She hit the passenger side of her car, her back being pushed up against the cool glass and metal, while Holly pressed the warmth of her own body into her front. She still wanted her closer though, her hands roaming over Holly's back, from her shoulder blades down to her ass, pulling her in further, while their tongues were engaged in their usual dance. They had acquired quite the repertoire during the past weeks they had been... doing this. It started out with a waltz – in step and energetic but solemn, yet still somewhat shy, hesitant, distant – before settling into a confident foxtrot, the run-of-the-mill of ballroom dancing – familiar, simple, easy, uncomplicated, a solid foundation for what would be about to come. Then, a little over a week ago, they practiced the art of tango, each brush of the tongue, each touch of their lips, filled with passion, intensity, almost unbearable tension, which after a few days finally gave way to release – when they could no longer not rip the clothes off each other's bodies, when they felt like they had to feel the other one, all of them. When they couldn't resist the urge to make each other come undone any longer, the desire to implode and crumble under the other's touch. Tonight – tonight it was rock 'n' roll. Fast, upbeat, happy, a little sloppy maybe – courtesy of the alcohol – but driven by the undeniable attraction between them.

Gail knew where this was going. Or at least she hoped she knew. She certainly knew where she wanted it to go. Ever since that night a week ago, it was all she could think about. She grabbed Holly by the belt and spun them around, so that Holly's back was now pressed up against the car, all the while never losing touch of her lips. Her hands traveled up her body slowly but forcefully, brushing up against Holly's stomach, her ribcage and her breasts, until one of them held on to the nape of her neck while the other got tangled up in Holly's long brown curls. Reluctantly, Gail pulled back and fixated Holly, both of them panting heavily. It took her a while to compose herself, until she was finally able to speak.

"So. I think we should take this to my place. Or yours, maybe?"

The guys would probably out. And even if they weren't, Gail didn't really care all that much. She may not be ready to tell the world about her and Holly yet, but it wouldn't be the worst thing if people found out either. Still, she was kind of hoping to see Holly's place for the first time tonight, to add another piece to the puzzle.

Holly stared into Gail's eyes for a long moment before pressing a slow and soft kiss on her lips. She enveloped Gail's face in her hands and rested her forehead against the blonde's, closing her eyes and taking deep breaths. Her hands traveled down towards Gail's chest, grabbing the collar of her coat. Slowly but forcefully, as if it cost her every inch of strength she had, she pushed Gail away from her, holding her at a distance, and finding her eyes again.

"Gail, I... I can't do this. I'm sorry. I just can't."

"What?" Gail chuckled. Holly couldn't be serious. She was sure this was some kind of joke. But holding Holly's gaze, the realization that she actually meant it slowly sunk in and wiped the smirk from Gail's face, replacing it with disbelief, fear and uncertainty.

Holly closed her eyes and shook her head slowly. "I'm sorry, Gail. So, so sorry."

"What the fuck are you talking about? What just happened?" Gail felt the sting of tears in her eyes and did her best to hold them back. She was not going to show any weakness.

"Nothing... Nothing happened. It's not you, Gail. Please, believe me. I really am sorry. More than you can know. But we can't do this. I... can't do this. Sorry." She released Gail from her grip and, after running her thumb softly down Gail's cheek, turned around and walked away, leaving Gail to give in to her tears.

...

She hated walking. Usually. Tonight though, she was just walking around aimlessly, extending her walk home more and more. She felt like as soon as she would reach her destination, close the door to her room, whatever happened tonight would somehow become more true – like as long as she kept walking, she would remain in a Schroedinger-cat-like state, in which Holly may or may not have just pulled the plug on their thing. Whatever that was. So she just kept walking, going through a range of emotions repeatedly, alternating between desperate sobs, self-pity, indignation and rage, and sheer bewilderment. She had no idea what had just happened. She had no idea why.

She recalled their evening together. Where did it go wrong? Was it something Gail said? Something she did? Of course it was. What else should it be? As always, she must have managed to fuck it up. Frankly, she was quite surprised it had taken so long. She had picked up Holly from work and taken her to the Penny for a burger and a few drinks. Even though she wasn't ready yet, she knew that in the not too distant future she'd want everyone to know that this gorgeous, brilliant, funny, incredible woman was all hers, that she was the one who got to take her home after a long day, that she was the one who got to kiss those lips, that she was the one whom she trusted more than she ever had anyone; so she thought she'd start incorporating Holly into her circle of friends – as much as she hated calling some of the people from 15 that, that's what they were – little by little.

