Lilah felt herself relax when Fred said it was okay. She didn’t want to ruin this so quickly. “Thank you, Fred,” she whispered as she squeezed her hand. “It’s been such a long day with trying to get you before Angel got to you. I didn’t want to fail you.” Raising her eyebrows at Fred’s question, Lilah slowly nodded her head. “Once we get you settled, I’ll bring you in to meet the others.”
Raising her hand up, she brushed the hair off Fred’s face again and smiled. “I promise I’ll protect you Fred, and while I’m protecting you, I’ll teach you how to protect yourself. That’s how I lost Bethany…I didn’t teach her how to defend herself. But, you’re strong and I know you’ll be a good student,” she whispered. She then pulled Fred into a tight hug.
“And I promise you will never be made into a slave again, and that you won’t ever get lost. I’ll make sure to be there so you don’t,” she whispered as she softly rubbed Fred’s back. Lilah then pulled back and cupped Fred’s face again. “We should get some sleep. Breakfast will be here early and we have a lot of shopping to do in the morning.”
Lilah raised from the couch and led Fred to the hallway. Stopping in front of their rooms, Lilah looked at Fred. She had promised herself she wouldn’t get personally involved with any of her projects. It only led to trouble but there was something about Fred that made her want to reach out and protect her from the evils of the world, which made her want to laugh since she was considered evil.
“Will you be okay by yourself or do you want to sleep in the same room as me?” she asked. “The bed is big enough for the both of us.”
It had been a long day. Fred would have said it had been the longest in her life, but that particular...honor, if it could be called that, belonged to the day she was sucked through the portal and ended up in Pylea. She had never thought that day would ever end as she had been captured and fitted with a collar and sold and put to work. It had seeemd that one day had lasted five whole years. But all the same, that day had still been very long.
"You definitely haven't failed me," she said, looking up at her, enjoying Lilah's attentions. It felt so nice - her touch was so soft and so unlike any she had ever felt before from any man. After spending so long just wanting someone to touch her, to reassure her that she was really there, having that was wonderful. She just hoped she didn't upset Lilah by wanting it too much. She could tell that she'd learn a lot from Lilah, whatever she decided to teach her. "And I'd like to learn from you. I...I know how to build things, but actually protecting myself when someone gets their hands on me...I'm not so good at that."
Just as she said that, she found herself in Lilah's arms and closed her eyes against the tears that wanted to fall at the other woman's promise. "Thank you," she whispered. Of all the promises anyone had ever given her, that meant the most. "Thank you."
When they stood up and walked down the hall to the bedrooms, Fred looked into hers, then over at Lilah. At first, she opened her mouth to tell her that she'd be fine, and she could sleep alone in her room. But then she paused in uncertainty for a moment.
"I...do you...do you mind? You've done so much for me today, and I don't want to seem like some needy little girl who can't even sleep on her own or anything, but...I think I'd like to." She looked to the bedroom. In the past five years, she had either spent her nights curled in a corner in the slave quarters away from everyone else or by herself in her cave. Even the one night she had spent in her cave with Angel hadn't been comforting - he had been cold to the touch, and she had been afraid to touch to him. "It feels like I've slept alone for far too long."
Lilah smiled when Fred agreed to sleep with her for the night. It'd been so long since she actually had a bed partner that didn't leave after they got what they want. Having Fred in there with her would be a nice change. "Okay," she merely said before she took Fred's hand and led her into the bedroom.
Pulling the blankets back, Lilah got in and then tugged on Fred's hand. Once the other woman was in the bed, Lilah pulled the blankets up and over them. "I promise I don't snore," she said with a smile. She reached over and turned off the light and snuggled down in the bed. Turning slightly, she looked over at Fred and slowly pulled her into her arms. "I hope you don't mind but I like holding you."
Her hand softly caressed Fred's arm and she let out a content sigh. "It's been a long time since I've snuggled with anyone in bed. My mom always said letting someone into your bed, and holding them, was a sign of weakness. I think she was wrong because I really like holding you," Lilah whispered.
With her fingers brushing through Fred's long locks, Lilah softly kissed her temple. "You're beautiful, you know that right? I noticed you were flustered and embarrassed when I told you before. You shouldn't be embarrassed because it's the truth." Lilah wasn't one to tell other women they were beautiful but Fred was. "Every thing about you is beautiful. From your hair to your soft curves." She brushed the back of her hand over Fred's hip and over her thigh. "Even your legs are beautiful, Fred."
Taking a deep breath, Fred allowed Lilah to pull her into her bedroom and crawled into the bed when at her urging. A smile crossed her face when Lilah mentioned she didn't snore.
"That's okay. I had to learn to sleep surrounded by animal noises," she told her.
Once they were settled with the lights off, Fred expected that they'd simply go to sleep, so she was a bit surprised - but delighted - when Lilah pulled her into her arms. Smiling, she cradled her head against the other woman's shoulder although she wasn't sure for a moment where to put her hand, so she finally rested it on Lilah's stomach.
"I don't mind," she murmured softly. "I've really liked you holding me. It's felt...nice."
When Lilah's fingers began stroking through her hair, Fred had suppress a shudder of pleasure...until she kissed her temple. She had never received attention like this before. Even the two guys she had dated and slept with - Jack in high school and Ken in college - had never been like this with her.
"I..." she started to say when she felt Lilah's hand run over her, the feeling quite keen even through the material of the nightgown. "I never felt beautiful. Other girls were the pretty ones who got the attention from others while I was the smart one who got the attention of the teachers. I mean, there was Jack and Ken, but they...they never said..."
Lilah was probably sick of hearing her ramble on by now. "Thank you," she finally told her as her hand rubbed over her stomach slightly. "That means a lot to me. Especially since I think you're probably the most beautiful woman I've ever met."
