After… Checking the Right Box

Keira & Emma


Keira watched as Macon Greene and Joanna Martin disappeared into the airport with their luggage. She waved again, even though they hadn’t looked back to see it. Why would they? They were married. They were traveling home together. People didn’t do that airport turn back to smile, wave, or air-kiss with a friend when they were traveling with their spouse.

“You okay?” her wife asked her.

“I’m just going to miss them. With Macon’s schedule, they’re not going to be able to visit again for another year. With my schedule, it’s not like I can just fly to Australia whenever I want,” Keira replied.

“And I work for the government, so I can’t just take a month off. That’s about how long it takes me to recover from that trip.” Emma wrapped her arm around Keira’s waist from the side, pulling them hip to hip. “Come on. Let’s get out of here.”

Emma drove them home from San Francisco International Airport while Keira stared silently out the side window, watching the highway and buildings roll past them. At least it was a Sunday morning. There wasn’t the usual bumper-to-bumper traffic that plagued the Bay Area. Their friend Hailey had emailed them both an article a few months ago that talked about how the San Francisco traffic had not only overtaken Los Angeles as some of the worst in the world, but the definitive worst in the US. It made sense to Keira. She didn’t drive every day, but when she did, she couldn’t stand sitting still. She was the kind of person that always needed to be moving, learning, engaging or otherwise; just not sitting in her damn car, moving down the road inches at a time.

At home, Emma grabbed her laptop, sat on the sofa with her feet on the coffee table, and did some work while the TV played some true crime show in the background. Emma liked having some white noise when she worked. It didn’t bother Keira at all, but she wasn’t a big fan of the true crime genre, so she made her way into the home office they’d made in their guest room and decided to do some work herself. Her event planning business had taken off in recent years. She’d hired over one hundred people, which – for someone who had been on the brink of having nothing – was pretty amazing. Her office was still in the city, but she also had people who worked remotely for her around the peninsula, and even a couple in the LA area. She was proud to tell people they were the most popular event planning firm in the city and, possibly, even the state.

That was Keira’s new goal. She wanted to plan weddings, receptions, retirement and birthday parties, golf outings, sweet sixteen parties, quinceañeras, and any other event a person wanted to experience in their life. She also wanted to expand her empire as it were and branch out. She’d been asked by a few corporate clients if she knew of any speakers that could speak on topics like leadership and change at their events. She hadn’t at that time, but she’d done her research and had found them people to serve that purpose. Now, she was thinking about adding that kind of thing to her offerings. She could book the talent through her own agency instead of paying another. So, she’d put together a plan for how to get a few clients. She would become a booking agent if she did this, which was different than what she was used to, but it was exciting. Keira needed a little excitement right now.

“Ready for bed?” Emma asked later.

“It’s nine,” Keira said.

“I know. I have an early meeting tomorrow.” She wrapped her arms around Keira’s neck from behind, placing her chin on the top of Keira’s head.

“Give me five minutes to finish up, and I’ll join you?” Keira asked.

“Sure.” Emma kissed the top of Keira’s head and left the room.

Keira finished the email she’d been typing and sent it to her customer. Then, she turned off her computer for the night and made her way into the bedroom. She’d been hoping they’d have some time tonight to spend together, but she’d gotten caught up in her work and hadn’t checked the time. With Greene and Joanna in town, she and Emma hadn’t had any time alone. Their friends had slept in the guest room, next to the desk Keira used when she worked at home. So, that hadn’t given her and Emma a chance to do much to or with each other for the past week and a half. As she stared at her sleeping wife, though, Keira knew that wouldn’t be happening tonight after all. She went into the bathroom to brush her teeth and otherwise get ready for bed, slid under the covers next to Emma, and stared up at the ceiling, wondering how they’d gotten here.


***

“She’s taking me on a cruise,” Rose told her. “Six days and seven nights in the Caribbean. I cannot wait.”

“Really?” Keira asked with a smile. “That’s fantastic.”

“I think this is it, Keira. I think she’s going to ask me.”

