Crossing the Line - Part Three

Plausible Deniability

Written by M. the Cat
Madame_Destine@yahoo.com

Disclaimer: This is a work of fan fiction. The characters belong to their various creators: Buena Vista Television / The Walt Disney Company and The Gargoyles Saga, and they are used without their express knowledge or consent.

Authorís note: The following is based on the Madame Destine story "Kaleidoscope Eyes" and follows the introductory chapter "Prelude" and the story "Pushing Back the Shadows". However it isnít set in the universe of Madame Destine or any other ficverse. It occupies a place and time of its own.

Thanks to Mooncat for setting me off on this little tangent.

Feedback please!

* * * * *

Oh shit. Iím not dreaming. I really am in Elisaís bed and Iím not alone. Elisaís here too sleeping peacefully snuggled against my chest. I hesitantly raised the covers, found we were both completely nude, then dropped the bedding back in place and covered my face with my free hand.

We had done it. The big IT. The one thing partners are never supposed to do. And this time it wasnít a drug induced hallucination, it wasnít a wet dream fantasy, it was real.

This was my fault. I knew I loved her. But I thought I could keep my feelings in check. I thought I could be her friend, her protector, her partner, anything but her lover. I was wrong.

It had been a near thing in the car last night. It was last night, wasnít it? Already it felt like a thousand years ago. Alone in the dark I had held her and when it became more than I could bear I pulled away. Like a good friend. Like a good partner should.

But I was only human and the shooting had taken its toll on me too. I should have asked someone else to drive us both home. I should have said Ďnoí when Elisa asked me up. And when she looked at me, her dark eyes bright with fear and unshed tears, I should have turned away. Instead, I took her into my arms and cradled her to me then led her by the hand to her bed.

We removed our shoes and Elisa crawled fully clothed under the covers. I hesitated, removed my jacket and tie, and lay down beside her separated by the sheets and comforter. We spooned like the two weary people that we were and soon I was asleep.

* * *

I opened one eye to confirm what my body was telling me. Yes, I was curled against Mattís chest and yes, that was his hand resting against my hip.

I was in bed with my partner and we were naked.

How had this happened? I disentangled my leg from his and rolled over on my back. My tee shirt was hanging off the headboard. I made a grab for it and held it wadded to my chest.

Touching it brought back tactile memories of the night before. How Matt had cried out caught in the grip of a nightmare. How in the midst of my own night terrors I had reached for him and we had held each other. We murmured nonsense babble, reassuring phrases neither of us believed. His mouth found mine and we kissed. It wasnít a soft kiss. It wasnít the kiss of strangers. It was the kiss of two desperate people too afraid to face their fears alone.

Suddenly there were too many layers between us. We pushed the blankets away but that wasnít enough. I wanted him to touch me like he had in the car. I wanted to feel his hands against my skin. I tore off my shirt and flung it away. We kissed again.

Our lovemaking was frantic. In the darkness he pushed me down onto the mattress as I worked the buttons of his shirt. It fell free and he shrugged out of it dropping it off the bed.

He straddled my hips and I fumbled with his belt and the zipper of his pants as he pushed my bra off my breasts and bent his head to suckle. I moaned in pleasure as he rubbed his cheek, rough and unshaven, against my ribs. He began to plant soft kisses from my belly to my hip but I wanted him so badly I pulled his face back to mine as I worked to strip him of his pants and boxer shorts.

He shifted his weight and pushed at them until they were down around his ankles and I helped him kick them free. I touched him, savoring the warmth of him as I spread my legs in invitation. He nodded and then he was there filling me, not as Goliath did where it bordered on painful, but completely all the same. I sighed as he began to thrust.

It went on an eternity. It was over in a minute. Iím not sure. I closed my eyes and the world spiraled away.

We held each other. Kissed each other. We fell asleep again soon after and the dreams stayed away.

* * *

What was I supposed to do? Is there some kind of guide for situations like this? Should I stay?