Lilah continued to stroke the skin of Fred's upper thigh as she listened to the other woman talk. Shaking her head, she cupped Fred's face with her free hand and looked at her in the dark. "You're beautiful, Fred, and you need to learn that. When beautiful women know they're beautiful, they get more respect. I want you to have the respect you deserve," she said.
Her fingers laid on Fred's thigh, not moving. "But, I guess I can't make you believe something until you're ready to," Lilah said before adjusting the pillow behind her head. She was suddenly very tired and knew they needed to get some rest. "I'll show you how beautiful you are tomorrow. I promise." Leaning forward, she placed a small kiss on Fred's lips.
"Good night, Fred," Lilah said as she kept her hold on Fred. It felt nice being able to hold someone for once. She tangled her legs with Fred's and pulled her closer. "If you need anything, don't hesitate in waking me up. I'm a pretty light sleeper." She gave Fred a small smile and then closed her eyes to rest.
Could she learn to think of herself as beautiful? Fred wasn't sure about that even when Lilah said she would show her. After years of dirt and burlap and matted hair, followed by thrift shop clothes and uncertainty as to her place, it was hard to think of herself as beautiful. People wanted her because she was smart. Even Lilah had said so - that was why Angel and Cordelia and Wesley and Gunn had allowed her to stay - because they thought she could do something for them.
But Lilah was actually touching her like it was the most normal thing in the world. Like she was beautiful.
And then she kissed her.
Fred almost stopped breathing as Lilah said goodnight and pulled her even closer to sleep. She had kissed her. Lilah had kissed her and now she was holding her, and Fred didn't think she had ever met anyone like her before. Slowly, she started to relax again and took a deep breath before closing her eyes, glad that Lilah had found her in the station before she had gotten on that bus to Denver. She didn't want to think where she would be by now otherwise if she hadn't.
After a bit, she drifted off to sleep, her dreams untroubled for what seemed like the first time in long time. Even when she didn't have nightmares, she still tended to dream about Pylea, but that night, she didn't.
Sometime in the morning, she woke up, still entwined in Lilah's arms. She lifted her head and looked at her, thinking how beautiful she looked and wanting to kiss her again. Instead, though, she carefully slipped out of her arms and padded out of the bedroom and out into the sitting area after grabbing her robe from her unused bedroom. Opening the door to the balcony, she stepped out and looked out onto the ocean, closing her eyes in the sun as a breeze ruffled her hair.
Lilah had felt Fred slip out of her arms, and wanted to follow her to make sure she was okay. But, she didn't want to crowd the other woman so she allowed her to go. Lying in the bed, Lilah rolled over onto her back and stared up at the ceiling for a moment before reaching over and picking up the phone.
After a quick call down to the front desk, Lilah had the number to a local cruise company that offered chartered cruises of the harbor. She didn't want to take Fred on what that was made for the tourists. She finally found one which had an open spot for the night. She made her reservations and hung up the phone. Smiling, Lilah slipped out of the bed and put her robe on before going out to the living room.
When she saw Fred standing out in the balcony, the sun falling over her, Lilah smiled. How Fred couldn't think of herself as beautiful was beyond her. Stepping over to the door, Lilah pushed it open and stepped out. "Beautiful morning, isn't it?" she asked, looking over at Fred. "I spoke to a local company and we have a reservation at eight tonight to cruise the harbor." She smiled before reaching out to take Fred's hand.
"Did you sleep well?" she asked. "I hope I didn't hog all the covers." Lilah reached over and pushed a strand of hair off Fred's face before cupping her neck.
Fred had always enjoyed standing out under the sun, soaking up its warmth. She supposed it came from being the daughter of a farmer who did all his work outside in the sunshine because it was something that stuck with her even when she had learned exactly what the sun's rays where and what they could do to a person's skin. After that, she had started making sure her dad always wore sunblock - that was something she remembered quite clearly.
But in Pylea, she had learned to stay in the shadows, hiding where the others couldn't see her, going out mostly at night to steal food and other things. And when she had come back, because of the fact that Angel was a vampire and the work they seemed to do, her being up mainly at night had continued.
Now, she stood out in the sun again, enjoying the warmth. Out in the bag, boats were coasting around, taking advantage of the gorgeous weather. Fred hoped they'd be able to go out there later, not caring when. Day or night, she knew the view would be amazing.
When Lilah joined her, Fred looked over at her with smile. They were going on the cruise that night - the skyline with all its lights twinkling. She couldn't wait.
"I slept really well," she said, looking up at the other woman, practically leaning into her touch as she squeezed her hand. "Actually, last night was the best night's sleep I've had in a long time."
She gazed up into her eyes for a moment before looking back out. "When I woke up, I just wanted to enjoy the view for a while before we went shopping, and I didn't want to disturb you if you were still sleeping. But I'm glad that you're out here--."
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. "Room service."
Fred gave her a gentle smile. "Sounds like breakfast is here."
"I'm glad to hear that," Lilah said when Fred told her she'd had a good night sleep. "Come to think of it, I slept well too. Partly because of you and partly because I had my cell phone turned off. Some of my associates keep late hours and think they can call me whenever." She gave Fred a smile and shrugged a little. "The joys of being a lawyer. And I was actually awake when you slipped out of the bed. I decided to let you go since I don't want to hover over you all the time."
Suddenly there was a knock on the door and Lilah sighed. "Wonderful timing," she said with a shake of the head. She let go of Fred's hand and went inside to answer the door. The room service man pushed the cart inside and Lilah signed the bill, making sure to give him a tip. Once he was gone, she pushed the cart further in and closed the door.