“Well, you’ve been together for three years. It’s about time,” Keira said.

“Together for three, but we’ve known each other for ten. I feel like I should have married her a decade ago.” The woman smiled as she jabbed at a piece of lettuce in her salad.

Rose was one of the senior event planners on Keira’s staff. They’d struck up a friendship only recently. She wasn’t someone Keira spent a lot of time with outside of work, but Rose and her girlfriend, Claudia, were nice. They were very much in love. And Rose had explained over numerous lunches that she hoped Claudia would ask her to marry her one day soon. When Keira had asked her why she couldn’t ask Claudia, Rose just said she knew Claudia wanted to do the asking, and she wanted to give her that.

Keira thought back to the day Emma had proposed. It was also the day they’d gotten married. Well, they’d had a ceremony in front of their friends and made it legal after, but it was such a perfect day. She loved Emma with her whole heart. She knew she always would, but things had been different lately. They weren’t in a rut. They weren’t dealing with the dreaded bed death. Things just weren’t how they used to be.

As Keira watched Rose head out for the afternoon with three other staff members, likely toward the local hangout, she realized what was different. It wasn’t Emma. It wasn’t their marriage. She missed her friends. Greene and Joanna lived in Sydney now. Hillary and Amara weren’t far away, but in San Francisco traffic, it took over two hours to get to the suburbs her friends now called home. Naturally, they’d ended up spending more and more time out there, only coming into the city when needed for work. Kellan and Reese were married and living in Tahoe. They rarely came to visit these days. Keira loved her wife, but she missed her friends.

“Hey, I was thinking about watching a movie. You interested?” Emma asked after they finished doing the dishes together.

“You want to go to a movie?” Keira asked hopefully.

“I want to watch a movie in our living room,” Emma corrected.

“Oh.”

“Keira, what’s going on?” Emma asked as she put the last plate into the cabinet over the dishwasher.

“Nothing. I just misheard you.”

“Do you want to go to a movie right now?”

Keira crossed her arms over her chest and said, “Not really.”

“Then, why did you bring it up?”

“I didn’t. You said movie. I heard movie.”

“You sounded like you wanted to go.”

“I have to work tomorrow, and so do you. By the time we get there, watch the movie, and come home, it’ll be after eleven.”

“Which is why I suggested we just Netflix and chill, babe.” Emma moved over to her wife and placed her hands on Keira’s hips.

“Right. Let’s do that,” Keira said with a small smile.

“Please tell me what’s wrong… I know when something’s wrong. I’m the wife. That’s kind of how this thing works,” Emma said.

Keira put her arms around Emma’s shoulders, pulled her in for a hug, and said, “I’m sorry. I’m fine. I think I’m just tired.”

“Of watching movies on the sofa with me?”

“What?” She pulled back to look into Emma’s eyes. “No, Em. I love watching movies with you; with my head in your lap and you running your hands all over my body. And then we…”

Emma’s eyes got big, and she added, “Fool around on the sofa until we go to the bedroom to finish what we started?”

“That only happens sometimes, but yes. I was kind of hoping we’d do that last night, but you fell asleep on me.”

“Sorry,” Emma replied.

“You don’t have to apologize. I got caught up in work. It was late,” Keira said, leaning in and giving Emma a quick kiss. “I’m working on the plan to expand into booking speakers.”

“How’s it going?” Emma asked as she tugged on Keira’s hand to pull her into the living room. “And you can pick out the movie.”

“Because you didn’t put out last night?” Keira teased.

“Because you have a better taste in movies than I do.”

“I’m glad you’re finally admitting that.” She picked up the remote and turned on the TV. “And the planning is going well. I think I should hire someone with an agent- or manager-type experience to head it up, see how that goes, and then hire more if it goes well. It’s a new revenue stream. If someone has a ten-thousand-dollar speaking fee, and we get only ten percent of that, that’s a thousand dollars for a few phone calls for us. Maybe it’s even just a couple of emails or an online request form or something.”

“Ten thousand dollars?”

