Coffee and Other Forms of Poison

Chapter 3

Piper had no clue what the hell she was doing at a bar this late at night. She wasn't looking to go home with anyone. It hadn't been a particularly shitty day. But she had been aching for the sweet burn of liquor and she wasn't even an alcoholic.

It was her fourth day in the city, only her first day putting her English degree from Smith to use, and somehow she was already crawling to a sleazy bar for a drink.

Eh, whatever, right?

She blew away a strand of blonde hair from her face to thank the burly bartender for his service. She surveyed the poorly lit room over her thin shoulder to see who shared it with her. Her eyes swept over a middle-aged man with a brown mustache. His top three buttons were loose and eyes were fixed on the wood floor. A college-aged boy with his confident hand on a young woman's exposed thigh, and a small party of about four people her age. She met eyes momentarily with one of them, a tall, dark-haired woman with a lush figure. Piper felt her body heat up when her sultry lip pulled up in a smirk.

Fuck.

She turned back around to her drink, still feeling the alluring eyes behind her pierce through her back. She swirled the cool liquid in her glass and watched as it formed a small whirlpool inside before taking a sip. She let it slide down her throat and felt it untangle the knots and tension points from the tiresome day. The woman behind her continued to steal glances at her. Sometimes Piper would catch her flashing a gleaming smile at a friend; one that seemed to hold all the mystery in the world. She was attractive. Piper could admit that much. In fact, more than attractive. Maybe hot. Maybe sexy.


Definitely hot. Definitely sexy.


Piper mentally scolded herself, as she had promised not to focus on sex. Not tonight. There were several other opportunities for it. She scolded herself again for even imagining it with another woman. Not again. It was a promise she made to herself after college after she went in too deep. It began with meaningless kisses and sweet nothings but ended in jagged edges and broken glass. After those days were over and the tumultuous relationship was over and done, she vowed that her experimental days were over. She shook herself of the thought and returned to her drink.


The curiosity of it all never really left her, though. It found a home in the back of her mind where it would only come out when something was particularly intriguing. Something like this. She felt desire form a knot low in her belly and she tried to wash it down with more alcohol. She couldn't deny that she would at least prefer to not return back home as of a few minutes ago. And she wouldn't mind going home with the pair of eyes that still sliced through the back of her dress. As her glass became more and more shallow, she felt temptation heavy on her shoulders. It slithered around her neck and its voice was smooth in her ear.

"Just a peek," it would hiss. "She won't bite."

And she gave in. She turned back around to meet her. Several more times, promising after each one that it was her last. Sometimes she would hold her gaze, other times the woman would be laughing at a joke Piper couldn't hear. She let out a deep sigh and got down from the leather seat. She made her way to the bathroom, where she was to fix her hair, apply perfume, and go the fuck home before she gave into any other temptations before the night was out. She had slipped into the sleek black number for herself. She had styled her blonde hair in voluminous waves for herself. She came to the bar to get a goddamn drink for herself. And guess what?

She was going to keep that promise for herself.

Piper stepped in the bathroom and met her reflection in the dirty mirror. She did look great. Her cheeks were flawlessly contoured and her blue eyes were bright under the smokey shadow. She began to tease her hair with her fingers, letting the strands slip between them and fall again at her shoulders. As she continued the motion, the door swung open and slammed shut. The dark haired woman strode in, leaning her body against the neighboring sink. Piper turned to find her looking straight at her. The blonde felt her heart stop for a quick second and she tried to cut the dilation of her pupils. The other woman, however, was quite the opposite. Her green eyes were unmoving and sharp. They held perplexity and charm. Her posture was confident, even if she was leaning against something. She was self-aware and knew what power she had over the blonde. Though both women were tall and met at the eye, she seemed to tower over her. She terrified Piper in the best way possible.

And that was fine with the both of them.

"You in here to escape Pornstache?" Her voice was raspy and sultry, to match her physical appearance. It took Piper a moment to realize that the question was addressed to her.

"I'm sorry?" Piper managed to croak out.

"Pornstache. The sad fucker a couple seats over from you. He was stealing a few looks at you. He’s a perv and a regular," the dark haired woman smiled at her.