"Doesn't look too bad," she said, eyeing the food. There was the usual breakfast items - eggs, toast, juice - along with coffee and some fruit. "I'm not much of a breakfast eater but I hear the strawberries in San Diego are delicious."
Lilah picked up one of the bowls and filled it with several sliced strawberries and a few grapes before pouring herself a cup of coffee. She then looked over at the balcony and shrugged her robe off. The morning was already warm and no one would be able to see all the way up there. "Lets have breakfast outside, in our gowns," she said with a mischievous grin, wondering if Fred would follow her lead.
Picking up her food and coffee, Lilah went to the sliding door and stepped outside. She sat her things on the table and pulled one of the chairs out before sitting down.
Fred was a bit disappointed when the knock came at the door since she would have liked to have stood there a bit longer with Lilah. But when she smelled the coffee as Lilah pushed the cart into the room, she came in off the balcony and looked over what they had sent up. Her stomach started growling, embarrassing her slightly and causing her to hope that Lilah hadn't heard her.
Once Lilah had taken what she wanted, Fred watched her as she took her robe off and walked back onto the balcony in only her nightgown. It amazed her how confidant she was about herself. Of course, since she was a lawyer, she probably had to be. Who would want a lawyer that wasn't sure of himself or herself when it came to their abilities?
Pulling the robe around her a bit, Fred picked up one of the plates and served herself some of the eggs as well as taking a couple of pieces of toast and fruit. After she poured herself some coffee as well, she picked it up and turned toward the balcony and looked at Lilah, out in the sunshine in her nightgown. For a moment, she stood there without moving.
Then she set her plate and cup down and took the robe off, laying it on the couch in the sitting room. Once she had, she took a deep breath and smoothed her nightgown down before picking her breakfast back up and taking it outside. Moving around to the chair across from Lilah, she sat down.
The sun felt good on her legs and face, and with a smile, she ate her eggs while looking out onto the bay again. "This is the nicest breakfast I've had in a long time," she said.
Lilah sprinkled some sugar on her fruit, and put a teaspoon of it in her coffee. She glanced toward the door and looked through the glass at Fred as she filled one of the plates with food. Lilah turned her attention back to her fruit and coffee. A moment later, she heard the door slide open and she looked up. Fred was coming out, without her robe and that made Lilah smile.
"Me too. I usually eat alone in my office. This is much nicer," Lilah said before nibbling on a piece of strawberry. She turned her attention to the bay and watched a few boats move in and out of it. Lilah had always liked San Diego since it was so clean and untouched. It wasn't known for it's demons and the firm had very little interest in the city.
"After we're finished here, we should probably shower and head out. I'll have to call down to the front desk and see where the best shops are. If I remember right, there's some close and we can probably just walk there." Lilah knew the limo was still waiting for them but she thought a nice walk was in order. It was too beautiful out to be stuck in a car.
When she finished with her fruit, Lilah stood and picked up her plate. "I'm going to shower now. If you need anything, just come in and ask," she said before going back inside. Lilah glanced over her shoulder and noticed Fred was looking the other way so she slipped off the nightgown and place it on the couch before walking off toward the bathroom.
"I had sort of taken to eating alone in my room...or under the table," Fred said quietly, glancing over at Lilah before turning her gaze back out. She much preferred being out here, in the sunlight, talking to Lilah. It made her feel more a part of life again, something she had been so afraid, even when the others had been around at the hotel.
She wondered now if that was because she knew something was wrong with them, that she wasn't really home then. Really, she had just been a prisoner with them again even if she hadn't known it. Now, she was free to be herself again - she felt more comfortable, and she felt like she really had a chance to put her lifeback together again.
When Lilah suggest they shower and then head out, Fred nodded. "That's sounds good. I'd love to walk to the shops." Anything to be out and in the sunshine while not worrying about what might come after her sounded great.
Fred finished her breakfast as Lilah disappeared inside to take her shower. Once she was done with the eggs and toast, she sat for a bit longer with the cup of coffee in her hands. She just wanted to enjoy this moment. Finally, though, she thought it might be best to go back in - she was sure Lilah would be out of the shower soon, and she didn't want to keep her waiting long.
Picking up the plate, she headed inside to place it on the cart so it could be taken back downstairs. She glanced over at the couch toward her robe as she did, noticing Lilah's blue nightgown lying there, discarded. Fred's eyes opened wide before they darted over to the door of the bathroom. Lilah's nightgown and robe were there, so that meant...
Reaching out, her fingers ran over the silk of the the nightgown as she remembered how nice it had been to be held in Lilah's arms the night before, how nice it had felt to touch someone. But she wasn't sure whether she should go into the bedroom to wait until Lilah came out and went to change.
Finally, she shook her head and sat down on the couch for Lilah to finish so she could take her own shower, deciding she didn't want to hide anymore just because something wasn't what she expected.
After turning on the shower, Lilah waited for it warm up before slipping into it. She wasn't much for taking long showers since she was always on a schedule. She quickly washed her hair and body, then rinsed herself off. Stepping out, she dried herself off and then blotted her hair with the towel. She then stepped over to the sink and brushed her teeth and ran a comb through her hair before wrapping a towel around her.
Lilah stepped out of the bathroom and found Fred waiting on the couch. The cool air of the AC hit her skin and she shivered. "Cold," she muttered before bending down to pick up her robe. She slipped it on and then tied it before allowing the towel to fall to the floor. "There's a trick to the shower. It turns on with sensors. You have to wave your hand in front of the black square under the taps. I don't know if they had those before you...well, it's a newer invention."