“That’s on the low end. Some of the bigger celebrities get two hundred to five hundred thousand. I don’t think we’re targeting that group, but it’s still something that can bring in more money.”

“We’re doing okay, though, Key.” Emma patted her thigh.

“It’s not about our money. It’s about making sure the business is always evolving.”

“I guess that’s true.”

“And, truthfully… I love event planning. But I’m also ready to try something else, too.”

“Can we talk for a second?” Emma asked, turning to face her.

“We are talking.”

“I mean about what’s going on with you recently. Are you bored? Am I boring you? Are we boring now?”

“What?” Keira turned to face her wife. “Em, no.”

“The happiest I’ve seen you was when Greene and Joanna were here. Before that, it was probably months since I’ve seen you that happy. I know I’ve been busy at work since that promotion. And I’m trying to find better ways to balance work with us, but–”

“Emma, no.” Keira stopped her with a hand on her thigh. “God, I’m sorry. You’re blaming yourself, and you shouldn’t be. It’s my fault.”

“What is it?”

“I miss my friends,” she admitted. “I can’t help it. I haven’t seen Kell in months. Greene and Joanna were just here; I won’t see them again for a long time. Hillary and Amara have their own life now, and we don’t hang out together nearly enough. I guess I just miss how things were.”

“How things were before you found me, Macon found Joanna, Kellan moved to Tahoe to be with Reese, and Hillary found Amara?”

“No,” Keira said, then squinted her eyes a little and added, “Not really. I love you. I love that they found their wives. I want everyone to be happy. I’m just a social person, Em. Rose and Claudia are fine, but they haven’t known me for ten-plus years. They didn’t watch me struggle to make ends meet, build a business from scratch, meet and fall in love with you, and then watch the business grow.”

“I know. But they can’t be held responsible for not meeting you back then, babe.”

“I miss my friends, Emma.”

“Let’s call Hill and see if she and Amara want to do After Dark soon. We can invite Rose and Claudia. Maybe Hillary can incept them with your entire friendship history.” She smiled.

Keira laughed and said, “I love you. I don’t think that’s how inception works, though, Em.”

“I only watched the movie once. Maybe we should watch it again so that I can learn more about it and train Hill and Amara, since they’re the only ones that live close now.” Emma smiled sweetly at her.

“I thought I got to pick out the movie,” Keira said, turning back to face the TV as Emma did the same. “And do I get to lay my head in your lap?”

“I’d be disappointed if you didn’t,” Emma said.


***

Emma stroked Keira’s hair as they watched the romantic comedy she’d chosen. She tried to prevent the third yawn in the past five minutes from escaping but knew she hadn’t done a good enough job when Keira lifted her head.

“Bed? We can finish it tomorrow.”

“No, I’m okay. There’s only twenty minutes left.” She smiled down at her wife and encouraged her to put her head back where it was.

The truth was that Emma was exhausted. She’d been lucky enough to have received another promotion a few months back, after a retirement in the office, but she wasn’t sure lucky was the right word at this point. She’d yet to find the best balance and worried that her normally great time management skills still weren’t enough for this level of authority and autonomy. The team she’d inherited wasn’t the best. She’d worked on her old team for years to get them to the point where she was satisfied. She wasn’t sure she had the energy to do it all over again with this group. She now had eight direct reports – which was the highest amount in the department – along with over eighty indirect reports. Emma also had an assistant that she didn’t include in that number, but even she needed some training. Said assistant was used to the person who had the job before Emma, and that man moved at a snail’s pace, which enabled her to do the same.

Emma wasn’t miserable exactly, but she also wasn’t as happy as she’d been in her old role. She knew she couldn’t just ask for it back. For one, they’d already put her replacement in. It was someone that had been on Emma’s team and who was doing great. It would also just look bad if Emma demoted herself right after taking the new job. It would show people she couldn’t handle the workload. But Emma knew that she could. She just needed to find ways to get better at getting things done in the office. Maybe she’d get in a little earlier, before everyone else, so she’d have an hour, at least, where she wouldn’t be bothered. She could stay an hour later and accomplish the same thing. Both of those options meant less time with her wife, though.

