Hey guys, hope you are all doing ok in these difficult and strange times of 2020. Hope you enjoy this chapter and I'm sorry it has taken this long. It was really hard to think of an idea and as a lot of writers will understand self doubt got in the way.

'You don't understand Dr Sullivan. She won't touch me. We haven't...I can't.' Alison struggles to get the words out 'Every time we start to become intimate she stops. I don't know why it's like she just freezes up.' The two women had tried to be together for weeks since the night of the storm and then again after leaving the church with the faith that they would be alright again. That they could be happy again. Unfortunately every attempt had been anything but perfect. Either one would find an excuse or both would totally freeze on the spot before much of anything had even happened. It was like they were in limbo. None of it made sense. Sex between them had always been great. They'd never had issues before. Both would get there and enjoy getting there several times but now?

'And you?' Dr Sullivan asked

'Me?'

'Do you find that you freeze up also? Perhaps you are both afraid to open yourselves up to each other again of being vulnerable again. It will take time to return to the people and the couple you once were Alison. There's no shame in that.'

'You know, sometimes I wonder can she love this version of me even when I don't even know this version of myself?' She admittedly sadly.

'Does Emily feel this way also? Maybe she feels you won't love the new version of her. The one that got by without you for so long, like you did her. I still don't know the details of your breakup but I can gather that you love her very much. I'm sure she feels the same for you. Only in moments of total vulnerability can you both conquer your fears. Have you tried talking to her about it?'

'Sex was something we did to avoid talking. Not all the time but some and to avoid fighting. We've never been great at the talking thing. I guess that's why I'm back here with you.' Alison answered

Dr Sullivans clock chimed on the wall. 'Well as our session is up I have some homework for you. The next time you start to become intimate I want you to take a mental note of when it happens.'

'I'm not sure I follow.'

'For example, is it a spur of the moment romantic gesture. have you just had an argument. What ever it happens to be take that mental note and we'll discuss it next time.'

'What if we don't? Become intimate I mean. What do we do then? What does it matter the how and when we have sex?

'That's what you have to find out for yourself. Shall we say same time in about 2 weeks or so but I'd like to see both you and Emily next session alright to see how your relationship has progressed.'

'Hey, how was spin class?' Emily asks seeing Alison walk in the front door. That's where Alison had told Emily she was going.

'U didn't go to spin class. I went to Dr Sullivan again. I'm sorry I lied. It's just she's good to talk to.'

'Seriously? Ali, we said we would try to talk with each other this time round. We promised remember? No more secrets. No more lies.'

'Fine but I might need some wine to get through it.' Emily disappeared into the kitchen grabbing a bottle of red and some glasses while Alison made herself comfortable in the sitting room.

'So?...start talking'' Emily jokes handing her the glass taking a seat.

Alison took a long sip before swallowing am placing it down on the coffee table next to Emily's glass 'I went to see her again. I needed her advice.'

'About what?' Emily snapped. 'I thought we were going good. We are aren't we?'

Alison avoided me to Emily's eye instead focusing on the floor ''Yes of course we are but one thing isn't like it was and she suggested that we see her together for another session. Would you be open to that?'

Emily's silence was deafening so the blonde spoke again. 'We've been back together now for almost 3 months and we haven't-' Alison paused as her cheeked flushes pink.

'I know.' Emily said softly sweeping her hand across the other woman's face. 'It's just gonna take some time for us to get back there. I don't want to mess this up again & I know you dont either. We can take it as slow as we want. There's no rush but if you're really worried about it-do you really think Dr Sullivan can help us? I mean she's not a qualified sex therapist or anything what she could she possibly do or say that could help us?'

'Please Emily we need to do this. It's worth a try isn't it?' Alison begged her hand squeezing Emily's that rested between them. 'If we can get back to some form of a normal life not to mention sex life I think it's worth trying. Don't you? Just one session?'

Seeing her girlfriend so deflated like this was more than enough to get the brunette to agree. 'Alright I'll go. When's your next session?'

'In a few weeks.'

'Fine I'll go.'

