ask questions you really don't want the answers to," CJ says, sighing as Toby's eyes bug out and he rubs his forehead.

"If she is thinking about...CJ, she clearly has feelings for you and-- "

"Toby, I won't break her confidence," CJ says softly, looking hard and him and hoping he hears her meaning. "Please, don't make me have this conversation."

"CJ," Toby groans as he half turns around and then swings back. "Please tell me at least that you and she haven't..." He trails off as CJ looks at her hands and then back to him, staring harder, unable to make a flat denial given the kiss at Kira's and knowing that if she specifically denies sex he will ask the next treacherous question. "Oh, man, CJ..."

CJ laughs softly at his pained expression and uncharacteristically whining tone. "Toby, I can't talk about this with you, but I am not sleeping with Ellie. There is nothing between us but friendship. There isn't going to be any scandal."

"You sure? Does Ellie understand that?" Toby asks, looking back toward the door as if Ellie is still there.

CJ rolls her eyes. "Toby, I'll bring you in when I can. In the meantime, you're going to have to trust me on this," CJ says, smiling slightly.

Toby nods subtly and taps his fingers on the top of his head. "Ok, just promise me that if you find yourself in over your head, or something is going to break, you'll come to me. I'll keep it. Just don't try to deal with this alone."

CJ nudges his shoulder as she smiles. "Toby, if you keep wanting to play `Dear Abbey' someone is going to accuse you of caring," CJ teases.

"Shut up," Toby says, opening the door and waving her through, as he glances back into the office and closes his eyes for a moment.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

On Thursday night, Ellie hurries up the stairs to Britt's apartment, glancing nervously at her watch as she reaches the landing, cursing at the time.

"Hey, I am so sorry I am late," Ellie says, stepping into Britt's apartment and dropping her bag on the chair near the door. "The lecture ran over and then I had to check in on something. I'm sorry."

"It's fine. I just wish you had called because I could have stayed down at the bar for another hour getting some work done," Britt says, moving toward the kitchen after a brief kiss, leaving Ellie staring after her in surprise. They have had dinner twice this week, and Ellie came over Tuesday night after Britt closed the bar, and Britt has never greeted her so cooly.

Ellie follows her into the kitchen and watches carefully as she stirs a pot on the stove. "I'm sorry, Britt. If I had known I would have called," Ellie says, unsure of what to do.

Britt turns and looks at her, and her eyes soften as she lets out a loud breath, putting the spoon down and walking over to her. "I'm sorry, Ellie. I've just had a rough day," she says, brushing a gentle kiss across Ellie's mouth and sliding her hands down Ellie's back to settle on her rear. Ellie leans into the kiss, relieved at her mood shift, and revels in the feel of Britt's mouth on hers. When Britt pulls back, she runs her hands through Ellie's hair and kisses her softly once more before speaking. "Want a glass of wine?"

"I do," Ellie says, laughing at Britt's dramatically solicitous manner as she asked. "But, if there's time before dinner, I really would love to go take a shower. I've been running around all day and I must smell like the hospital," Ellie says grimacing.

Britt leans forward to nuzzle her face against Ellie's neck and breathes deeply, her hands sliding to the closure for Ellie's pants. "You smell wonderful to me, but who am I to argue with a shower?" She asks, stepping back over to the stove and turning down the heat under the pot.

Ellie stares wide-eyed for a moment and then laughs. "I didn't mean to delay dinner, but I am certainly not to going to argue with that," she says, as she turns and heads for the bathroom, Britt close on her heels.

"I would suggest a bath instead, but I don't think I can wait that long," Britt says, reaching past Ellie to open the sliding, frosted- glass shower door and turning on the water. She turns to look at Ellie, standing there watching her, grinning. "I'm serious about not waiting, get out of those clothes," Britt orders, reaching for the buttons on her own blouse as the water pounds down against the empty tub, beginning to fill the bathroom with steam.

Ellie hesitates for a beat, and then quickly strips out of her slacks and sweater, reaching behind her to quickly unhook her bra as Britt is kicking her panties across the floor toward the pile of discarded clothes. Britt reaches for her and pulls her close before she can finish pushing her own underwear over her hips.

"Come here," she says, as she captures Ellie's lips and forcefully slides her tongue into Ellie's mouth in a deep and possessive kiss. Ellie clings to her, accepting the almost punishing kiss, her knees trembling in reaction. When she breaks the kiss, Britt slides down Ellie's body, pulling Ellie's underwear all the way down and then she reaches for her socks. Before moving from her place on the floor, Britt grins up at her, and then slowly slides her hands up the back of Ellie's legs, pausing when her hands are on Ellie's rear to brush an open mouthed kiss against her curls, causing Ellie's eyes to roll shut.