With a look, she grabbed Fred's hand and pulled her off the couch. "I should just show you," Lilah explained as she led Fred to the bathroom. When they got there, she pulled open the shower door and pointed toward the little black square before running her hand in front of it. "It'll stay running for five minutes without anyone standing in front of it. Supposed to save on water."
Lilah turned and smiled at Fred before allowing her eyes to run down her body. Fred did have lovely legs and Lilah couldn't help but to remember how soft they were the night before. She wanted to reach out and touch them again but didn't know if Fred would allow it. Looking up again, she noticed a strand of hair had fallen in Fred's eyes. Reaching over, Lilah pushed it to the side and cupped Fred's face.
"Fred," she said. "Do you like it when I touch you? And, please be honest."
When Lilah stepped out of the bathroom, the towel wrapped around her, her hair damp, Fred found herself holding her breath and watching her as she put on her robe. Then Lilah started talking about the shower, causing Fred to blink, her eyes widening slightly in confusion.
Next thing she knew, she being pulled into the bathroom, where Lilah showed her what she was talking about. The shower was obviously quite new - she had never seen a sensor like it before. Fred looked at it, part of her wanting to take it apart to see how it was all connected up behind the tiles although she was sure the hotel wouldn't appreciate that at all. Instead, she looked over at Lilah and found the other woman was looking at her intently.
When she touched her again, she almost felt herself stop breathing again as she gazed up into her eyes, almost not hearing her question.
"I..." she said before her breath caught. Would Lilah think she was easy or slutty or something if she was completely honest? Would she be able to tell if she wasn't? "I did--do. I do. I...I don't know if it's because it's been so long or just because it's you, but when you touch me, I...it feels so wonderful and nice, and I don't want you to stop."
When Fred started to stutter, Lilah almost pulled her hand back. She didn't want to frighten the girl, especially with everything she'd been through already. And scaring Fred off now would put a damper on all the plans she had for her. Without Fred, the lab would just sit there without any sort of guidance. The lab needed to be used by someone who'd learned more than what their play chemistry set had taught them.
Suddenly, Fred got out what she wanted to say and Lilah grinned. "I like touching you too," she said as she ran her fingers down Fred's slender neck. "Your skin is so warm and soft. And you're beautiful. Last night, when I held you, it felt nice and I wished I could do it all day." Lilah couldn't believe what she was saying. She didn't know if it was part of the lies she was telling Fred or if she really did like touching the other woman. It wasn't as if Lilah had never bedded another female in her life.
Stepping closer, Lilah bent her head a bit and softly pressed her lips to Fred's. She wanted to push her tongue inside the other woman's mouth to taste her but she wanted Fred to take the lead with this. Lilah moved her hand down to the crook of Fred's shoulder and laid it there in case the other woman wanted to pull back. She hoped she didn't since she really did like kissing her.
Fred shuddered as Lilah's fingers glided over her neck, her eyes falling closed for a moment. When she touched her like this, spoke to her the way she was, it definitely made her feel beautiful, just like she said she was. She wanted to tell Lilah that she wished she could hold her all day too.
Just as she opened her eyes to look up at her again, she felt Lilah's lips on hers. For a brief moment, Fred froze, surprised by the move, not having expected this even after the brief kiss Lilah had given her the night before. She wasn't sure what she had expected, all things considered, but soon she found herself melting into the kiss.
Opening her mouth, she deepened the kiss, a soft moan emanating from her as she wrapped her arm around Lilah to keep from losing her balance. Her heart was beginning to pound so loudly in her ears that she was sure Lilah could hear it, and as the kiss continued, she felt herself throbbing, a small knot of want forming in the pit of her stomach.
"Lilah," she breathed against her lips when they paused for a moment, not breaking apart.
Lilah kept her lips on Fred's and waited. She felt the other woman freeze a little and was going to pull back when she felt her mouth open. A groan rumbled in her throat as she tasted Fred's tongue on hers and her around wrapped around her. Lilah returned the favor by wrapping her arms around Fred's body and pulling her closer.
The kiss was warm and sweet, just like Fred, and Lilah wanted more. She wanted to move her hands over Fred's body and feel her shudder underneath her touch. She wanted to taste all of her and feel Fred come on her tongue. Lilah wanted to possess her body but she wouldn't push for it. Not unless Fred wanted it.
When the kiss was broken, Lilah stared into Fred's eyes. "I want to touch every inch of your body Fred, and explore it. I just don't think we should do it right now. You've been through a lot and I don't want to overwhelm you." She softly stroked Fred's cheek and smiled. "Why don't you shower and I'll be in the bedroom if you want me for anything."
Leaning forward, Lilah kissed Fred again and then slipped out of the room.
Staring into Lilah's eyes, Fred found herself go almost week in the knees when she said she wanted to explore every inch of her body. She wanted her - Lilah actually wanted her, but she was willing to wait until she was ready. Fred wanted to feel all that right then and there; however, she knew Lilah was probably right because she wasn't sure if she was ready to go that far. This was all so wonderful, and she didn't want it to end or fizzle out because she allowed it to happen so quickly.
With a slight swallow, she smiled up at Lilah, nodding at her suggestion of a shower. As the other woman left, Fred's fingers gently touch her lips where Lilah had kissed her. It had been so long since she had experienced a kiss like that. It had also been a long time since she had felt this way about another woman. Part of her worried that it was simply because Lilah was her savior in a way - after all, she had crushed on Angel after he had saved her on Pylea. But she knew that this was different from what she had experienced around Angel. This was so much more intense...and she just knew it wasn't the same.
The shower had turned off by then, so Fred quickly stripped out of the nightgown Lilah had given her and stepped into the stall, waving her hand in front of the sensor to reactivate the water flow. Once she had adjusted the temperature, she washed her hair then her body. As her fingers moved over her lower back, across the mass of thin scars that marred the skin there, she paused for a moment, biting her lip.
