It’s the morning after. The morning after. The morning after they both collapsed into Serena’s bed in a fumbling, desperate, hungry mess of limbs. Serena knows they have more talking to do, but knows that they’ll make it through. She stretches her back lazily, the 600 threat count Egyptian cotton soothing against her bare skin. Beside her, a tiny snuffling noise. A noise she’d more expect from a puppy than a grown woman, and a big macho army medic of a woman at that.
Turning on her side, Serena’s eyes soften at the sight of Bernie Wolfe waking up. The woman blinks her eyes a few times and rolls her shoulders, before reaching her arms above her head, fingers linked as she stretches. The move causes the sheet to slip off her body and Serena finds herself distracted once more by the still new sensation of seeing another woman completely naked in her bed. Last night she had acknowledged the beauty of Bernie’s body (oh, she had!) but in the fresh light of a new day she finds herself once more fascinated by the swell of Bernie’s breasts, the scar tissue nestled between them, the smaller shrapnel scars dotted along her torso like silvery stars on a clear night. She’s only aware she’s staring when the object of her gaze coughs pointedly and she returns her eyes to the other woman’s face.
“Good morning, you.” Serena whispers into the stillness of the room.
“Good morning yourself,” Bernie smiles back, less guarded before she’s properly awake. Serena leans over and pressed their lips together. Bernie reciprocates, tongue lazily flicking against Serena’s lips to gain access despite the tang of morning breath.
They know they have to get up, they have to break the unspoiled peace of Serena’s bedroom, but they’re loathe to do so when the moment feels so perfect and is still so new. But Bernie still has an airport smell clinging to her so Serena nudges her towards the en suite while she grabs her silk robe from over the chair and heads downstairs to brew coffee.
She heads back upstairs with some clothes she thinks will fit Bernie as she only has what she was wearing yesterday, her own luggage having been sent on to wait in the reception of her apartment block. Serena pauses as she stands outside the en suite. She can hear Bernie singing softly to herself from inside the shower, and Serena finds it adorable. The army medic isn’t really one for showcasing herself unless it is in trauma surgery (or, Serena reminds herself with a shiver, in Serena’s bed last night) but Serena can definitely hear the soft tones of Bernie through the door. Placing the clothes on the bed, Serena strains to hear what the other woman is singing.
“But she’ll bring out the best and the worst you can be, blame it all on yourself ‘cos she’s always a woman to me…” Bernie’s voice is slightly obscured by the sound of the shower but Serena is pretty certain she knows which song her army medic is singing, and feels touched. Perhaps she’s being irrational, she thinks. But Bernie really does appear to have changed since her return. Serena smiles to herself and goes back downstairs to make them breakfast.
Bernie wanders into the kitchen as Serena is spreading raspberry jam onto her toast. She offers a plate to Bernie and gestures at the array of items the other woman can add to her toast. Bernie opts for marmalade, some of it spreading round her mouth as she bites into the food. Serena rolls her eyes fondly and reaches forward to rub her thumb across Bernie’s lips, catching the offending dollops. Without thinking, she offers it to Bernie who sucks the whole thumb into her mouth, tongue swirling around it to catch every last drop. As she releases Serena’s thumb with a slight pop, both of their eyes darken. They blush and turn back to their breakfast.
To lighten the mood Serena says the first thing that comes into her head.
“So, when’s the last time you remember me laughing while someone was bleeding?” Bernie just looks at her with a confused expression on her face. Serena tries again.
“Would you say I’m frequently kind and suddenly cruel?” Bernie’s brow furrows and then realisation dawns on her face. She wraps her arms around herself and looks away.
“You were listening?” She sounds shameful and Serena reaches forward to wrap her arms around her.
“No! Well, sort of, yes! I heard as I was putting the clothes out and then stayed for a while because it sounded so beautiful Bernie. It’s lovely to hear you sounding so happy and unguarded, darling.” Bernie’s eyes are flitting all over her face as she speaks before she freezes, mouth falling open slightly. Serena pulls her closer, fearful that Bernie will run again.
“You’ve never called me that before.” Bernie’s voice is a gentle whisper. Serena must look confused as Bernie elaborates. “Darling.” A pause. “I like it.”
Serena vows that she will call Bernie darling every day for the rest of her life if it will always elicit such a response.
They finish their breakfast in silence, leaned against one another by the kitchen table. Serena then puts the plates in the dishwasher and heads upstairs to get dressed herself, tugging slightly on Bernie’s hand so she joins her. It takes considerably longer than she usually would take to get dressed in a simple jumper and jeans, but kissing Bernie is still so deliciously new and tempting. Bernie treats her like a precious item that she’s scared to lose. Eventually, she’s ready and they walk back downstairs holding hands, sharing secretive smiles as they exit the house. Serena waves to her next door neighbour Gary, who looks at their entwined hands but doesn’t comment, just nods politely at them.
As Serena drives them to Bernie’s apartment block, Bernie’s hand resting lightly on her thigh, she smiles to herself in spite of the rainy weather. Serena has finally fallen truly in love. With Bernie. With a woman. And she’ll always be the woman for her.