First Time For Everything
Helena hoped the warmth of her greeting would convey to Myka how happy she was to see her. Myka couldn't feel anything. She was expecting a stranger and stood there, mouth agape. Her heart started to pound in her chest as she tried to decide which feeling to act on. Myka was motionless as everything this woman evoked, came flying at her. She looked at those dark eyes that seemed so warm. She inhaled that damn perfume that made her knees feel weak. How was she there, invading the one place she thought no one would find her?
"Helena..?" Myka said trying not to let the shock show. Her throat felt like it was closing, her eyes felt as if tears were pushing to get out, and she was certain her lower lip was quivering. Myka had been putting all her energy into holding these feelings back, and now this woman's mere presence was ripping down the walls and allowing the feelings to erupt.
"You can ask me anything you want," Helena said again smiling sincerely.
Maybe if Myka had some warning that Helena was going to invade her home she could have prepared for this. Myka was always prepared, but she had nothing in her arsenal for the reaction to Helena standing in front of her. This woman had pushed her to the edge - figuratively and literally.
Helena remembered her instructions not to pressure, so she let the silence hang between them. She smiled and picked up the book on the counter.
"The book was a ruse," Helena said hoping to point out that she went to some trouble to see Myka.
The sight of the woman who had done so much to her – smiling and holding her treasured book - was the breaking point. Helena momentarily wondered what the wide eyed expression on Myka's face meant and she was about to find out. Myka finally stopped denying the hurt that was bubbling up in her chest. Then Myka did what every nerve ending in her body said to do –
She slapped Helena across the face – hard.
The overcast weather gave Pete and Claudia a better view of the inside of the store and when Myka let loose, Pete shot up from his seat and grabbed his face – as if he felt the smack. Actually, what he was feeling was conflicted. He was the woman's bodyguard - and she had just been hit.
"Holy crap!" Claudia yelled out when she saw Helena's head spin sideways from the blow. She pulled Pete back to his seat, turned her laptop to face them and suddenly he was watching a live feed inside the store.
"Whaaat? I may have placed a book on the shelf there before when I said I was going to the bathroom, but I swear Ms. Bering didn't see me," Claudia explained.
Pete just stared at her. "You need help," he said and meant it.
Helena grabbed her cheek instantly. She had never felt anything like it. Not in one hundred and forty-six years had Helena G. Wells ever been slapped. Now the shock was on her face, along with the red imprint of Myka's hand.
"That is my book," Myka said grabbing it back from the woman she had just assaulted.
Helena was not sure of what to do next. Her normal disposition was to allow her own anger to direct her next move, but her instinct got her into this mess.
"I know you're upset and you have every right…," she said, rubbing her cheek to sooth the wound.
"Do not tell me my rights, Helena. I know my rights," Myka said trying to keep her voice from cracking.
"Myka, I came here to …," Helena tried one more time.
"To what Helena? Further berate me? Try and confuse me more? Annoyed I beat you at your own game?" Myka said holding the book in front of her like a shield.
"Myka, it's not a game….," Helena tried with more patience than she had packed. She stepped away from the counter strategically putting a little distance between them in case of another blow.
"Don't lie to me, Helena," Myka said and started to walk towards the Brit. "You…..," Myka said and stopped. She looked at the shelf. There was a book out-of-place.
Pete and Claudia watched in horror as Myka's hand came at them on the screen. She took the odd-looking book off the shelf and opened it in front of a curious Helena and ripped out the camera.
"Oh oh," Claudia said slipping down into the booth.
"You were spying on me?" Myka yelled.
"I did no such thing! I have no idea how that got there," Helena said and started to walk backwards down the aisle to keep the safe distance - although she was certain her Kenpo skills would catch the next strike.
"Look, I know this is a bit awkward…," Helena said trying to smile, but when she did it hurt her cheek.
"They warned me – they said you were as tough as a polar bear on the outside and as sharp as hedgehogs on the inside, but I said no! I will just do my job and that will be that! But, you wouldn't even let me do my job!" Myka said pushing her ex-boss further back into the store.
"Who warned you?" Helena asked taking a quick look behind her to see how much distance she had. It wasn't much.
"Your puppets. The people you pull the strings on every day, that's who," Myka said. "The ones who probably set that camera up so you could make sure I was here."