What would Lilah think when she saw those scars? Would she still think she was beautiful, the way she seemed to think? She had always been shy about her body, being so much thinner than many of the other girls in high school and college, but no one had seen her completely naked since then. In fact, Lilah was the first to see her even partially unclothed.
Taking a deep breath, she finished washing herself and then stepped out of the shower, drying off and wrapping the large towel around her. She went into her bedroom where her bag was to pull out the one set of clothes she had brought and changed into them before brushing and braiding her hair back from her face.
When she finished, she walked over to Lilah's bedroom and knocked on the door. "Lilah? I'm ready."
Lilah walked into her room and allowed the towel to fall to the floor. She glanced toward the door and smiled, which was a rare thing for her. Sure, she smiled when she one-upped someone but this smile was different. "Get yourself together, Morgan. You're acting like a little girl with a crush," she muttered to herself. It was a project and Lilah didn't get personally involved with her projects.
But, it wasn't that easy.
Lilah kept telling herself she was being nice to Fred to trick her. She knew, if she could find Fred's dark side, they would make a good team. She just had to be careful and not to let Fred have too much power too fast. It was something she would think about later. At the moment, she had to dress so she could take Fred shopping.
Once her jeans and shirt were on, Lilah brushed her hair and pin the sides back. She was about to go to the door when there was a knock on the door, followed by Fred's voice. "Just a second, Fred," she said before throwing a bit of makeup on. Going over to the door, she opened it and smiled. "Lets go."
She led Fred down to the front desk, where they got directions to a few local shops. "All of them are close by," Lilah said, moving toward the door. "We can walk there, okay?"
When Lilah opened the door, Fred smiled. It seemed that no matter what the other woman wore, she made it look amazing, even a simple pair of jeans and a shirt. It reminded her of some of the girls that Fred had gone to school with, but Lilah was very different from them.
Downstairs, after they got the names of the nearby shops, Fred followed Lilah out through the hotel's main doors, looking around. For the first time since returning home, it didn't feel like she was being stared at the moment she stepped outside. It had been a weird thing, but she had felt that somehow people on the street had to know that she wasn't right, that she had been lost and gone for so long and didn't really belong in society anymore because she had been a slave and had lived in a cave. She didn't feel that now, though, and it felt like a huge weight of some sort of been lifted as a result.
The walk was really nice although it didn't take them long to reach the first shop. Fred's eyes widened a bit as they walked in - this definitely wasn't the kind of shop she normally would ever have shopped in, not even for new clothes, and for a moment, she almost thought to ask Lilah if they could leave because she didn't belong there. As soon as they walked in, though, a shopgirl walked over and was soon making a fuss over them, showing them clothes - everything from dresses to blouses to trousers.
Soon, Fred found herself in the changing room with a pile of clothing. She didn't know where to start, so she just picked up what was on top - a red almost kimono-style dress with a butterfly pattern. Once she put it on, she looked at herself, not quite believing that it could be her in the mirror.
Opening the dressing room door, she walked out to show Lilah and the shopgirl. "What do you think?" she asked a bit nervously.
The walk to the store was nice and enjoyable. When they got to the first shop, Lilah stepped in after Fred and looked around. It wasn't as nice as some of the stores in Los Angeles but it would have to do for now. She did have to admit there were a few nice outfits but nothing she'd wear to work but maybe around her apartment or out for a casual evening.
She watched as the shopgirl seemed to attach herself to Fred. Lilah thought it was for the best since it was obvious Fred had a different taste in clothing than she did and she wasn't qualified to know what would look best on her. She allowed the girl to take Fred around the shop but kept a protective eye on her. And when Fred went into the dressing room, Lilah hovered close to it just to make sure.
When Fred stepped out in her dress, Lilah grinned. "It looks beautiful on you," she honestly said.
"I don't know. I think a different color might be better on her," the shopgirl said. Lilah turned around and gave her a death glare. "Or, maybe not."
Rolling her eyes, Lilah stepped over to Fred and took her hand. "I think you look lovely. You should wear this dress when we go on the boat this evening," she said with a smile.
When Lilah said she looked beautiful in the dress, Fred grinned and smoothed the dress down over her legs before Lilah took her hand. "I...I think I will," she nodded at the suggestion that she wear it that night. It was probably the nicest dress she had ever thought of getting.
Holding Lilah's hand for a moment longer, Fred finally withdrew it and went back into the dressing room. She almost didn't want to take off the dress quite yet, but she wanted to save it for that evening, so she finally took it off carefully and hung it back on its hanger.
She tried on the other clothes she had brought in with her, weeding through the pile until she had chosen several outfits. When she opened the door, back in her jeans and top, the shopgirl took the clothes she had chosen over to the register to start ringing them up.
"That's more clothes than I've ever got in a year before," she told Lilah in amazement. Of course, for five years, the only outfit she had was her burlap rags. She supposed in a way, she overdue, but still it was almost overwhelming to think, and according to Lilah, they still had two or three more stores to visit.
After the clothes were played for - Fred still was amazed with how generous Lilah and Wolfram and Hart were being - they had the bags sent to the hotel so they wouldn't have to drag them with them before heading out to the other shops. By the time they were done, Fred had a completely new wardrobe, including bras, panties, shoes and even make-up. She was sure that some of the people she had known wouldn't even recognize her.
Heading back to the hotel, Fred found all the bags from the shops except for the last one sitting in the bedroom. After she looked at all of it, she turned to Lilah. "Thank you so much," she told her. Then with a smile, she leaned up to kiss her.
