Title: Making Hank Williams Proud
Fandom: Queer As Folk
Spoilers: #215 (I think) and anything before pertaining to Leda
Rating: R. There’s some potentially offensive language herein. Not my fault though… Brian’s never said anything remotely non-offensive in his life.
Archiving: This’ll be at http://www.realmoftheshadow.com/harper.htm. If anyone else is interested, just drop me a note and ask.
Disclaimer: I don’t own the characters. Cowlip is, I suppose, in possession of the copyright for them. I don’t intend any infringement and I don’t make any profit.
A/N: This is fairly short. The look that Lindsay gave Leda was just too juicy, and I couldn’t resist sending out a tiny little exploration of what it might mean. If you don’t like the thought of Lindsay cheating on Melanie, don’t read this. If you’d like to send feedback, I’d love to receive it. I’m at Xfjnky2@yahoo.com.
Not bothering to knock, because really, when had she ever knocked, Lindsay pushed open the door to Brian’s loft and marched inside, batting away sheets of paper with distracted annoyance until she finally realized what, exactly, she had encountered. Attention snagged, she took a momentary hiatus from her quest, stopping to look at one of the sheets, beyond perplexed as to why he’d felt the need to attach the them to the strings currently criss-crossing his loft. Her cursory examination soon turned into a much more interested study as she realized that the work was quite good, and if she wasn’t mistaken had Justin’s mark on it, for which she was grateful. She’d begun to worry about the boy, even though she knew that he most certainly wasn’t a boy in any of the ways that counted. But, that only served to exacerbate her worry, especially when she’d managed to piece together the scattered clues that Brian had thrown out and realized that he’d quit working. She’d hated to think of all that talent going to waste because a half-brain with an identity problem got hold of a bat.
Which was all beside the point, really, because at the moment she had far more pressing things on her mind than Justin or Brian or their lives, and she needed advice. Needed advice from the one person she’d always been able to turn to, the one person who’d always pared away civility and given out the truth, absent any obscuring niceties.
“Brian?” she called out, ducking further into the loft. The paper was everywhere, covering the floor, and she picked her way across the wooden expanse carefully, her irritation growing as it became increasingly harder to find a clear space to step. How Brian had managed to put up with the mess cluttering up his normally impeccable loft was beyond her.
There was an annoyed rumble, the sound of bare feet padding against the floor, and then Brian was there, in all of his straight out of bed rumpled sexiness, a pair of cut-off sweatpants hanging low around his hips. But, Lindsay didn’t have time to reflect on the glory and the might have been with her past one and only hetero fuck, so she ignored the tousled straight out of bed look and merely made her way through the paper strewn living room until she was standing on the steps leading up to Brian’s bedroom. A quick glance showed her that it was occupied, the top of a bleached wheat head poking up from under navy sheets, and she sighed.
“I need to talk to you.” There was a tinge of urgency in her tone, and Brian sucked in a deep breath through his nose, rubbing a hand over his face. His eyebrows were spiking in what seemed to be three thousand different directions, and Lindsay had to push down the motherly urge that swept over her, the one that told her to lick her forefinger and smooth them into place like she would have done for Gus.
After waiting a beat, Brian quirked a brow, looking at her expectantly. “So, talk…” he prodded, frowning slightly.
He’d been quite happy to be asleep, and was finding it difficult to find the patience to deal with one of Lindsay’s hysterical fits. Fucking dykes… always drama, drama, drama.
Eyeing the bed significantly, Lindsay added, “Alone.”
Barely repressing a sigh, completely convinced that his morning was, by this point, completely ruined, Brian strode quickly back over to the bed. A quick jerk sent the sheets flying, giving Lindsay an eyeful of pale, bare skin, and she averted her eyes as quickly as she could manage, not quite able to let herself be comfortable with the sight of a naked Justin.
“Uh… wha…” the teenager mumbled, one hand flailing behind him fruitlessly, searching for the now gone covers.
