Piper! Please don't leave me! Not now!" Alex was in tears watching the one person that she loved, who was still alive, walk away from her.
"Alex, I can't do this anymore, I'm sorry" Those were the last words Piper said to her. She couldn't make herself say goodbye because it was already painful enough. She knew if she stayed she would never leave, and she wouldn't be involved in any more of Alex's illegal activity, ever again so she had to go.
She flew back to America that day and she tried not to look back.
That was one year ago from the next day and it still bothered her. She should have been able to move on already, Piper thought miserably to herself, as she lay in her bed on the eve of the anniversary of when she abandoned the love of her life.
It was torture. Alex was constantly on her mind. She felt awful for leaving when her mom died, she really did. If she could have gone back in time and changed that, she would have. Perhaps her guilt over leaving Alex at that point was what wasn't allowing her to move forward, she thought.
She worked as a manager at the bar down the street from her small apartment in New York. She hadn't allowed herself to meet anyone new. She was still caught up on the raven-haired woman, and it pissed her off.
Alex was the one who promised her that she wouldn't have to do anything illegal in order for their relationship to work. Piper only did it the first time because she enjoyed their lifestyle and the excitement of it all, and she loved Alex. She would have done anything Alex asked her to at that time.
After the first time, she was adamant that she would never do it again, and Alex promised that she would never ask her to do it again. Alex swore up and down about how she didn't want Piper involved in her work because she didn't want Piper in danger. But what did she do? She asked Piper to do another run for her. That was it, though, that was the last straw for Piper. She had already given up everything for that woman, the only thing she had left was her freedom and she wasn't willing to part with that.
She lied to her parents, she abandoned the ideas of a normal life, she gave up graduate school, all of her friends were in the United States and she had already redirected her moral compass for Alex once, and she wasn't going to do it again. She wasn't going to give up her freedom for her. Alex was worth all of the hardships that came with their relationship, but Alex asking her to put her freedom on the line, and potentially her life too, was not something she was comfortable with.
What did Alex ever have to give up anyways? She wondered bitterly.
Alex didn't have to choose between her friends or family and the cartel. She got time off so she could go home whenever she wanted. She didn't even have to choose between the cartel and Piper. Not until Piper made that decision for her, and even then Alex showed no signs of being willing to part with the cartel.
Piper knew Alex loved her job and she didn't want to get in the way of that, but she would be damned if she had let Alex keep using her to do her dirty work whenever she saw fit just because she was there all the time. It made her feel like a safety measure, like an extra bottle of Tylenol kept in the bottom of a purse and only used when she had a headache but was left untouched when not needed.
She had really thought Alex loved her, but in reality, she was just an instant, ready to go, backup drug mule that Alex always had on hand.
And to think, that the thought of asking Alex to come with her crossed her mind before she left, was insane.
It had been the last selfish thought Piper had before she tore her gaze away from Alex that day in Paris. She was going to ask Alex to go with her. She was going to ask Alex to choose something for once. If she had asked her to leave the cartel, and Alex said yes, she would have done everything to help Alex get over the loss of her mother, and she wouldn't have left her all alone to deal with it.
But looking back into Alex's forest green eyes gave Piper all the information she needed. She knew the answer and didn't even bother to ask the question because she knew that Alex Vause would have chosen the cartel over anything and anyone, even her, and there was nothing Piper could do about it. She didn't need to hear Alex say how she couldn't just quit because her mom died or because Piper wanted her to, she didn't need to hear whatever excuses Alex would come up with because ultimately, Piper knew she wasn't worth it to her.
Fuck, Piper thought when she caught her mind wandering back to that day, and she felt the anger and devastation rise in her again as if she had just left that morning. She wouldn't be able to sleep if she kept thinking about this. Usually, she would have drunk enough to forget everything. That's what she did every other day and that's the only way she got through the past twelve months, lots and lots of drinking.
She glanced over at the clock next to her bed. It was almost ten pm. She hadn't done anything all day, and she had asked for the next day off of work, knowing exactly what day it was.
She needed a drink. She needed more than that, she needed a distraction. A person distraction, she thought. But a thought of Alex crept into her mind and she almost lost it.
How dare Alex still have so much control over her emotions. Piper could do whatever and whoever she wanted.