"Oh, God," Ellie gasps as Britt continues to kiss her sex, and she reaches for the counter to steady herself as Britt urges her legs apart and dips her head closer to slide her tongue along Ellie's folds. Ellie rocks involuntarily forward at the touch of Britt's tongue and gasps again, louder, as she feels Britt's tongue against her clit, moving deliberately and in rough strokes. Britt begins to hum softly, causing a vibration to run along Ellie's sex and her body to tremble in response. "God, Britt," Ellie moans, her knuckles white on the edge of the counter as Britt sucks roughly at her clit and shifts her leg over her shoulder. When Britt thrusts her tongue inside her, Ellie comes in a rush and struggles to remain standing as her legs shudder, pushing her calf against Britt's shoulder and back to steady herself. "I can't...Britt, I'm going to fall over," Ellie whimpers, her body still trembling at the feel of Britt's tongue inside her. "Please," she pleads.

Britt slides out from under her and to a standing position, pulling Ellie against her in one fluid motion. Ellie turns her face inward and breathes deep, before pressing a deep kiss against Britt's lips, sucking her tongue into her mouth and wrapping her arms around Britt's shoulders, one hand in her hair.

"Come on, Sweetheart," Britt says softly against Ellie's lips, as she moves toward the shower. "Let's get cleaned up and then go have dinner. I am suddenly starving," Britt says with a wicked grin.

Under the stream of hot water, Ellie runs her hands over Britt's curves, swatting at her hands when she tries to touch Ellie, smiling indulgently as she slides slick fingers over hips and breasts and rear, before slipping her fingers between Britt's parted thighs. She delights in the soft whimpers and moans, as Britt's eyes close and she tightens her grip on Ellie's waist. They continue to kiss softly until Ellie thrusts her fingers deep inside her, and then Ellie watches in satisfaction as Britt begins to let go of her guarded control. Ellie eases her back against the tile wall and adds a third finger, twisting her hand and pressing the heel of her palm against Britt's clit.

"Shit, Ellie...God, harder, yeah..." Britt trails off into incomprehension, gasping with each hard thrust of Ellie's fingers deep inside her as she comes, pressed between Ellie's body and the tile wall. Once she has caught her breath, Britt opens her eyes and smiles at the younger woman pressed against her. "Ok, so what book did you learn that from?" Britt teases, making Ellie blush once again over her admission that she read up for their date. "Because I think I need a refresher course."

Once dressed in soft tee shirts and flannel pants, Ellie's slightly long and big on her slender frame, they finish making dinner side by side and then settle in front of the coffee table to eat.

As they are finishing dinner, Ellie looks at Britt, noticing the tension which has crept back into her shoulders. "So, what happened today to put you in such a mood?" Ellie asks between bites.

Britt looks up sharply and then shakes her head. "Later, I am not ruining dinner with serious stuff," Britt says, waving her fork.

"Ok, well, then, have you talked to Paula about Saturday?" Ellie asks, and then pauses with her fork halfway to her mouth as Britt glares at her. "Ok, so that was apparently a dinner-spoiling topic, as well," Ellie says, putting down her fork.

Britt sighs and pushes away her plate. When she gets up and walks toward the kitchen, Ellie sighs and then gets up to follow her. "If you don't want to go on Saturday, you don't have to," Ellie says softly from the doorway, trying to keep her voice under control.

Britt takes a deep sip of her wine and turns to look at Ellie. "Ellie, it's not that I don't want to go, but this isn't just a job, where anyone can cover for me. This is my place. It's my life. There are only a few people I trust to run it in my absence. Paula is trying to shift some things around so she can cover on Saturday, but it's not looking good," Britt says, draining the rest of her wine and reaching for the bottle to refill her glass.

"What else is going on here?" Ellie asks, crossing her arms across her chest. Britt doesn't answer right away and Ellie moves across the kitchen so she can see her face. "Britt," Ellie says, touching her arm and pushing her hair out of the way so she can see Britt's face.

Britt takes a deep breath and then turns to face Ellie. "Sean called today," Britt says softly, looking at her wine glass.

"Oh, Britt, it must have been great to hear from him," Ellie says, tucking Britt's hair behind her ear. When Britt looks up, her eyes are hard and resigned.