Lilah was happy that Fred willingly allowed her to buy her new clothes. Not only did it show Fred wasn't too proud to take things, it also made Lilah feel...good. She could remember the first time she went shopping with someone from the firm. And now she was happy to be doing it for Fred.
When they were finished, and back at the hotel, Lilah was a little surprised when Fred kissed her. She wasn't expecting Fred to be comfortable enough to kiss her unless she kissed first. But, it didn't matter because it felt nice. Wrapping her arms around Fred, she slowly deepened it, moaning at the feel of Fred's tongue on hers.
Pulling back because of the need for air, Lilah leaned her forehead against Fred's. "You're welcome, Fred. Thank you for letting me do all of this for you, and helping you," she murmured before she leaned forward and softly kissed her again. She pulled back but kept her arms around Fred's slender waist.
"We have a lot of things planned for tonight. Would you like to take a short nap and then have a light lunch? Then maybe we can take a walk along the beach before we have to leave for the boat ride," Lilah suggested with a soft smile.
Fred wasn't sure why she felt so open about kissing Lilah - perhaps because she had been so free with touching her and holding her hand that she didn't feel the need to hold back around her when they were alone. All she knew was how much she liked it, especially when Lilah's arms came around her and the kiss deepened. Kissing a woman was so different than kissing a man, the way they pressed against each other, the way lips felt, the way she tasted.
When they finally parted, Fred stayed where she was in Lilah's arms and nodded at her suggestion that they take a nap before lunch. She knew that they were probably going to be out fairly late, and with everything that had been going on, things were still a bit exhausting.
"I'd love to take a walk on the beach. I...I remember liking the way the sand squishes between my toes. It's been a long time since I felt that."
She smiled up at Lilah, then turned to look at her bed, covered in bags and clothes, before letting out a soft laugh. "I think we're going to have to use your bed again if we're going to nap. I don't think all those bags are going to be too comfortable."
Lilah raised an eyebrow at Fred's boldness. It would seem the other woman was slowly coming out of her shell. "I think you're right," she said as she took Fred's hand and led her into the bedroom. Lilah laid down on the bed and pulled Fred down so she was lying beside her. And without hesitation, she wrapped her arms about the other woman's frame.
"I don't remember the last time I went for a walk on the beach," Lilah admitted. "Maybe in college?" She shrugged a little and ran her fingers through Fred's hair. "I think it was college. My freshman year I decided to go to Mexico for Spring Break. My friends drank and flashed cameras the entire time while I sat by myself on the beach."
Shaking her head, Lilah smiled at Fred. "I wasn't much of a partier I guess. I never was interested in getting drunk and sleeping with random girls or guys." Leaning over, Lilah softly kissed Fred on the lips as her hand traveled down her side and rested on her hip. She tilted her head a little so she could deepen it.
When she broke the kiss, Lilah rested her forehead against Fred's and smiled. "If I continue to kiss you I don't think we'll get much sleep," she said with a chuckle.
Lying on the bed, Fred immediately snuggled up to Lilah when she pulled her into her arms. She listened to her story in interest, wondering what it would have been like if she had ever done anything like that. She had never been able to afford anything like going to Florida or Mexico for Spring Break since she had been at school on scholarship and worked at the library to help pay for everything else that wasn't covered by that.
Not that she had been a partier either. The closest she had got was the summer she had spent smoking pot with Jack while they had been bored out their wits. That had also been the summer she had lost her virginity.
Somehow, she had a feeling that going to Mexico and just sitting on the beach like Lilah had done would have been a lot more fun. "I would have sat with you," Fred told her softly before Lilah kissed her. Resting her hand on her collarbone, she closed her eyes. Yes, sitting on the beach with her would have been a lot more enjoyable.
When the kiss ended, she opened her eyes again and laughed a bit. "I think you're right."
Part of her didn't want to go to sleep, not now, but she was also still a bit nervous. She had never been in a situation like this with another woman before. She had been attracted to other women; there had even been a girl named Elana at college she had been interested in, and they had gone on a couple of dates, but then Elana had to drop out of school when her mother became ill. Despite promises to keep in touch, they never had. Fred had transferred to the physics program about that time and got pulled into all the work required by that as well as at the libary.
"Lilah...you've...you said...you've been with other women before?" she asked, not sure what she was trying to ask her.
Lilah was running her fingers through Fred's hair when she asked her question. There was a slight pause since Lilah didn't know how to answer it. If she said yes, without explanation, then it might sound like she was hiding something. "I've been with a couple," she said, wondering if Fred would start asking questions. If when then that she decided to go into further detail.
"One was in college. She was my roommate and we used to argue all the time. She was majoring in Psychology and was opinionated about everything. Like most psychology majors are. Her name was Molly and she always told me lawyers were evil." It sometimes amazed Lilah how correct Molly had been. "One night we were both drunk and things...happened. A few weeks later, she asked for a new roommate. I think I made her uncomfortable."
Lilah shook her head. She'd almost forgot about Molly and her obvious homophobic views. Lilah had always believed Molly was just horny that night and would've allowed anyone to touch her that night. She had never placed a whole lot in that night, especially since of them were inexperienced and the sex wasn't good. But, it seemed to wake something up in Lilah and she started to view women the same way she men.
"The second one was last year," Lilah continued before nuzzling Fred's neck. "We dated for a few months." Her name had been Emily and Lilah had met her in the club Wolfram and Hart owned. Both of them were career women but Emily allowed Lilah to have the power. "She moved to France for a job and we lost contact."
She knew she couldn't allow her relationship with Emily drive whatever was happening between Fred and her. Fred was the complete opposite of Emily and Lilah knew she had to be careful. She couldn't risk pushing Fred away. She didn't want to risk losing her before getting her to the firm.