With a sharp slap to the barely conscious boy’s buttocks, Brian growled, “Time to get up. I’ve got to have a sensitive chat, and you need to go take a shower or run a marathon or something.”
Rolling over onto his side, Justin looked up blearily, his unfocused eyes finally catching sight of Lindsay standing just inside the doorway, eyes averted and hands shoved in her pockets as she shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot. With an exasperated groan, he pushed himself up off of the mattress, shooting Brian a glance that said to deal with the problem and send the woman packing ASAP, before wandering off, absently scratching his upper left thigh as he padded into the bathroom. Seconds later the sound of the shower switching on filtered into the room, and convinced that it was once again safe to look, Lindsay turned back around.
The sight of Brian lounging on the bed greeted her, pillows piled up behind his back, a look of bored disinterest smoothing out his features. “Now, lets try this again. Talk…”
Sitting down gingerly on the edge of the mattress, Lindsay studied her knuckles intently for a few seconds, trying to find just the right way to say what it was she needed to say. There didn’t seem to be any right words though, so with a sigh, she blurted out, “It’s Leda.”
Brian waited for a moment before deciding that no further words were forthcoming. Letting his head drop back to bump lightly against the wall in silent frustration, he drawled, “Melanie’s ex, Leda? What about her?”
Why everyone always felt the need to come to him with their problems, he’d never know. It wasn’t as if he hired himself out as the queer Dr. Laura. And Lindsay… well, he loved her, had been more than happy to provide the Y that had made Gus, had even felt some sort of strange sense of pride at knowing that she’d always turn to him when she needed something that she thought no one else could get for her, but he couldn’t stand the baggage that went along with all of it. Like the conversing, for example. And the way she’d make him wait and dig and play the nosy best girlfriend that she didn’t have and he was never going to be.
With another sigh, Lindsay crawled up the bed until she was sprawled out beside Brian, her head resting on the pillow alongside of his. “Well, you see, its like this…”
Two Days Earlier
It was stupid. It was stupid and she knew it was stupid, but there she was anyway, a glass of ice water in one hand, condensation chilling her overly warm flesh as she made her way up the stairs. She doubted that Leda even knew she was there. After all, the other woman hadn’t been sleeping on their couch long enough to have mapped the household schedule yet, and it wasn’t as if they sat down over eggs in the morning and went over an itinerary. So far it’d just been the three and a half of them settling into an uneasy rhythm, bumping into one another whenever they went to do something, not quite used to the crowd that adding just one more person had created.
And, normally, she wouldn’t have been there. Thursdays were her half days at the University, with early morning classes and no afternoon office hours to attend to, leaving her free to pick Gus up from daycare early and spend the afternoon with him. But, she hadn’t picked Gus up, hadn’t devised any playtime fun activities for the two of them that would have kept mother and baby out of the house until Mel got home and they could make dinner and sit down and eat while trying to come up with some sort of conversation that would keep them from falling into bored silence without being a complete Mel/Leda reliving old times fest.
That would have been the smart thing for her to do, and she was well aware of that fact. Some part of her brain, the part that obviously didn’t listen to good ideas, had decided against it, however, which was how she’d ended up where she was. Two more steps and she’d be in the attic and she didn’t want to think about the reasons why she was there in the first place and not halving a Happy Meal with her son at the local McDonald’s.
Rock music was blaring out of a stereo that she couldn’t see, immersing her as she took the last two steps, as she brought herself fully into the room that would one day be her studio. She hated rock music. Classical was more her style, what with the calm, soothing strains of a mournful violin or the tinkling tease of a piano. Rock music was nothing more than a kid with a guitar and cool hair screaming away about God only knows what. She sure didn’t know what, because she never listened to it, and when forced to, consciously tried to not pay attention.
But, she couldn’t help but hear it now. Here, in her own house, seeping into her walls. And, she couldn’t help but stare at the form in front of her. Leda had her back turned, but Lindsay didn’t need to see her to be able to complete the picture.