"Actually, he was pretty upset. Seems a federal agent was snooping around the bank, asking questions about him...and me," Britt says. "Asking about how long I have lived in Baltimore, and how long it has been since Sean saw me, and about my finances," Britt says, her voice getting brittle. "Sean was embarrassed, and he wanted to know what the hell was going on."

"Britt, I don't know what to say, what to..." Ellie starts, pulling back when Britt flinches when she touches her. Britt moves out of he kitchen and Ellie follows her. "Britt, I don't--"

"Ellie, don't you get it? Someone was doing a background check on me. And if they looked into Sean, they must have asked questions around here, and talked to my bank and my friends," Britt says, pacing. "And if they did, and they talked to enough people here, people have got to be wondering what's going on, because it's not like anyone said `we're asking because she's fucking the first daughter'," Britt says, turning to face Ellie, and then covering her mouth at her words.

Ellie feels like she's been punched, and wraps her arms around her waist to comfort herself. "I didn't know. I'll call whoever I have to call when I get back and make sure nothing like this happens again," Ellie says, a tear streaking down her cheek.

Britt rubs her eyes and then walks over to Ellie, wiping her tears with her thumbs when she reaches her. "I know it's not your fault, but I guess I just hadn't thought through the side effects of this, like the presence of federal agents in my life."

Ellie leans toward Britt's hand on her cheek and closes her eyes. "Do you want me to leave?" She asks softly.

Britt closes her eyes and pulls Ellie to her, wrapping her tightly in her arms. "No, I don't want you to leave. Just to understand that today was not a great day, and there was nothing I could do about it, and that makes me a little crazy."

"And it was my fault," Ellie says tearfully, her arms still around her own waist, her face against Britt's neck her only acceptance of the embrace.

"Sweetheart, it's not like there's anything you could do about it," Britt says into Ellie's hair, rubbing her back to try and soothe her.

Ellie feels Britt's breath on her neck and her hands on her back, and smiles in spite of herself, relaxing her arms and then sliding them around Britt's waist.

"That's my girl," Britt says, laughing softly and brushing her lips along Ellie's neck toward her jaw.

"You're wrong," Ellie says, tipping her head back and smiling at the feel of Britt's lips on her skin.

"What am I wrong about?" Britt asks between kisses.

"That there's nothing I could do about it."

"What could you do?" Britt asks, her hand snaking under Ellie's tee shirt and sliding up to cup her breast, stroking her nipple with insistent fingers.

"God," Ellie says, groaning at the feel of Britt's fingers tugging at her nipple and stroking the skin of her breast in turn.

"Having trouble completing a thought there, Sweetheart?" Britt says, teasingly.

Ellie takes a deep breath and shakes her head, as Britt continues caressing her breast. "I could just decline protection," Ellie finally gets out.

Britt's hand stills and after a moment she pulls it out from under Ellie's shirt. "Absolutely not," she says, moving toward the kitchen again.

Ellie stands there, staring after her for a moment before following. "I've been thinking about it for a while," Ellie says, as she leans in the doorway to the kitchen.

"No," Britt says, as she rinses the dishes. "End of discussion."

Ellie laughs softly and reaches for Britt's wine, hoisting herself up onto the counter. "And you think you can do what about it, exactly?" Ellie asks, trying to hide her smile before Britt turns around.

Britt turns and smiles wickedly at her, then she stalks across the kitchen. Ellie swallows hard, wondering if she has pushed Britt too far when Britt pushes her thighs apart and then moves between them, tugging on her hips to bring her to the edge of the counter. Ellie instinctively wraps her arms around Britt's shoulders, and Britt leans forward, brushing her lips against Ellie's and then her breasts against Ellie's breasts. When Ellie closes her eyes and sighs into the kiss, Britt pulls away and walks back over to the sink. Ellie stares indignant for a moment and then laughs out loud.

"What is that about?" Ellie asks, laughing still.

"That's what I can do about it," Britt says.

"What? Withhold sex?" Ellie laughs.

Britt turns and looks at her, crossing her arms over her chest. "Obviously, I would prefer not to have to, but...yes," Britt says grinning.

"You're serious?" Ellie asks.

Britt walks over to her. "I don't want to have to, but if it'll get your attention, then I will. You are not declining protection and putting yourself at risk," Britt says, sliding her hands through Ellie's hair. "No unnecessary risks. We'll deal with the other stuff."

"And Sean?" Ellie asks gently.