"Myka, please listen to me. I came here to make amends, to apologize," Helena said thinking she better talk fast.
"And then what did you think would happen, Helena? You'd sweep me off my feet, take me upstairs, and seduce me again and we would forget everything?" Myka yelled without planning her speech.
"I thought we would ….talk?" Helena said, holding back the smile that was in reaction to what Myka had just suggested on her own.
"Yes talk, go ahead Helena. Why not start with why you tracked me down, and why you bought the book? " Myka said standing there.
"I tracked you down, as you say, because I know things did not end well and it was all my fault. I tried to apologize the other night and to tell you how sorry I was for being …..…," and Myka cut her off.
"Ruthless? Underhanded? Deceiving? Controlling? Maniacal?" she offered as the fill in the word.
"Maniacal?" Helena asked. "That's a new one. Myka, I have found my methods very effective in business and in my personal life, but I don't think I ever gave much thought to them when they don't work – until I met you. You deserve better, Myka and I am sorry I didn't see that sooner," Helena said.
Helena's soft tone and sincere words threw Myka. Helena was playing nice and Myka always gave in to that. Doing so though, put her at risk for being duped again.
"Tell me about the book, Helena," Myka said pointedly.
"Ah, yes well the book. I wanted to purchase it and return it to you as a gift," Helena said explaining her motives.
"Why did you sign it?" Myka asked moving forward.
"What do you mean?" Helena asked.
"I compared your note to the signature in the book, Helena. I know they're the same, so why would you do that? What would possess you?" Myka asked.
"Oh Myka, I think you're …," Helena was trying to dodge this question.
"Don't lie to me, Helena," Myka said, her green eyes fixed on Helena.
Now Helena had no room – her back was up against the wall for the second time in two days.
"Myka, I can explain how that happened, but please trust me, this isn't the place nor the time," Helena pleaded.
"How did you try to undo this, Helena? What did your letter mean?" Myka went on to her next question. Another one Helena would have trouble answering.
"Well, I …tried to think of a way to rectify the past and …. Here I am," Helena said walking the fine line between not revealing too much and lying.
"Here you are – spying on me," Myka said.
"I swear to you, I have no knowledge at all about that," Helena tried.
Myka's anger was running out of steam. "I don't know what you want, Helena."
Helena remembered all the advice her staff had given her. "Go slowly, no pressure," Pete had advised her. "Let Myka take the lead," Claudia instructed her. Well, she had done those things and still was nowhere.
Then she remembered Irene's instruction; "More knee, Helena, less jerk." Helena wasn't entirely sure she understood the woman's advice until now. "Yes," she thought.
Helena fell to her knees right in front of Myka and looked up at her.
"Myka, I have behaved terribly. I acted out of fear and that is not noble. I had feelings for you as soon as I met you. Rather than acknowledge them truthfully, I lied to you and to myself to fight off the vulnerability I felt. I pushed and pulled at you and both were unfair. I came here today to apologize and to ask your forgiveness Myka, so that we may perhaps be friends. If time is what you need, then I will wait. If space is what you need, I will go away until you have your answer. And after all of that, if your answer is still no, I will accept it, even though it will be among the hardest things I have even done, Myka," Helena said.
Myka stared down at Helena. She listened to the most heartfelt sentiment she had ever heard. Now that her anger was waning, tears filled the spaces, but she still fought them back. Myka had spent a lifetime of learning the fine art of holding back your tears until you were safely in your own bed.
"Get up," she said to Helena calmly and the Brit complied, still unsure if Myka believed her.
Standing there facing each other, Myka studied the beautiful pale skin and dark eyes. She did believe Helena was trying – no one ever had gotten on their knees before for Myka – except in her fantasies. Helena's words filled Myka's head, her perfume filled her senses.
Helena swallowed hard, waiting. If Myka was going to slap her again, Helena was going to take it like a woman. Then Myka moved in on her. She pushed Helena back against the wall hard, dropping the book so that her hands were free to hold Helena's head in place while she kissed her - hard.
Helena rejoiced at the feeling of Myka's lips on hers. Her head felt light as she pressed back gently, accepting the movement of Myka's lips. This was a good sign – a very good sign. She hoped Myka would stay there forever, but she released her.
"Now go, Helena, please," Myka said stepping back and retrieving her book.