If she got in earlier, she’d wake up next to the bear that was Keira Worthy before seven in the morning. The chances of them having a quickie before they both had to leave for work would diminish. And, sometimes, morning sex was the only thing that got Emma through the day. If she stayed later, she wouldn’t get home until close to seven, or maybe even seven-thirty. She’d miss dinner with her wife, or they’d have to start eating later, which meant every other part of their night together would go later. Keira generally liked to be in the bed no later than ten. Sometimes, she wanted to read a book or a proposal for work. They were usually asleep by eleven, or they were doing other enjoyable things.

That thought caused Emma to smile. She checked the clock on the cable box of their TV. It was later than normal to start what she was about to start, but she could sense that Keira needed this tonight. They’d have to talk more about what Keira was going through, but that could happen later. Right now, Emma missed touching her wife. And, she suspected, Keira missed the same. Emma slid her hand from Keira’s hair to her hip. Keira was wearing a pair of boxer shorts she’d borrowed from her. As the movie continued in the background, Emma rubbed her thumb over Keira’s hip bone. Keira didn’t stir or give any indication that she knew what was about to happen.

Emma rubbed Keira’s belly with her palm and then her fingertips. She slid her hand under Keira’s t-shirt and moved it higher until she was cupping her wife’s breast. Keira shifted slightly but didn’t say anything. This was the part Emma loved. She would continue to escalate her touches with neither of them acknowledging it. It was as if it was forbidden or shouldn’t be talked about. For some reason, Emma liked when they did this with one another. She played with Keira’s nipple for a few minutes until she heard Keira’s breathing begin to pick up. She moved her hand to the other breast and gave it the same attention. Keira rolled onto her back; her head still on Emma’s lap. Emma took that as her cue. She lifted Keira’s shirt in order to see her wife’s breasts. The nipples were perky and rosy. Her breasts were still just as perfect as the day Emma had first seen them. Wanting to touch them more but also knowing Keira would want her hands elsewhere, Emma slid one hand into Keira’s shorts and moved under the black panties she couldn’t see but knew Keira was wearing.

“I’ve missed this,” Keira said as she closed her eyes. “We couldn’t exactly do this with the house guests.”

“After I make you come out here, we’re going in there,” Emma told her; now fully turned on and ready for more.

She slid her fingers down a little further to find Keira’s wetness at her entrance. She dragged it up to her clit and stroked her wife, watching Keira reach for her own breasts, squeeze them, and tweak her nipples as Emma brought her higher. Emma’s fingers moved a little faster, applying more pressure. Keira’s breathing intensified. Emma slid her fingers down and went inside. She knew Keira wouldn’t come like that, in this position; she just needed to be inside her.

“Babe, my clit,” Keira said in a husky tone.

Emma smirked more internally than externally and slid her fingers back up to where Keira wanted them. She watched Keira’s cheeks turn red, her head move back a little, and her mouth open and form an ‘O’ as Keira came silently at first. Then, she moaned, gasped, and kind of sputtered. It was sexy as hell and also kind of adorable. Emma continued to slide her fingers up and down and in small, concentrated circles until Keira’s hand topped her own, requesting she stop.

“I definitely missed that,” Emma said.

“Me too.” Keira opened her eyes and smiled up at her. “Finish the movie tomorrow?”

Emma smiled.


***

“She’s what?” Hillary asked.

“Not happy.”

“Emma, that’s crazy.”

“Hill, she misses you guys,” Emma told her friend over the phone. “I know you and Amara have your own life, but I think it hurts her that everyone has basically left, and it’s just her and I in the city. I’m not much help with the new job.”

“She may miss us, but she’s not unhappy, Emma. Trust me, I’ve seen Keira unhappy. You met her after her best friend, Michelle, died. But she’d already dealt with a lot of the grief when you two started dating. I was there for all of that. That is Keira unhappy.”