A naked Emily lay in bed staring at the moon from the open window of her third floor apartment. Her mind wide awake and ticking over the events of earlier this evening. She and Mona had gotten drunk again and slept together again. It was going fine and they were in the zone until it happened. Emily had said Alisons name. Although being this drunk may have given anyone else a free pass at saying wrong name during casual sex it didn't however for Emily. For Mona it had been downright humiliating but ultimately wasn't surprised. A drunken slip of the tongue was still a slip of the tongue. It meant something to Emily. The owner of the name still held her captive. Her whole being was imprisoned by the dilaurentis woman and it was not going to give it up easily. She went over the conversation again in her mind.

'Mona I didn't mean-she means nothing to me now. It's over.'

'I think if it were over between you two you wouldnt have whispered 'i love you Ali' in my ear. It's not over for you Emily. It's been what? A few months? She may have left you but she's not gone.' Mona paused taking a beat 'look, call me if you ever wanna talk ok? Just give it some time.' Emily just tightened her grip on the almost empty tequila bottle she'd found amongst the sheets of the bed.

'And no more booze. You drink any more You'll take the gold for America.' Mona said harshly retrieving the bottle from Emily who fought to keep it. After successfully taking the bottle Mona slipped on her jeans and tank top with a 'Bye Emily.' and was gone. Ending this whatever it was with Emily as quickly as it had started was the right thing to do. This was the first good decision she had made in as many days.

Emily's slip up had woken Mona up. Who was it helping? Nobody. What they were doing wasn't healthy. It was time to go home, take a shower and sober up. Hence why Emily lay in bed alone wide awake with only her plagued thoughts for company.

Here she was again alone, sad and hungover. It was becoming a habit and a bad one at that. However this wouldn't be the last of Emily and Mona. They would go on a few more months on and off until Mona would leave for the last time taking a suitcase and all her belongings.

Emily and Alison were seated in the waiting room of Dr Sullivan waiting for her to return from an errand for their session and Emily was on chewing on her bottom lip. The past week had her recall an incident with Mona where she had said Alisons name during sex and now here she was again having problems. Sex used to be the easiest thing in the world. It was the feelings connected with it that were the problem and now it was the opposite.

'Ali can we please go? This whole thing is so stupid. It's totally stupid. Can we just try to get passed it in our own way by ourselves?'

'I think that ship has sailed Em. We need help.'

Emily scoffed. 'Maybe you do.'

'What's that supposed to mean?'

'Nothing just forget it. I'm out of here. I need a drink.'

'It's bloody 10am Emily. You can't go a single day or better yet an hour without wanting a drink. You really think I'm the one that needs help? Let me remind you that I was the one to pick you up after your countless benders after Mona left you because guess what you still loved me. That's why we're here. We love each other-'

'I thought we loved each other too but we keep fighting like this I'm not sure what to do anymore. We obviously are beyond help and I refuse to do therapy. it's for crazy unhinged people and I am not unhinged. I'm going home. The only question is are you coming with me?' Emily replied angrily

'You are so bloody stubborn!. I don't want to believe I wasted so many days thinking of you at the wellness centre. Dreaming of the day I might see you again and be with you again. I hope to god I've not wrong in still wanting a future with you.' Soft tears appeared in the corners of her eyes.

'You think I'm stubborn? Well you're a complete control freak. As for wasting time it's this right here. You're always the one that makes the decisions in this relationship-'

'Because you refuse to!' Alison interrupted 'I'm done with this.' She huffed rising time her feet 'Call me when you decide to grow up and have an actual adult conversation about where this relationship is going. Until then don't call. Don't text. Don't come by. I'm going home grabbing a bag and I'll be staying at the Hilton.' Alison said finally storming out.

'Fine by me. I can't stand to look at you right now.' Emily yelled after her. It was then that Dr Sullivan turned up 'Hello, you must be Emily I just saw Alison leaving is this now a solo session or a rescheduling?'

'I'm sorry we've wasted your time Dr Sullivan but we won't be needing the session. I have to go.' Emily swiftly grabbed her belongings leaving Dr Sullivan totally perplexed.

Having been left without a car she headed on foot for her favourite bar a few blocks away. It was drinking time again. Bad habits die hard they say. She didn't care.

'Hey Joe, can I get a refill over here?' She beckoned to the bar tender

.