Should I go?

Elisa was stirring next to me. Cautiously, I looked down. She was awake and her eyes met mine. "Good Morning?"

She shrugged as if she hadnít made up her mind yet and gathering comforter to her like they do on television, she slipped from the bed. "Iím going to make coffee."

I nodded. When she cleared out of the bedroom I sat up, let my head fall back against the headboard and rapped it sharply. "Stupid! Stupid!"

It didnít help. I was still naked in Elisaís bed. We had still slept together. And now my head hurt. I got out of bed. It took a few minutes to find all of my clothes and most of hers. I left her jeans and socks in a pile on top of the rucked up bedding.

I was still unsure of the etiquette of the situation, but I knew I needed a shower. I took my stuff into the bathroom and went to soak my head.

* * *

I heard the water start to run in the bathroom just as I pressed the start key on the coffee maker. I looked down at the bedspread Iíd wrapped myself in and found something else to feel mortified about. I snuck back into my room and from the dresser pulled underwear, a tee shirt and a clean pair of jeans and started to dress.

Matt and I would have to talk but I had no idea how to start that conversation. I was wondering if things could be any more fouled up then I looked at the calendar sitting on the dresser. Something nagged at me and then it hit me. Matt hadnít used a condom. On top of everything else weíd done wrong, weíd had unprotected sex.

I couldnít think straight as the implications of that caught up with me. I ran back into the kitchen and threw up in the sink.

* * *

I heard the sound of heaving coming from the kitchen as I buttoned my shirt. I shoved my necktie into a pocket and found Elisa still clutching the counter. "Are you all right?"

She shook her head, turned on the faucet and rinsed out the sink. I found some soda in the fridge, popped a can open and handed it her.

"Thanks."

"Elisa." It was all so damned cliché. "We need to talk."

I watched as she raised the can to her lips and took a sip before she turned to face me. "I know." She looked miserable. "Iím just not sure what to say."

I poured myself some coffee and moved into the living room. She trailed behind me. I sat. She stood. I drank coffee in silence for a while then tried again. "Remember the drug-dream I had where I thought you and I-" She nodded before I could finish. "It wasnít anything like what happened last night."

She looked at me for the first time since Iíd entered the room. "What do you mean?"

I took a deep breath. Confession may be good for the soul but itís hell on the self-esteem. "In my whatever it was we got together because we were both hurting, just like last night. But it was-" I stopped. There was no way I was going to get through this without sound like a complete shmuck.

"It was what?" she prompted. Hesitantly, she sat down on the couch beside me.

I closed my eyes so I wouldnít have to look at her. "It was perfect. It was romantic. We made love. But last night-" I flashed back on the desperate struggle as our bodies sought each other and I set down the cup because my hands had started to tremble. "We didnít make love last night, Elisa. We had sex. We needed each other, yes. I think I needed you last night more than Iíve ever needed anyone in my entire life. But what happened wasnít because of what was in our hearts."

"Is that supposed to make everything okay?" she said bitterly. "It was just sex, Elisa, so get over it?"

I shook my head and turned to face her. "No. Thatís not what I meant at all." I was frustrated. Nothing I said sounded right. "Iím not trying to rationalize last night but I donít think we should feel guilty over it either."

I gripped both of her forearms. A nerve was jumping in her cheek and she was biting at her lower lip to keep it from trembling. "How can we not?" Her misery was awful and I wished there were something I could to do to ease her pain. That I was the source made my guilt all the more terrible. "I broke my vow to Goliath. You cheated on Sara. They trusted us."

"Youíre right," I acknowledge. "But we canít undo whatís done."

"Stupid immutable time," she muttered. She took a sip of soda, grimaced and reached for my coffee. "So what are we going to do?"

I suppose confessing how much I love you and then eloping to Rio is out of the question. "Donít tell Goliath," I said instead. "Thereís no point. Iím not going to say anything to Sara."