"Oh, I didn't realize," The blonde felt her cheeks turn a light shade of pink. She cursed them for betraying her so. Piper smiled coyly, causing the taller woman to let a hoarse laugh escape her. The blonde felt the same low knot from moments ago begin to tighten.

"I'm Alex," she held out a hand.

"Piper," the other shook it. She could've sworn she saw Alex's thin eyebrow shift slightly at the sound of her name. Piper inwardly smiled and straightened her posture.

"So, Alex, what do you do?" Alex took a small step closer to her. She was genuinely surprised that Piper didn't move back.

"I work for an international drug cartel." She waited for the blonde to sprint out of the grimy bathroom and into a taxi. But that moment never came; she liked that.

"Sounds exciting. You must be pretty well traveled," Piper responded with confidence.

"Well, of course. I also make a pretty mean Manhattan. Better than the one you got here," Alex took another step closer.

"Oh really? I'd love to try it sometime," Piper took a step back, taking her pursuer with her. Alex cocked her brow in amusement.

"You must be pretty brave to want a drink with someone like me. I'm surprised you didn't make a break for it," Alex stepped towards her again. Piper's back was flat against the nearest bathroom stall.

"I consider myself more risky than brave," Her voice became as low as the woman in front of her's. She bit her lip and the green eyes in front of her darkened with delight. Her mesmerizing yet amused smile shifted into one that suggested every possible X-rated event could take place. Piper felt her heart beating a mile a minute, her hands grow cold to the touch, and the knot in her low abdomen grow bigger and bigger. She was given no time before Alex roughly closed the distance between the two; like a snake making a fatal strike. From the beginning of their conversation, they were already playing cat and mouse. Piper knew it when she first locked eyes with Alex back inside the bar. The woman had Piper under a spell and she had already slipped far under.

The kiss was smoldering hot, burning holes wherever Alex's dark lips would touch. Her mouth, her neck, Piper reveled in every minute of it. Her back was pressing mercilessly against the wall behind her and hands were busied in raven hair. She tasted like vodka, mint, and raw ecstasy and the blonde felt the sweet poison course through her veins. A low moan rumbled in the back of her throat as Alex bit her lip and pulled away. Piper's mouth involuntarily chased her's. They were still connected at the forehead and Piper's hands were still lost in her hair. Somehow, Alex's lipstick was still as perfect as it had been; there wasn't a smear in sight. Though their bodies still touched, she felt cold without red lips to warm her. She swooped in to close the space again but was denied along with a tantalizing smile.

"Not before I make you a drink," Her laugh vibrated against Piper's ear.

"I can settle for that."

"Mm. Trust me, you'll do a little more than just settle." Alex's husky voice was filled with lust and a whole lotta dirty promise. It sent a chill ripping down the blonde's spine.

/

Alex never made Piper her promised drink, though the taste of her was intoxicating enough for the blonde. Every filthy wish was fulfilled on both ends until both were covered in a thin layer of sweat. The productive night did come to a close and the sun extended its bright arms to wake Piper first. She cracked her eyes open to find herself under warm sheets. Tightness resided around her head as a hangover bid her a dull "Good morning." She found a tired arm slung across her chest, reminding her of the what happened just hours ago. She stretched her body, feeling pleasantly sore around her inner thighs and took her time to sit up on the strange bed. The woman next to her closer let out a soft groan before slowly opening her green eyes. Alex looked first looked at the empty spot where Piper had been and surveyed the rest of the room before finding her upright on her bed.

"Oh, shit, I thought you left," Alex laughed as she cracked her neck. The blonde shook her head and blinked slowly. Alex gazed at Piper for a while, who was stretching her back and still waking herself up. Maybe it was from the alcohol the night before or maybe it was the weary glaze over her already terrible eyes, but

damn.

For ten-something in the morning, Piper looked hot as fuck. She didn’t bother putting her lacy bra back on after they had sex, or anything at all for that matter. (Alex was perfectly okay with that.) Her bed-strangled hair was messy and it caught the sun’s white rays as she aimlessly scratched her head. But as hot as clueless, topless Piper looked, she also looked like a fucking goddess. She looked stunning. Otherworldly. She was practically iridescent. Like some ethereal being from the gods of morning. Her eyes were like precious jewels that were pulled from the clouds themselves. And that smile.