The two of them sat in their booth, talking and laughing, just a few feet away from Gail's friends, one or the other of them coming over to their table for a quick chat, or buying them a round of tequila, or at least throwing a quick hello at both of them in passing. That was the plan. Holly getting to know her friends, without any big kind of announcement. And it seemed to work. Chris and Dov came over with a couple of shots, Dov going on and on about his trivia quiz nights, having found an appreciative audience in Holly, which earned her an invitation to the next one. Oliver came over to mock Gail about her chasing a suspect earlier today in his typical, playful Oliver fashion – asking whether all those cheese puffs are finally starting to slow her down – all too quickly finding an ally in Holly. And as much as she pouted and scoffed about the two of them ganging up on her, she secretly enjoyed every second of it. Before they left, Traci and Steve stopped by at their table. As almost always, Steve told Gail to call their mom, before striking up a conversation with Holly about a case they were both working on, while Traci told Gail the latest news of Leo and confirmed their plans for Gail to take Leo for a day the following weekend. Gail was sincerely happy with their evening so far when they left the Penny. She didn't think anyone really knew what was going on between them, although she suspected that Traci, Oliver, Chris and Steve surely may have had an idea. Anyway, it was a fun night, and Holly seemed to be enjoying herself as well.

She didn't really know why, but somehow tonight was special for her. It was their first proper date – apart from a few lunch and coffee breaks during work – ever since they had sex for the first time last week. And after they had crossed that line, Gail wanted to cross the next one – the being official one – starting tonight. She felt like she wanted them to be something more, like Holly wanted that as well. She felt like they actually were something more than they had been willing to admit, or able to realize, or maybe they just really were more than they were a week before.

She had hoped to get more of what happened a week ago. That night had left her completely undone, breathless, desperately craving more. And it had accelerated her fall for Holly beyond imagination. She remembered how she felt before. Her palms sweaty, her hands shaking, her heart beating out of her chest, with excitement and desire, but mostly with fear. She was scared shitless, a feeling that she never associated with sex before. She was always confident enough to trust in her own abilities. And she supposed she never cared enough to give a crap about what her counterpart thought of them. But Holly was different. That was a pattern that seemed to repeat itself, wasn't it? So that night, when they drove to her place, when she turned the key in the lock, when she led Holly to her bedroom and started undressing her, she was afraid.

She was afraid she wouldn't do it right, that she wouldn't be able to please Holly, that she would find her lying naked in front of her, and she wouldn't know what to do with all her parts. Mostly though, she was afraid that she wouldn't like it. She knew that she found Holly attractive. She knew how her body reacted to the feel of Holly's lips on hers, on her skin, how feeling Holly's body pressed against hers made her stomach do flip-flops, how her heart skipped a beat when she traced Holly's curves with her eyes or her hands. But what if she wouldn't like the actual sex? What if she just wasn't into that? What if naked breasts and vaginas and all the stuff that came with it just wouldn't do anything for her? Where would that leave them? She knew she was falling in love with Holly. Slowly – as rapidly as she let herself – but surely. She knew that she didn't want to go back to just friendship, that she couldn't possibly do that even if she wanted to. So if she wouldn't like the sex, she'd be fucked – no pun intended. Luckily though, as she teased Holly's nipples with her tongue, as Holly's hand passed the threshold of her panties, as Holly's body writhed under Gail's touch, as Gail's blood was drained from her head and she was overcome with pure pleasure, she knew that she had not a thing to worry about in that department.

She had hoped for more of that for tonight, and no matter which way she spun it, she couldn't find the thing that set Holly off. This was why she kept people at a distance. If she hadn't let her guard down, hadn't gotten too comfortable, she wouldn't be struggling with all these feelings right now, wouldn't be agonizing about what had happened and why. Maybe this was some kind of divine retribution, karma hitting her in the face with a shovel. Maybe it was all just too good to be true. The past weeks with Holly had been kind of perfect, after all. Well, as perfect as Gail would ever let something be.

...

The night after the shootings, Holly had taken her home – to Gail's place, since Holly's was being remodeled. They sat in Holly's car in silence, staring at Gail's building for a while, until Gail took Holly's hand and sent her an unspoken plea to not leave her alone tonight. Gail led them to her bedroom in silence, pulling out clothes for Holly and pointing her to the bathroom. Gail had already curled up under the sheets when Holly got back. Suddenly, she felt a warm body pressed up against her back, and a hand slowly sliding down her arm until Holly's fingers entwined with Gail's.

"What are you doing?" There was a hint of panic in Gail's voice and her body had tensed up. This was not cool.

"Holding you." Holly whispered, as if that would get Gail to relax. Maybe it even worked a little. Still, she didn't give in so easily.

"Yeah... I don't do... holding." She made sure the dismay was clearly heard in her voice, although what came out was mostly insecurity.

"But I do." She could tell Holly was smiling, probably amused with the futile resistance Gail had put up.

"But..." Ok. Now she definitely sounded more like a petulant child than anything else.

"Shhh. Try." Her voice was still a whisper, but stern nevertheless. And that was the end of discussion.

And she did try, and realized that it wasn't so hard after all. In fact, it was much easier than resisting, it was warmer, more comfortable than resisting. Somehow, unexpectedly, after a long, horrible day full of fear and strain and uncertainty, the rise and fall of Holly's chest against her back, the gentle puffs of Holly's breath grazing her neck, the fingers that were tangled into hers, gave her a feeling of peace, a promise that everything was going to be alright, that she was safe.