She kicked off the blankets and pushed herself out of bed. She slipped on some tight jeans that hugged her curves perfectly and a loose fitting top that showed off just enough. She put up her hair in a loose bun and chose to put on a small amount of makeup.
She checked herself in the mirror one last time before she grabbed a black jacket and left. She took a cab to the nearest bar beside for the one she worked at. She didn't want to be recognized by her coworkers because she didn't need their sympathy. She needed to let out some of her frustrations, and listening to her coworkers question her was going to do nothing to ease her mind.
The thought crossed her mind that she should have called Polly to go with her, but she had a feeling Polly wasn't the right company on this particular evening.
She arrived at the bar and paid the driver. It was a particularly cold night in September and she pulled her jacket more tightly around her. The building was warm and it smelled of a mixture of different alcohols and people, as it should have, which was exactly what she wanted.
As she sat down at the bar she didn't even think about what she wanted. She had made a habit of ordering a margarita as her first drink every time she went out. It served as a painful reminder of the day she met Alex. She used it as a form of torture, forcing herself to remember what she had been through before she would drink those memories away.
She was broken out of her thoughts at the sound of someone who ordered a drink beside her.
The woman was slightly shorter than her, with chocolate brown eyes, and curly brown hair that cascaded effortlessly over her shoulders. She had a nice figure, Piper noticed. And to Pipers surprise, the woman had ordered a margarita.
"It's not too cold for that?" Piper dared to ask her.
"I don't think so" The woman replied.
The bartender then looked to Piper. "What'll it be?"
"I'll have what she's having," She said confidently. She needed to get that drink over with.
The woman next to her chuckled and for a moment, Piper was confused. "Isn't it too cold for that?" The woman repeated Piper's question as she had turned fully on her seat to face her.
Piper just held her gaze and smirked. "It's never too cold, if you aren't by yourself," Piper answered. She nodded in quick thanks to the bartender when he brought their drinks over before looking back up at the brunette. "Where's the plus one?" Piper asked scanning the bar for anyone who looked like they could handle this girl, but she didn't find anyone.
The woman frowned and took a drink. "There is no plus one anymore,"
Piper would have cringed if the situation wasn't perfect for her. "He leave you for some two-faced bitch?"
"You could say that she was the two faced bitch," The woman responded sharply before downing the rest of her drink carelessly. She so obviously wanted to be drunk and yet she had ordered a fairly light drink.
The woman couldn't have been older than Piper, she looked like she was between twenty-two and twenty-four. Piper had turned twenty-five that year.
"Then we're in the same boat, kid" Piper muttered taking a sip of her drink. It was painful. It actually made her wince. All the other times she greeted the pain. She welcomed it and forced herself to drink the only thing that reminded her of how broken she was. But tonight was different. She couldn't handle this pain anymore. She pushed it away from her.
"Not to your standards blondie?" The woman next to her asked.
"No it's probably fine, but I don't think I'll ever have another one of those again," She said chuckled. "Hey, bartender, a round of shots if you please" The woman looked at her quizzically and Piper smirked. "I think we both need something stronger."
The bartender brought over their shots. "To getting over those fucking two-faced bitches!" They tapped their glasses together and downed the shots.
They spent hours chatting and cursing out their respective exes, in between shots. Piper had to admit she was enjoying herself to an extent, but no drink was strong enough to ease the dull ache in her chest for the raven-haired woman.She scoffed at the thought that Alex couldn't leave her alone for just one night. She still needed to forget.
"I wish these drinks were stronger," The brunette slurred exactly what Piper was wishing as well.
"Let's get out of here," Piper said suddenly, she knew a way they could both forget. She leaned closer so her lips were just a breath away from the woman's cheek. "I can make you forget," The woman leaned back only enough to see Piper's eyes. Piper could see the mischievous glint in her's, and she knew she had her hooked. "That is if you're willing," Piper continued, seductively letting her lips brush lightly over the brunette's.
"Are you sure you can handle this?" The woman raised her eyebrow at her. Piper had to admit that look was pretty damn sexy.
Piper chuckled. "You have no idea what I am capable of," she threw some cash on the counter and looked back at the brunette.
"No, but I want to find out" The woman, whom Piper didn't even know the first name of, countered.
Piper put a hand on the small of her back and led her outside, where she effortlessly hailed a cab and ushered the woman in.