"Sean," Britt sighs. "Sean has been pissed at me for a long time now. Eventually he will deal with why he's really pissed at me."

"And that is?" Ellie asks, hooking her legs around Britt's hips and pulling her closer.

"That I wasn't Mom," Britt says softly. "And I wasn't normal," she says a little sadly. After a moment Britt drops her head to Ellie's shoulder and lets out a deep breath. "Ellie, there isn't anything I wouldn't give for an afternoon with my family again, to have an hour with my mom and dad. It's why I was getting so irritated with you the other day when you were bitching about your dad liking your new look."

Ellie pulls her closer and rests her face against Britt's neck. "I'm sorry," she says.

"For what?" Britt asks, lifting her head and stroking Ellie's hair.

"For causing more of a problem with your brother, for you're losing your parents, for being a spoiled brat, for ruining dinner..."

Britt chuckles against Ellie's cheek. "You don't have to apologize. Come on, let's go to bed."

"You're not teasing me, are you?" Ellie asks with a sly smile, pulling back to look at Britt.

"I'll show you teasing," Britt says, wrapping her arm around Ellie's waist and tugging her off the counter and pulling her close, almost bending her over with a deep kiss.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"Ok, so Josh, you're meeting with Cabbott tonight?" Leo asks, tossing his file on the desk, during the Friday night staff meeting.

"Yeah, Sam and I both," Josh says, glancing at Sam.

"Both of you?" Leo asks.

"Yeah, we're going to `good cop, bad cop' him," Josh says uneasily.

"Which one of you is the bad cop?" Toby asks.

"I am," they both say, and then look at each other quizzically.

"Oh, this is a bad idea. Toby?" Leo sighs.

"I've got it," Toby says, glaring at Sam and Josh.

"CJ, Simon's on for the weekend?" Leo asks.

"Yeah, and he's prepped on everything I could think of, and Carol will be here in case anything unusual comes up and he can't find the prep books," CJ says, nodding.

Leo nods and then smiles a crooked smile as he looks at the men across the desk from him. CJ looks over and rolls her eyes as she takes in Sam's and Josh's broad smiles and waggling eyebrows. "You are such a bunch of teenage girls," CJ says, shaking her head. "I'll be back on Sunday night Leo, and I'll only be forty-five minutes away if anything dire comes up."

"CJ, you being careful?" Leo asks seriously over his glasses.

CJ purses her lips and shakes her hair out of her face. "Well, as far as I know there is virtually no way for either of us to get pregnant from--"

"Aw, Jeeze, CJ, I meant about the press, are you being discreet?" Leo groans, covering his eyes.

CJ laughs at her own joke, and laughs harder as she takes in the expressions of her other colleagues: Sam and Josh bewildered, Toby almost amused. "Yes, Leo, we are being discreet, but it may not stay quiet for ever."

"This one serious?" Leo asks with a small smile.

CJ nods uncomfortably. "Could be," she says quietly. She looks over and sees Toby rub his head, and she smiles, shaking her head at herself. "Yes, it is. This one has been serious for a very long time. If we were living in the same city, we'd be living together."

Leo nods and looks at her for a moment. "Ok, well, we'll deal with it when it comes up and I guess we should decide what to do if you get the questions in the pressroom," Leo says, back to business.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"Kira, how long do I have to stir this?" CJ asks, looking down at the bright yellow liquid and switching hands to keep stirring it.

"Until it comes to a full boil," Kira says, walking into the kitchen and looking around CJ. "Yeah, should only be a few minutes. Just keep stirring so it doesn't burn or get any lumps."

"Are the shells ready?" CJ asks, glancing over her shoulder.

"Yeah, let me get them out." Kira says, reaching into the refrigerator.

"What else do we have to do?" CJ asks.

"Other than setting the table and actually making dinner, nothing," Kira says with a contented smile. "The chicken is marinating. I'll set the table as soon as the table cloth is done in the dryer. Everything else has to be done right before dinner. The flowers are on the porch and so is the wine. I'll start dinner right before everyone gets here, and then it can simmer while we have appetizers." "Ok, I think this is ready," CJ says, looking over her shoulder.

Kira glances at the pot and chuckles. "Yeah, that looks right. Here, let me," she says, taking the pot from CJ and beginning to fill the pastry shells.

CJ licks the stray drop of lemon filling off her hand and smiles. "This is good," she says in surprise.

"You thought it would be bad?" Kira asks with an astounded look.

"It's bright yellow and smells like lemon pledge. I had my doubts." CJ says as she reaches over for another finger-full, as Kira shifts to block her.