That goddamn smile.

It killed her. It convinced her fully that she wasn’t mortal. It could stop wars or cure cancer or god forbid make Alex Vause swoon and grow weak at the knees. But then she remembered this wasn’t love and Piper was human and not her girlfriend, so she arose from her sitting position and trudged towards the wooden dresser. She pulled out a baggy shirt and tossed it over to the blonde. Piper pulled it over her head and slid her arms through the loose sleeves as she thanked her through the thin fabric. They made their way to into the living area, where they gathered the blonde's things and shared light conversation. The morning was cool and the windows had gentle etchings of frost, even thought it was only fall. The city beneath them was just starting to come back to life and the horns made no hesitation to blare loudly in the street. Piper looked outside, watching people begin to pour out like ants out of the buildings. Some went into taxis, others to crosswalks.

"Ah, fuck. I'm gonna have to do the walk of shame back to the apartment," Piper muttered jokingly to herself. Alex smiled, but her expression became shaded with slight concern.

"I can get a cab for you," she offered as she handed her a heeled shoe.

"No, I'll be okay. It's not the end of the world."

"Come on," Alex pulled out her phone despite her decline.

"No really it's-"

"Piper," Alex looked at her kindly. "Let me do this for you." She began dialing a number. It was almost odd to Piper how un-intimidating she looked then. She still looked like she could completely tear the blonde apart in the most provocative way imaginable, but there was almost a different mist that encircled her now. A haze that made Piper want to cup her thin face in her hands and kiss her forehead and not her neck. She looked beautiful. That’s what it was. From the way the sun was shining generously against her face, she didn’t have “hot lesbian badass” written across her chest. She had the graceful morning illuminating her cheeks and making her gem-like eyes glimmer under her glasses.


Glasses. She didn't know Alex wore glasses.


Jesus.


They made her look sophisticated. Even this early in the morning. They sat proudly on the bridge of her nose and seemed to complete her. They added to her wit and charm. Now, Piper couldn't imagine her without them, even though that was the way she first met her.


"Thank you," Piper smiled as Alex brought the device up to her ear. She softly nodded her head in response.

Piper stepped into her dress and did the best she could to clean the smudged make up from her eyes. She twisted her hair between her fingers to rev the day old waves back to life.

"You should probably head down before someone steals your ride," Alex hung up with the person on the other line.

"You're probably right," She put on her short beige trench coat and tightened it around her waist. Alex escorted her to the door and opened it.

"This won't be the last time we see each other." Piper stepped out and gave her a knowing look.

"I hope not." Piper handed Alex her phone and she tapped in her information.

"No last name?" Piper gave a bewildered smirk as she put it back in her purse.

"Adds a little mystery," Alex winked suggestively . She shut the door behind her guest and surrendered to the cushions on the white leather sectional, releasing a heavy sigh.

"Last night went well, I presume?" Amelia popped her brown head out from the hallway, a cheeky smile spread across her face. Alex playfully rolled her eyes and sat up to see her daughter. She was still clothed in her roomy sweatpants that only revealed her toes. Her hair was still sat in the lazy bun from the day before. She waltzed into the living room and gave her mother's shoulders a gentle squeeze.

"Extremely. Make me some coffee please. I didn't even drink that much and I'm not even remotely a lightweight but I'm hungover as fuck." The woman said, massaging her throbbing temples. She would've never admitted the last part to anyone but her. Amelia cantered into the kitchen and started on the morning ritual.

"Wanna tell me how it went?"

"Let's just say I blew her mind, I got her number, and we'll definitely be in touch." Alex shifted herself on the couch to see over the granite counter. She flashed a self-righteous smile when Amelia whipped around to give her a wide-eyed expression.

"Daamnn, Vause! You still got it!" Amelia raised her dark brows at her mother. She smirked and pushed her glasses further up her nose; they seemed to respond with a puffed up "She knows."