The cab ride was short back to Piper's apartment. As soon as the front door clicked shut behind them, all bets were off. Clothes went flying. They barely made it to Piper's bed.
The blonde pushed her roughly onto the mattress. It was a battle for dominance. They were all teeth and nails, tugging at each other's hair as they explored each other. Neither of them were in the mood for soft and gently. They were rough and it was the best thing for them in that moment.
They both fell asleep satisfied and without enough energy to remember anything. It turned out to be the single best night of sleep she had gotten since even before she left Alex.
Piper woke up the next morning, her naked limbs tangled with the brunette that was snuggled close to her side.
She brushed a lock of brown hair behind the sleeping woman's ear. She was certainly gorgeous, Piper thought. She carefully got up and gathered some clothes to take a shower.
When she was done about ten minutes later she made some coffee to help ease her pounding headache.
She surveyed the small apartment. There were clothes strewn everywhere. She gathered the brunette's clothes, folded them neatly into a pile and placed them at the end of the bed before she went back to collect her own clothes that had been tossed everywhere.
Most people avoided being the first one up after a one night stand in their own place, but Piper couldn't bring herself to care. She was just grateful she got a good night sleep, that her headache was going away, and that she didn't have to wake up alone.
She curled up on the couch with a blanket, a book, and her coffee while she waited for the brunette to wake up.
It was maybe half an hour before she heard noises from the other room. She looked up to see the brunette leaning on the door frame watching her intently with a playful smile on her lips.
"Sleep well?" Piper asked.
The woman nodded. "Thanks to you, damn, I have never felt so good," The woman answered.
Piper grinned and looked down at her book again. "The shower's in the other room, your clothes are at the edge of the bed, and I made coffee if you want some before you go," Piper said.
The woman nodded and left Piper alone again. Maybe fifteen minutes later she came out dressed and looking as beautiful as she had the night before, Piper thought.
Piper put her book down and got up to get her some coffee. "We should do this again sometime," She heard the brunette say.
"Yeah, sure, maybe I'll see you around," Piper said as she handed her the cup of coffee.
"I'm sure. My name's Zoe by the way," The brunette stated, and it hadn't yet occurred to Piper that she hadn't known that, or that she introduced herself at all.
"Piper. Good to meet you, Zoe," Piper said sitting down.
"Well, good to meet you too Piper," She grinned and Piper couldn't help but find it adorable. "So uh, I guess I should go," Zoe said after a few minutes.
"Do you have work?" Piper knew it was a stupid question when she realized it was Thursday. "We could go out for breakfast," She suggested, not wanting to spend the rest of the day alone.
"I have work in an hour, but I have a lunch break, that is if you don't mind lunch instead," Zoe said grinning.
"Sounds like a date. Where do you work, I'll pick you up?" Piper said.
"I just got a job at the bar down the street from here actually," Zoe moved towards the door and Piper followed behind her.
"No kidding, I work there, I'm the manager. When did you get hired?" Piper asked holding the door open.
"They told me a few days ago, I start today," She said excitedly.
"I'm sure you'll do great, kid," Piper said softly. "I know when your shift ends, I'll be there and we'll get lunch," Piper confirmed and Zoe nodded happily.
"See you then," She said as she walked away, leaving Piper all alone in her apartment. That was better than expected, she thought. Perhaps this was going to be better for her than she thought.
After lunch that day, things were fine between them for about a week before they made it official.
They tried to avoid working different shifts so they could spend more time together. Piper, being a manager, was able to rearrange shifts so they could also have the same lunch hour. But Piper was a strict boss and she knew it. That lead to a lot of fights and some very exquisite makeup sex.
They fucked as often as possible but they managed to fight even more. They yelled. They threw things. Furniture got broken, and hair got pulled. Generally, it led to the best make up sex either of them had. A few times the police were called by Piper's neighbors, to break up their domestic dispute, but neither of them was ever charged, until one evening.
Zoe had had the day off, but Piper was called in when two employees got in a fight with some customers. That was at ten o'clock and Piper didn't get back until twelve thirty. She had already had to work a double shift that day because another employee was out sick, and by the time she got home, she was exhausted, furious, and irritable, not to mention it was the eve she had left Alex in Paris two years ago, which coincidentally was the day Zoe and Piper had agreed to name as their anniversary because it was the night they first met each other. At this point, though, Piper could only remember the former importance of this day and it was driving her insane.