Caramel skin lightly covered with sawdust and the fine silt of sheet rock that seemed to settle like a blanket over everything, dark hair pulled back into a haphazard ponytail. Long strands would have worked their way free by now, plastering themselves to a sweat-covered face, looking even darker stained by the wet evidence of hard work. Her white tank top would be rumpled, the once clean surface marred by streaks of dust and countless other mundane construction related things, and her jeans would be creased along her upper thighs, giving evidence to all the bending and crouching and contorting that she’d been doing.
Slim muscles would be standing out in relief along her upper arms, brought to the fore by all the lifting and cutting and sawing and hammering that fixing the DIY mess that they’d made had required. Leda would be dirty, in a way that wasn’t really dirty so much as it was mussed and sweaty and bearing the traces of all she’d come in contact with, and Lindsay licked her lips in anticipation, not even conscious of the telling gesture.
She knew she shouldn’t want her. It was wrong, wrong in so many ways that she couldn’t even begin to count them. She was married. She was a mother. Leda was Mel’s ex. Leda was going to be staying in their house for an underdetermined period of time. Lindsay had too much to lose if she got caught.
But, she couldn’t help it. Part of it was Mel’s fault. Lindsay had had six years of listening to Leda stories. Mel might not have always said they were Leda stories, but Lindsay knew. She’d hear the slight pause when Mel tried to decide whether or not to name her accomplice in whatever adventure she was recollecting, and she’d know. She’d hear the careful the evasion, the “One time, my friend and I…”, and she’d know. Mel was talking about Leda, was talking about a time before she came to live in the taming sphere of domesticity, was talking about her life before Lindsay and before the baby.
So, with six years of Leda stories floating around in her head, she’d come to expect something of the woman. Leda was Mel without the soft padding, without the business suit and the worries about a mortgage and putting away money for Gus’s college fund and a bike in the garage that she never rode.
Leda was the girl that Lindsay had always lusted after before, when she’d been free to lust over girls without feeling guilty. Before she’d met Mel, Lindsay had gone through her fair share of dating partners. Most of them were like her, basically the shy type, the ones who wanted to be bad girls but who couldn’t pull it off, who were fundamentally built to be Republicans and law-abiding citizens and taxpayers. Sure, she’d partaken in her own perhaps above average allotment of excitement, but it all came back to the fact that no matter what coat she was wearing, underneath it all Lindsay just didn’t have it in her to be the girl she wanted to be. She’d never be that girl, the one that walked into a room and oozed out enough sex appeal to pull every single person, man or woman, gay or straight, into her seductively sticky web. She’d never look right in a leather jacket, and she’d never be able to reel out tales that would enthrall and shock at the same time.
Mel had been that girl, and Lindsay had fallen for her almost immediately. Of course, she’d caught Mel as the bad girl had been wearing off. Embroiled in the rigors of a third year law school student, Mel hadn’t had time to be badass, and once out in the workforce, was never really able to return to that. There were other things vying for her attention. There was her relationship with Lindsay, which was growing steadily more serious. There was the search for the right job, with the right firm doing what she wanted to do. There was that first paycheck, and the knowledge that she’d reached the big leagues, was rubbing elbows with the major players, and before she’d even really had time to process it all, there was a family and friends and a house, and she wasn’t the same girl anymore.
Leda was that girl. Sure, she’d mellowed a little with time, but she still had her edge. When she’d reintroduced herself into Mel’s life, Lindsay hadn’t been disappointed. She’d been a little worried and a tad jealous and perhaps a little overprotective, but she hadn’t been disappointed. Leda lived up to the stories, and even if she didn’t ride her motorcycle topless anymore or leave a string of girls in her wake, she still had it, still had that elusive quality that made Lindsay’s mouth water.
And she made Lindsay think bad thoughts.
It’d been alright when she’d been in their lives but not really in their lives. Lindsay had been fine with the occasional nights out and with the drop-by visits, but with Leda sleeping on their couch, with Leda changing clothes in their living room and using their guest bathroom, things were different. Now things weren’t alright, and she’d tried to stop it, had played the jealous partner in an attempt to keep Leda out, but her heart hadn’t been in it. Some part of her had wanted to agree, had wanted to provide herself with the temptation, and so the other woman had ended up a temporary resident.