"How long has it been since you got some?" The girl spoke over the clinking of mugs in the cupboard.

"Like a month." Alex was disappointed at this. She didn't know how a month had so easily slipped from her black painted fingertips. It wasn't like she was still heartbroken from Sylvia cheating on her with a man. As far as she was concerned, that dreadful night and the even more dreadful year that followed lived only as untouched memories. Her primary focuses became work, her kid, and the invisible line of women that trailed outside the complex. Because what was in the past was in the past.


Out of sight, out of mind.


Right?


Amelia's footsteps made gentle beats against the white tile as she plodded to the couch.

"I know it’s only been a month, but I am still so happy that you're getting back out there-" Alex cut the girl short when she saw a white paper lantern in her other dainty hand.

"Did you get take out?" Amelia answered with bringing over the cup of coffee and handing over the microwave-warmed box.

"I thought you'd be needing the MSG." A thoughtful smile flickered across her face as she sat on the leather ottoman across from her mother.

"Whoever raised you did one hell of a job." Alex pushed the girl's cheek before snapping apart her chopsticks.

---------

Sitting down to write a lesson plan didn't prove productive after Piper returned home. She sat down at the wooden table that still needed homey accents and tried her very hardest to work. But her mind would flutter off to the events of the fervid night before. The desire that burned hot in her chest. The haste that was made to unhook the clasps of her dress. The way her lips would ache when contact was broken. The low purring voice above her that would drive her senses mad. Work was just a haze as long as the memory was set on a loop.

Fuck.

Over several spread out moments of sheer focus, she did throw a lesson plan of sorts together, though it primarily consisted of group work and several breaks throughout. The table bellowed as her phone vibrated on it. She smiled at the glowing caller ID.

"Hey, Polly," Piper heard her best friend's pearly smile through the other line.

"Hey babe! How's the new town treating ya?"

"Good so far. I got totally shit on by a student when I was trying to confront her,"

"Pipes, you know you're god awful with stuff like that." Polly's laugh rang through and Piper rolled her eyes.

"But I met someone last night," The friend's laugh was cut short.

"Damn, really? How was it?" Piper closed her eyes and threw her head back. Her lips curled upward into a smile.

"Mmm too good for words. She got my number, we'll be at it again at least by next week." Polly's reactive noises halted abruptly.

"She?" The line went silent for a few stony moments. "Fuck, Piper." The blonde huffed out an exasperated sigh and ran a hand through her hair.

"What? I'm not gonna lie, last night was the best I've had in a while. I came seven times."

"Okay, one, that’s just excessive. And two, Piper the last time you were with a girl was college and that didn't end well for you." The concern held in Polly's gentle voice was soothing through the speakers of the phone.

"Yeah but I was in college and plus she was a lying bitch. Of course it didn't work out. This ones just for fun. I promise." Silence circulated about the two again. Polly sighed.

"Well wanna tell me what she was like?" Piper smiled in relief of not being lectured.

"She was hot. Like really fucking hot. She was tall, she had these sexy glasses, dark hair, tattoos," the blonde felt herself grow warm at the mere thought of the woman.

"So like one of those weird rebel freaks from when we were in high school." The rising temperatures in Piper's core quickly fizzled out. Polly's voice was flat and lackluster and Piper knew it would take some warming up.

"No. she was smart. Witty." Polly sighed deeply again. "Polly, I don't understand why you're so worried. I'm an adult, I'm sure I can take care of myself," the blonde tried to sound as reassuring as possible.

"I know babe. I just don't want you to get fucked over if you get in way over your head. You know I'm just looking out for you," Polly's chided. If she was with her friend, she'd have been stroking Piper's shoulder and her eyes would've gazed deeply into her friend's with pure sincerity.

"I know. I love you,"

"I love you too." The line dropped and Piper rushed back to reality. She tried not to hang on too long to her friend's heeding words, but deep down she knew she was right. Every damn time she would promise herself a shallow fling, but it would always morph into a something far from it. And every time she'd get left in the dust. Piper snatched herself away from the disheartening reminder and continued to work, the warmth still circulating at her core.



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