"What the fuck happened to you?" Zoe asked critically when Piper came stumbling tiredly through the door. "I've been waiting!"
"Don't start with me, you do not want to fight with me right now!" Piper growled trying desperately to keep her temper in check, but she knew it wouldn't last long, not today of all days.
"Oh yeah, and you're going to tell me what I want?!" Zoe snapped angrily placing her hands on her hips and glaring harshly at Piper, who was not affected nor amused. "No, not when you're this late!"
"Late?! What the fuck am I late for exactly, besides from my break from you?!" Piper sneered and Zoe looked almost hurt, but her eyes looked angrier. "Why are you in such a tizzy?! I'm sorry, let me guess, did I forget to start the laundry again?!" Piper asked feigning remorse, but feeling none as she pushed her way passed the pissed off brunette and tossed her coat and bag on the coffee table.
"Bitch, it's our goddamn anniversary! You think you'd remember!" Zoe yelled when she spun around to glare at the blonde some more. "Oh wait, you wouldn't because you're always drunk!"
Piper totally forgot, but she couldn't bring herself to care. The only anniversary she remembered was of the day she left Alex in Paris.
"Just because I work at a fucking bar, doesn't mean I'm always wasted! But if I did drink more, I'm positive it'd help me deal with your sorry complaining ass!" Piper hissed. "Besides, where the Fuck were you?! I had to work extra shifts because we were short people today and you couldn't be bothered to come in?!"
Zoe rolled her eyes. "It was my day off, I'm not a doctor, I don't have to be on call to wait on you, hand on foot!"
Piper balled her hands into fists. All she really wanted was a warm bath, some relaxing music, a good book, and Alex to curl up next to. But no. She gave all of that up and now she was stuck with a whining, complaining, lazy, bitch, who was good for nothing but letting her blow off a fuck-load of steam, although sometimes even that didn't seem like enough. She would probably have been happier if she was alone, she just couldn't make herself do it. Maybe now she could, right now. "We're done!" Piper said seriously. "Get your things and get the fuck out of my apartment."
"You bitch!" Zoe slapped her right across the face and that did nothing but fuel Piper's anger.
Piper pushed Zoe away from her, sending the brunette stumbling over the coffee table and landing on the couch.
The brunette lunged at Piper scratching her face deep enough to draw blood.
Neither of them had properly gotten over their exes and as an unfortunate result that they both knew was inevitable, they took out all their anger and frustration out on each other. Their fights had always been bad, but none of them had ever escalated so quickly, probably because this was the first time Piper not only had to deal with her problems with Zoe, but she still had to deal with her feeling for Alex, and with work on top of it all, it was too much.
Piper tasted the crimson metallic liquid when it reached her lips. She thought of Alex at that moment. Alex had never hurt her physically, but she caused Piper the worst pain of all. She couldn't stop herself, it felt more like a sick dream and there was nothing she could do but hit this girl. All of her anger and heartache fueling her fists as thy contacted the soft flesh of the other girls face.
Piper didn't even know what had happened by the time the police were pulling her off of the other girl. Her hands were bloody and her face stung. She felt strong hands holding her arms behind her back and the cold sting of metal on her wrists. She dared a glance back at the girl who was now sitting on the couch getting checked out by EMT's. She had blood all over her face and in her hair and down her shirt. That was the last time she would ever see the brunette.
Piper was walked passed her neighbors who were all outside of their rooms trying to see what all the noise was about. Some of them gasped, others whispered to each other rumors that Piper could only imagine. That was it. She remembered waking up in a jail cell at the police station. At one point a doctor had come in to check her hands and face to make sure nothing was broken.
Before she even really knew it, she was talking with a lawyer her parents had paid for, who was telling her to plead guilty if she wanted less time.
She wasn't going to fight it, she knew she was guilty. She had heard so many stories about people who were able to better their lives after spending time in prison and that made her hopeful, but then again, she heard the horror stories about what went on in those prisons too and that scared her.
But her very expensive lawyer told her to plead guilty, so that's what she pleaded. Guilty on one count of domestic abuse and violence with additional assault and battery. It got her between ten and fifteen years in federal prison. Hopefully, it would only be ten years. Ten years at Litchfield Federal Prison to be precise.