If she’d actually had a plan, then it would have been working.
The slightly breathless cry drew the blonde out of her musings, and she glanced up to see Leda looking at her, a slightly frantic gleam in her eyes.
“You scared the shit out of me. How long you been standing there?”
Lindsay took in the sight… exactly what she’d pictured, yet somehow more. Somehow larger than life, with a board dangling loosely from one hand and a tool belt slung low around her hips, Leda was every single fantasy that’d stalked her dreams come to life, and by the time Lindsay realized that she hadn’t answered, it was far too late for her to do anything other than try desperately to pretend that she hadn’t just been caught staring.
“Oh… uh… just a few minutes. I mean, not long. I was home… from school. I heard you up here and thought that you might want something to drink. So, I brought you something… some water,” she stumbled, almost insanely glad to reach the end of the horrible train wreck of words she was trying to pass off as nonchalant conversation.
When she finally managed to pull her gaze up from Leda’s chest to her eyes, she realized from the look of bemusement being shot back her way that the other woman was more than aware of her intent of her stare. Or, if not completely aware, then at least not stupid enough to think that Lindsay was doing nothing more than displaying benign interest in her home repair project.
Lips quirking up in the ghost of a smirk, Leda drawled, “Well, I certainly appreciate it. It wasn’t necessary, but who am I to turn down such an unexpected surprise.”
Which, Lindsay realized quickly, wasn’t a reference to the glass of water at all.
She almost jumped when Leda dropped the board she was holding. A quick flick of her wrist undid the clasp holding her tool belt in place, and this time Lindsay did jump, the glass in her hand slipping and shattering against the floor at the abrupt, rough movement. Her eyes were drawn to the carnage as if magnetized, and she watched, transfixed, as the water slowly snaked its way out in the abstract fingers of a non-pattern, as the ice cubes shifted and finally settled into a comfortable resting place.
“Leave it.” Leda’s voice was gravelly rough and far closer than Lindsay had expected it to be. With a gasp, the blonde looked up, startled to find the other woman now only inches away.
Nodding, unable to speak, unable to do anything more than move her head incrementally up and down and swallow repeatedly and hope that she wasn’t the only one feeling the tension, that she wasn’t looking like a complete and utter fool, Lindsay waited.
Dark green eyes seemed to deepen even further as Leda moved closer until Lindsay could feel the soft feathers of the other woman’s breath against her cheek.
“Mel?” Leda asked softly, the questioning tone implying far more than the three letters alone could contain.
Lindsay almost flinched at the word, at the name. Now wasn’t the time for serious thoughts, not when she was standing on the edge of a sharp fall into dangerously wrong and potentially destructive yet oh so desirable conduct, and she worked to purge the image of her lover, of her wife, from her mind.
“I don’t want to marry you,” she replied, her voice absurdly hoarse, and Lindsay realized that this was really going to happen, “just fuck you.”
And, it was as easy as that.
Strong hands were winding their way through the hair at her nape and thick, soft lips were pressing hotly against her own. The faint, salty sting of sweat teased her tongue as her fingers caressed foreign skin for the first time in six years, and with a low moan of unadulterated pleasure she sank to the floor, cold water burning into her skin.
“So that was it? You fucked her right there on the floor?” Brian asked, a brow arched in a gesture that was either amazement or respect. Lindsay wasn’t quite sure which one it might be, and she wasn’t at all certain that she wanted it to be either. “Mel’s ex… that’s fucking priceless.”
Shooting an irritated glare his way, Lindsay shot back, “So what the hell do I do now?”
Shoulders shrugging slightly, Brian looked at her with something akin to disgust. “Do? What the fuck do you mean, what do you do? So, you what… fucked Leda once? Got it out of your system, no harm done.”
A slight blush made its way across her pale features, and a look of resultant understanding made its way across Brian’s.