'Fields.' He greeted with a smile. 'I wondered when you'd be back. Where's your cute girlfriend? Pretty brown eyes. I haven't seen either of you in here for a while.'

Emily knew it wasn't a good thing to be on first name basis with bartenders but at this point what did it matter? Nothing seemed to go right or matter anymore.

'We aren't together anymore. I got back together with my ex girlfriend before Mona and now I think that's gone to shit too. Maybe I'm better off alone?'

'No one is better off being alone Fields. Trust me on that. Now I'll give you a piece of advice someone once gave me.'

Emily lifted her head from the bar 'ok I'm listening.'

'Go home. Take some aspirin. Get some sleep. tomorrow's a new day. Make it count for something. If you want things to swing your way make a change.'

'You know I think you're right but what should I do about my girlfriend? It's too damn hard.'

'You're preaching to the choir but go work it out it's no good sitting here feeling sorry for yourself.'

Emily downed her last shot determinedly, her head buzzing she knew what she had to do.

—-

Alison hung her head as tears fell without pause. A heaviness in her chest one she was all to familiar with. Yet again her and Emily had come to stop. 'Why can't we make it work?' She cried 'why can't we get it right?'. They'd hit another iceberg. It was always the same. They'd be fine and then without warning iceberg dead ahead. She had checked in to a hotel and sat in a ball on the on the floor letting it all out. Her shoes kicked off to the side and a bottle of red wine at the ready no glass in sight. Just an open bottle not yet touched but she wanted to down the whole lot. It took everything in her to leave it there next to her. Her thoughts muddled. Her emotions all over the place, a lump in her throat and the very cure to help her forget today's awful events was sitting in the bottle.

'Screw it.' without hesitation gulped it down only stopping to take a breath when she downed a quarter of it. Ignoring the burn in her throat as it made it's way downletting each mouthful erase her mind. 'At least one thing in my life is consistent.' She said to herself 'To being constantly disappointed and depressed.' She said charging her wine bottle clumsily into the air sloshing some of its contents on the shag rug and her white and jeans. She'd pay for that tomorrow-literally.

Getting to her feet not at all gracefully as a knock at the door drew her attention. 'I don't need r-rum service' she slurred managing to turn the handle.

'I'm not room service but I'll service you anyway.' A drunk Emily was hanging off the wall next to the door her eyes dark with lust.

'Oh go away you good for nothin. It's late and I don't want to see you.' Emily pushed the blonde aside staggering into the room and turned trapping Alison between the now closed door and herself crashing her lips hard against the blondes. Alison was frozen but her lips moved against Emily's loving how it seemed to awaken those intense feelings she'd had for her way back in school she thought had disappeared. Her head foggy, her body on fire. Whether it was the alcohol working its way through her body or her lusting after the woman before her she couldn't be sure . 'Em,' the blonde said breathlessly.

'Anything y-ou want it's yours baby.' Emily purred assaulting Alison's neck with soft but passionate kisses. The blondes hands fumbled for Emily's waist pulling and tugging at her shirt feeling the skin underneath as goosebumps rose underneath her fingertips. Emily moaned appreciatively and Alison smirked against her lips.

'Tonight there's only one rule. No talking and no thinking.' The brunette said firmly moving her way down the blondes neck to her exposed cleavage 'that's two rules'

'Fine two rules. Now kiss me.' Alison complies with the request unbuttoning the brunettes jeans pushing them off her hips leaving her standing in underwear, not once breaking contact with Emily. Within seconds Alison tip had found its way to the floor as they moved swiftly to the bed. Tangled limbs, a flurry of heated kisses, guttural moans and sweat….

'I'd forgotten about your mermaid tattoo Emily.' Alison smirked eyeing it on the other woman's hip tracing with her finger as her head lay on the other woman's bare chest. Both buzzed with alcohol lay naked and entangled together, breathless and finally satisfied in the sheets.

'That was amazing. I think it's my best work.' Emily laughed stretching her limbs feeling deliciously sore all over. Alison giggled 'Can't argue with that. That's the most fun I've had getting there in a long time.'

So that's another chapter. I'm not that happy with it but anyways it's done now. Xx