"What about you? I'm sure all the girls flocked to you, huh?" She said with a grin.
Fred lay her head against Lilah as she told her about her encounters with other women. When she mentioned that she had lost touch with Emily when she moved away, she couldn't help but think about what had happened with Elana. It seemed both of them had been through a similar situation...only Lilah obviously had more experience that she did.
When she said something about the girls flocking to her, Fred blushed and shook her head. "I think I noticed them more than they noticed me," she said, shrugging slightly. "There were girls and guys in high school that I thought were cute or hot or whatever, but nothing came of it. I was too...it just didn't."
She looked up at Lilah, propping her head in hand. "When I was in college, though...at UCLA...there was a girl in my history class. Her name was Elana, and we ended up sitting next to each other the first day in lecture. Ended up sharing notes and studying together, and I thought she was really pretty but didn't think that she could ever be interested in me until she asked me out finals week." Fred bit her lip, remembering how she had felt that day, almost forgetting how worried and nervous she had been about all her tests. "We went on a few dates and kissed a few times, but neither of us were--we wanted to take it slow. And then she had to drop out of school because her mother got sick, and she couldn't afford to stay. We promised to keep in touch, but after a few weeks, I never heard from her again."
While she told Lilah her story, her hand rubbed gently back and forth over Lilah's collarbone, the soft feel of her skin so wonderful. She had lost so much in the last six or seven years - she didn't want to lose anymore. Maybe that was where her openess with Lilah was coming from. After all that had happened, she didn't want to waste time anymore if she could help it.
"I'm really glad that I've met you," she told her.
Lilah laid still as Fred told her story about the girl who’d gotten away. It was much like her story about Emily but Fred hadn’t had the chance to become intimate with Elana. She couldn’t but to wonder if Fred would’ve if things had been different and Elana had stayed. It sometimes amazed her how other people shaped your life, even though you tried hard not to allow them to.
A smile lifted on her face when Fred told her she was glad they met. “I’m glad also, Fred,” she said as she closed her eyes. Having Fred stroke her skin was the most wonderful thing Lilah had felt in a long time. People at the firm didn’t touch each other like this out of fear of looking weak. Of course, Lilah would never openly allow Fred to touch her at the firm. No one needed to know who she was with.
The more she thought about the firm, the more Lilah wondered if she should tell Fred about the lab. She didn’t want to ruin their time away from Los Angeles by upsetting Fred. There would be time enough to tell her when they got back, but she knew she needed to tell Fred before taking her there. Lilah wanted her to trust her, and the best way to do that was to either tell Fred what she wanted to hear or be honest with her.
“We should get some sleep. We don’t want to fall asleep on the cruise,” Lilah pointed out. Leaning forward, she softly kissed Fred and then pulled back. She brushed a few strands of hair off Fred’s face and then smiled. “Get some rest. I’ll be here when you wake up.”
Fred snuggled into Lilah's arms, knowing that she could get used to this. She wondered what would happen when they returned to Los Angeles but knew they'd figure that out later.
After their nap, they woke up and had lunch out on the patio again before it was time to get ready for their cruise. Fred found herself getting excited as she did her make-up and her hair before getting dressed. The last time she thought she was going to go out, it had been disrupted, and she had thought Lilah was an awful woman for that. Now she knew how wrong she had been. Besides, she was sure that they were going to have a lot more fun that night.
Once they had finished getting ready, they headed downstairs and out to the beach. As they walked, Fred took her shoes off. They were new, so she didn't want to get them messed up and dirty, but she also wanted to feel the sand between her toes.
"I know it's silly," she said, looking over at Lilah with a shrug, "but I always liked doing this when we went to the beach in Texas."
She looked down the shoreline. "Is that where we're going down there?" she asked, pointing to the boat tethered to a pier about a half mile down.
When it was time to get dressed, Lilah picked out one of her casual dresses and a pair of sandals. She did like wearing her high heels but not on the sand. Once she was dressed, they left the room and went down to the beach. She laughed a little when Fred took off her shoes and decided to take off her sandals, knowing she didn’t want to walk around with sand in her shoes.
Looking ahead, Lilah nodded when Fred asked her question. “I believe it is,” she said as she reached over and took Fred’s hand. They continued to slowly walk down the shoreline and Lilah took several deep breaths. The beaches in Los Angeles weren’t this clean and you could actually breathe there. It was wonderful.
When they arrived at the boat, a man came down to meet them on the dock. “I’m your captain for tonight. You must be Miss Morgan,” he said, extending a hand.
“Yes, I am. And this is my very special guest Miss Burkle,” Lilah said as she smiled over at Fred.
The captain shook Fred’s hand and then led the two of them onto the boat. “This is the deck and as you can see, there’s several comfortable spots to sit,” he said. Lilah looked around and noticed a few cushioned seats. “And we have a small cabin down below with a bar and several other amenities. The cruise usually lasts about four hours. There’s a small chance of rain but I’m sure it’ll hold off.”
Giving the two a smile, the captain slipped off to raise the anchor of the boat. Lilah looked over at Fred and pulled her close for a slow kiss. When they parted, she leaned her forehead against hers and smiled. “I’m glad I’m going to share this with you,” she whispered before kissing her again.
Fred found herself grinning when Lilah took her shoes off as well while they walked along the beach. She was sure that she was doing it for the more practical reasons than Fred, but still it was nice. There was something kind of romantic about walking hand in hand down the beach without shoes on. She didn't know if Lilah saw it that way, but it was certainly how Fred felt.