“More than once?” he asked, and this time she was more than certain that it was respect that she heard in his tone. “So what… a quickie repeat?”
Nibbling nervously on her bottom lip, eyes squinting in a grimace, she held up four fingers.
With a chuckle, Brian leaned over, snatching a cigarette from an open pack laying beside the bed. Seconds later the sharp snap of a Zippo opening and the hiss of butane filled the air, followed shortly thereafter by a stream of smoke and a muttered, “Fuck… didn’t think you had it in you, Linds. Didja do it in your bed?”
Rolling her eyes, Lindsay reached down, snapping her palm against his bare thigh.
As a non-answer, it was highly ineffective. “Who would’ve fucking guessed. You fucked Mel’s ex in your bed. In Mel’s bed. Christ Linds… you’ve got balls.”
“I changed the sheets,” Lindsay protested, the small smirk gracing her lips belying the indignant tone.
Brian was quiet for a second, his face slowly shifting into a mischievous grin. “So… was she good? I’m thinking yes, if she got a four-peat.”
Blushing hotly once again, Lindsay tilted her head down, eyes watching her finger trace abstract patterns over the soft navy blue velvet of Brian’s comforter. “I came to you for advice, not to brag.”
A short laugh was her only reply, and when Lindsay looked up to gauge her friend’s expression, Brian was looking down at her with a disbelieving sneer. “Fuck that. You were practically dying to tell someone. Don’t forget just how well I know you, Linds. Always with the sweet and innocent and sugar with no spice exterior, but underneath it all you can be just as bad and hedonistic and heartless as the rest of us. You’re proud of it, and no sense playing the worried, embarrassed little housewife with me because I ain’t buying. You want advice? Here’s your advice. Fuck your little girlfriend if you want to, just don’t get caught. Hell knows I don’t have room to take you and the brat in if Mel finds out and kicks your ass to the curb. I mean, fuck… it was about time you shed that retiring, boring Mommy-suit anyway. I say enjoy it while you can, because before you know it you’ll be back licking the same old pussy you’ve licked a thousand times already.”
With a snort of laughter, Lindsay reached over, snagging his cigarette. “That’s disgusting, Brian.”
“Yeah, I know… its why I gave it up,” he replied with a hint of smarm, snatching his cigarette back.
After an impressively aggrieved sigh, Lindsay clarified, “That’s not what I meant, and you know it. Besides, I’m still convinced that you only suck cock because you realized it took much less skill.”
Flicking his cigarette off to the side, Brian rolled over, trapping Lindsay under his long form, lowering his body until they were pressed together intimately, faces only inches apart. “Why Linds, I’m hurt. You never complained before.”
Justin chose that moment to return, towel slung low around his hips. He looked at the bed for a moment in confusion, then just shook his head, sighing. “Whatever. You guys want some breakfast? I’m cooking.”
With a giggle, Lindsay pushed against Brian’s ribs, doing little to dislodge him. “No thanks, I’ve got to go.”
“Back home to fuck your little girlfriend?” Brian whispered, his lips brushing against Lindsay’s ear.
“Girlfriend?” Justin echoed, confused. Didn’t the commitment ceremony mean that Melanie got upgraded to wife or something like that? Fucking dykes, always making everything so complicated.
Lindsay shot Brian a warning look, but with a smirk, he dismissed it. “Just remember what I said. Don’t get caught. Oh, and don’t fucking wake me up on Saturday morning ever again, you got me?”
“Its four in the afternoon,” Lindsay replied, her voice dry. “And, I won’t get caught.”
“That’s a good girl then. Now, run along and play. I’ve got my own little indiscretions to prepare for,” he grinned, leaning down to place a light kiss on her lips. Then, with a thud, he flopped back against the mattress, hooking the covers with one foot and drawing them up around his waist. “Starting with the rest of my beauty sleep.”
Rolling her eyes, Lindsay crawled out of the bed. She made her way back across the little islands of paper to the door, feeling infinitely better than she had only 30 minutes before. She’d worry about guilt and repercussions later. For the moment, she had some advice to follow.
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