"Stop that. Once all the shells are full, I'll give you the leftovers," Kira says, shifting the pot farther away from CJ.

"Thanks, Mom," CJ says sarcastically.

"Could be, if you would just give in already," Kira says with a smile.

CJ groans. "I walked right into that one."

"Yes, you really did, Star," Kira laughs. "Did Ellie call?"

"Yeah, she couldn't get off work," CJ says, accepting the near empty pot as Kira moves the tray of desserts into the refrigerator again.

"CJ, her name is Britt. Can you please start referring to her by her name?" Kira asks with a sigh.

"Yeah, yeah," CJ says dismissively. "So, we have several hours to kill, any ideas what we could possibly do to fill the time?" CJ asks with faux innocence.

Kira walks around the counter and over to CJ, seated at the table. "I'm open for suggestions," Kira says, pushing on CJ's shoulder and sliding onto her lap.

CJ chuckles softly as she slides her hands around Kira's waist as their lips meet in a gentle, open mouth kiss. They move as if choreographed, faces tilting and shifting to cause each kiss to be slightly wetter and deeper than the one before, tugging at lips first, and then tangling tongues, before they are both flushed and breathless.

CJ pushes Kira up onto the table, and stands close between her thighs, as Kira wraps her legs around CJ's hips, locking her ankles. CJ tugs Kira's sweatshirt over her head and tosses it behind her, immediately lowering her face and taking Kira's left nipple into her mouth, rolling it with her tongue and lips before sucking gently. Kira buries her fingers in CJ's hair, urging her closer as CJ shifts to Kira's right breast and sucks hard, causing Kira to gasp and lean slightly away.

"Shit, CJ," Kira breathes.

"Too hard?" CJ asks, moving to her neck and then ear, nipping gently at her earlobe.

"No, just, God, I want you so much," Kira says, pulling CJ's hair to get her attention. "Let's go in the other room, please," Kira pleads.

CJ pushes Kira back on the table as she pulls Kira's leggings and underpants down her legs and tosses them behind her in the general direction of her sweatshirt.

"CJ, you can't be serious," Kira says, bracing her hand against CJ's shoulder as CJ leans over to kiss her again.

"Kira, are you telling me `no'?" CJ asks with a pseudo-serious expression.

"CJ," Kira laughs as CJ leans closer and kisses her softly.

"I am going to make love to you on this table. Then tonight, when I look across the table at you during dinner, surrounded by our friends, you will know that I am thinking about this, about you naked and begging on it," CJ says with a wicked grin.

"I am not begging," Kira says laughing.

"Oh, you will be, Ace," CJ says, lowering her mouth to trail a series of damp kisses along Kira's abdomen and down to her thighs. After several minutes of teasing kisses and tracing her tongue along sensitive skin, Kira forgets about the struggle of wills and begins to beg.

"Oh, God, Claudia, please...I can't take..." Kira's breath catches as CJ thrusts her tongue into Kira's body, quickly replacing it with two fingers as she strokes her clit with her tongue, humming softly against the tight bud as Kira presses against her, almost insensible. "Please...please, Claud, I can't...Oh, fuck, I...Claudia, I'm going to...Oh, fuck, harder...yeah, harder, Goooodddd," Kira yells as she comes, her fingers gripping the edge of the table and her hips bucking against CJ's face and hand. After several more sweeps with her tongue, CJ meanders her way back up Kira's body and drops a soft kiss onto her lips.

"God, you're beautiful," CJ whispers, pushing Kira's hair off her face, brushing her finger tips over Kira's flushed cheek. She brushes her face against Kira's neck, softly kissing her skin.

Kira opens her eyes slowly and laughs as she strokes CJ's hair. "I am not going to be able to keep a straight face at dinner. I am going to be blushing the whole time," Kira moans.

"Good," CJ says, dropping a kiss onto Kira's nose and pulling her up to a sitting position. "Now, let's go in the other room and crawl into bed for a little while. We'll set the table later," she says with a self-satisfied grin.

"Maybe I should fuck you on the couch so that you have somewhere to be invested in," Kira says, sliding off the table onto shaky legs.

"Ace, you can fuck me anywhere you want, but since you had me on the couch last night when we stopped paying any attention to the movie, I think you've got that covered. I'm just not as easily embarrassed as you are," CJ says, swatting her bare behind as Kira heads down the hall toward her bedroom.

~TBC~
suki@ashesofoldlovers.net

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