When they reached the boat, Fred slipped her shoes back on and followed Lilah up the gangplank, looking around in amazement. This was more a yacht than a boat, and already, Fred could see they were going to have an amazing view of the city skyline. When the captain mentioned the rain, however, Fred looked up, frowning at the clouds that had begun to move in as the sun dipped toward the horizon. She hoped the rain stayed away too - she didn't want the cruise ruined when Lilah had done so much by arranging this.
The worry over the possibility of rain slipped away, however, when Lilah drew Fred into her arms and kissed her. Fred's eyes fluttered close for a moment, and when they parted, a smile spread over her face.
"I'm glad too," she breathed after they had kissed a second time.
The yacht pulled away from dock just then, heading out into the harbor. Standing by the railing, Fred stayed wrapped in Lilah's arms as they watched the city in the distance. The sun had gone down by that point, so the skyline was light up, awash in different colors that reflected off the water.
"This is beautiful," Fred said softly, looking at Lilah. She was beautiful too.
A while into the cruise, the captain brought the yacht around in a wide arc, going a bit farther out into the bay and turning their view toward the expanse of the Pacific Ocean. Fred stared into the darkness for a moment before grabbing Lilah's hand and pulling closer.
Just then, drops of rain began falling onto the deck of the boat.
Lilah stood on the deck with Fred and watched the skyline. It was beautiful out there and unlike in Los Angeles, you could actually see things without worrying about the smog. She kept close to Fred as the boat moved through the harbor and eventually the bay. Being with her, and sharing this with her, was a wonderful feeling and Lilah had to make sure she had Fred in her arms at all times.
While they were both staring out into the ocean, it began to rain. Lilah screeched a little and grabbed Fred's hand. She pulled her toward the cabin and after a few tries, finally got it open. She was soaking wet and shivering a little as she closed the door behind them. "So much for a slight chance," Lilah said, shaking her head.
"Sorry about that," the captain said over the intercom. "I think it'll pass soon. There's blankets in the cabin."
Lilah nodded, not knowing if they could talk to him from there. All she knew was that it was cold and she needed a blanket. Going over to where they were, Lilah picked on up and looked down at her wet clothes. She needed to get out of them and now wasn't the time to be modest. Glancing at Fred, she quickly pulled her wet dress over her head and then removed her panties and bra before wrapping herself up in the blanket.
"Do you see a place where we can hang these?" she asked, holding up her wet clothes.
Fred felt her teeth chattering a little as they stood in the cabin after dashing in out of the rain. Following Lilah over the pile of blankets, she picked one up just as Lilah took her clothes off, not even covering up until she was out of her wet things.
For a moment, all Fred could do was stare. She knew Lilah was beautiful, but glimpsing her nude took her breath away and made her heart pound faster in her chest. She was beautiful curves and perfect breasts, and Fred found herself wanting to reach out and touch her skin until Lilah asked her question, causing her to blink and pull herself together.
"Ummm..." she said, looking around the cabin. "I think that might be a bathroom. Maybe we could hang them in there."
Opening the door, she found a smallish bathroom, but with a shower large enough that they could put their clothes over the stall. She took Lilah's dress to put up to dry, then realized she was still in her wet clothes. For a moment, she suddenly panicked, realizing that if she stripped, Lilah would probably see her scars. What would she think of her? Would she...?
Biting her lip, she knew that if she wanted anything to happen with Lilah the way she had been hoping and wanting, she'd have to see her sooner or later. So she took a deep breath and stripped her dress and underthings off after kicking her shoes off. Once she had wrapped her blanket around her, she put everything up to dry in the bathroom.
"I'm...I'm still kinda cold," she whispered before laughing a little. "Too bad we can't build a fire in here. Don't think the captain would like that."
Lilah pulled the blanket around her a little tighter as she looked over at Fred. She couldn't help but to watch as the other woman undressed. Her skin was shimmering with small water drops and it made her look like a goddess. Lilah felt herself stir as she wondered what it would be like to run her fingers over it, and hear her moan.
"Cold?" Lilah said, blinking her eyes. "Oh." She looked around and saw a small couch. Lilah sat down on it and pulled Fred down next to her. She wrapped her arms around the other woman and pulled her close. Nuzzling her neck, Lilah started to run her hands over the outside of Fred's blanket. "I could warm you up, you know."
She grimaced a little at how cheesy the statement sounded but pushed it down. Her hands slipped inside of the blanket and over Fred's skin. "You're beautiful, Fred," Lilah whispered before softly kissing her. Her hands moved down and around her breasts and over her stomach. "If you want me to stop, I will."
Lilah moved her hand up and softly cupped one of Fred's breasts. The nipple was already hard from the cold so she opened Fred's blanket and leaned forward. Her lips wrapped around the pert nipple and she started to suck on it as she continued to stroke Fred's soft skin.
Fred let Lilah pull her down onto the couch, happily snuggling with her and suddenly thinking that maybe it was a good thing that it had started raining. Her breathing started to quicken, however, when Lilah's hand started to move as she said she could warm her up, and when it slipped under the edge of the blanket, her heart started pounding.
After kissing her, Fred looked into her eyes, seeing that she really did think she was beautiful. "No...don't stop...please..." she exhaled just as Lilah's hand found her breast, causing her to let out a shudder.
A moment later, she was leaning back against the couch as Lilah moved over her, teasing her nipple and touching her. Fred let out a soft cry of pleasure - it had been so long since she had felt anything this wonderful, and it was causing her to throb slightly as want and need knotted deep down inside her.
"Lilah," she moaned, her hands moving up to run over Lilah's damp hair and down to the edge of her own blanket. Slipping one underneath, she trailed her fingers down over the swell of the other woman's breast. Not wanting the blanket between them, she started tugging at it with her other hand. "Oh, God...more...want to feel you..."