A brief flicker of fear clouded her eyes. Was she anticipating Goliathís reaction to her infidelity? "No, of course not," she said sharply. "This stays between us."

"Iíll request a new posting if that would make things easier."

She looked at me appalled. "Matt, you canít! Not after last nightís shooting. Weíve got to stick together or the Hastingsí attorney will think somethingís fishy."

I got up, found another mug and poured myself a fresh cup of coffee. Iíd been so concerned about the personal stuff between us Iíd forgotten all about the bigger picture. Suddenly I felt something that could have been hope and the knot in my stomach loosened just a little. "So youíre saying for the sake of the case, we should stick this out?"

"If Iím asking too much-"

Sweetheart, you have no idea. "No. Itís okay. Itís fine." I looked up at the clock. Weíd slept until nearly two. "Itís late. I should go."

Elisa followed my gaze. "Jalapeña!" she exclaimed. "I have my session with the shrink in half an hour, but if we donít get this place cleaned up Goliath is going to know what happened the minute he walks in."

I didnít understand. "How?"

Elisa ran into the bedroom and started stripping the bed down to the mattress cover. She thought a second and then added it to the pile. "Heíll smell us. Heíll smell you."

Oh great. That famous gargoyle sense of smell coupled with Goliathís not inconsiderable temper. "Iíll take care of it. You get ready to leave."

She looked at me and both relief and doubt played over her features. I went to her and took the bundle of laundry out of her hands then kissed her chastely on the forehead. "Go."

"Thank you, Matt." She disappeared into the bathroom but I couldnít help noticing she locked the door behind her.

* * *

I turned the lock behind me then started the shower. While the water was heating I stripped off again and checked my body for evidence of our lovemaking. Aside from a small spot at the top of my ribs where Mattís razor stubble had abraded me, I was clean. I stepped into the shower and closed my eyes as the water washed over me.

Iíve been listening to people tell me stories for years now and I think Iíve become pretty good at spotting the lies. The best ones are either so bald-face that you donít believe the person has the temerity to tell them or theyíre couched in half-truths that make them seem credible.

Mattís big speech letting me off the hook had been full of the second kind. Itís true that the sex had been unromantic. We had both been too needy for soft words and love play. But before in the car and afterwards when we held each other close, that was different. There had been few words but I could feel how much he cared for me, how much he loved me. I knew that there was a part of me that loved him too and not just as a partner and a friend.

The guilt overwhelmed me and I started to cry. I let tears fall while I washed my hair and scrubbed the last traces of Matt from my body then I turned off the hot water and let the cold blast down on me. I had no time for this. It was nearly time to leave for my appointment with the police shrink and I needed to get ready to tell a few lies myself.

* * *

I started with the most incriminating evidence. I dumped the wad of bedding I now held in my hands into the laundry basket. I added her discarded clothing then thought of the towel Iíd used. Elisa was still in the bathroom and I had heard her turn the lock. Iíd have to worry about it later.

I retrieved the laundry detergent from under the sink, then making sure I had the key to the front door on me, I headed into the hallway to the launderette. I thanked Mr. X. for keeping the other penthouse permanently vacant so I didnít have to worry about inquiring minds wondering why I was doing Elisaís laundry. When the machine started working I went to destroy the rest of the evidence.

I wondered if Elisa had bought my story as I cleared away the coffee stuff. I could hear her moving rapidly around the bedroom, then the whine of a blow dryer. It shut off after a couple of minutes and when she came out her hair was damp and pulled back into a ponytail.

"Youíll lock up?" Her voice was quiet.

I nodded. "Your keys are under the mirror."

"Thanks." And then she was gone.

It was nearly four when I let myself out of the apartment. I replaced the bedding and sprayed the room down with air freshener. I vacuumed. When I started wiping surfaces to obliterate fingerprints I knew I was letting fear get the better of me and it was time to leave.

So I left.

* * * * *

Part Four