“Hill, I may have missed that part, but I watched her deal with the possibility of losing her business, her apartment, and barely making ends meet. I saw her go through some pain when Kevin moved away. He was one of her last connections to Michelle, and when he moved away, that was really hard on her. I’ve been through a lot with her, and it kills me to think that she might be unhappy.”

“Em, she loves all of us so much that it’s always hard when things change. When Kellan moved away, Keira struggled the most. I think part of that was because Kellan basically left to deal with her broken heart, but she technically never came back. She’s lived in Tahoe ever since. Amara and I moved, but we’re not all that far away. We’ve just gotten busy. And we’ve made other friends, too. Blame Greene if you want to blame someone.” She laughed a little. Then, she sobered. “Emma, we’re all at that point in our lives where things have changed, and we need to meet new people and make new friends. It’s not nearly as easy for me to do that as it is for Keira, because she’s a naturally social person.”

“I think she’s viewing it like she has to start over. She loves how long you’ve all known each other and how well.”

“Yeah, I get that. It’s hard to make new friends at any age, but we’ve had the same ones for decades. It’s almost like when you start dating again after being in a long-term relationship. You spent all that time getting to know them, and they got to know you. When you start dating someone new, it’s like, now I’ve got to start all over and get this new person to know the things about me that the old person did.”

“That’s one of the worst parts of a breakup in my opinion: losing all the time and starting over.”

“Right. I mean, Amara and I have been together for years now. And I’m still learning new things about her all the time. But I know things about her that no one else ever will, and I know some simple things, too. I know how she likes her coffee, for example. I can just bring her a cup in the morning without asking if she wants it or what she wants in it, because I know. New people don’t know that yet, and it’s exhausting to even think about having to go back that far with someone. Friends are kind of the same way.”

 “I remember moving out here. That was hard for me. I had to let go of my friends back in Chicago and start over here.”

“And this time, instead of you guys moving away, I bet it’s harder for her because she thinks we all left her,” Hillary replied. “We didn’t, by the way.”

“I know that. I think deep down she does, too. I just don’t know what to do.”

“Emma, Greene and Jo aren’t moving back. Greene signed a five-year contract. Plus, they really like it out there. I think it suits them. Kellan and Reese definitely aren’t moving back. That just leaves Amara and I. And, to be honest, I’m liking San Francisco less and less. Even the burbs are getting crowded now.”

“You’re moving, too?”

“No. We’re not going anywhere. But the main reason we head into the city is for work. There are other options for us if it comes to that. There are three colleges within a stress-free twenty-minute drive for me. If I ever left where I am now, I doubt I’d come into the city more than once every few months. We don’t even do After Dark anymore on a regular basis.”

“Hill, are you ready?” Amara’s voice came from Hillary’s side of the phone.

“We are going to the Homeowner’s Association meeting,” Hillary explained. “I should probably get going.”

“Okay.”

“I’ll text Keira, okay? We’re busy this Thursday… But, next week, maybe we can do After Dark? Just the four of us.”

“Sure, Hill. Thanks,” Emma said and then hung up the phone.


***

“I’m really sorry, but I’ve accepted another job,” Rose told Keira the following Monday.

“Wait… What?” Keira leaned over her desk.

“Claudia found something in Seattle that’s perfect for her. Her family lives about an hour outside of the city. I started looking a few weeks ago. I didn’t think I’d find something so fast, but they really like me and want me to start as soon as possible. They’re even giving me vacation pay and letting me take time off for the cruise. I told them I have to give you two weeks’ notice, and they said that’s fine. I know I should have told you sooner, but Claudia’s offer was only just signed. They’re giving us relocation. She only moved here for school. We stayed because we both got job offers out of college.”

“I know. I guess I just thought you were in this thing with me for the long haul. We’ve been making plans for your department, Rose. Are you sure there’s nothing I can do to make you stay?”

“I love working here. This has nothing to do with you, Keira. It’s just about my family. Claudia is my family, and we want kids. She wants to be closer to her parents, and neither of us wants to raise kids in San Francisco proper. We’re going to get a place outside of Seattle, with a yard and a dog.” She smiled with her obvious happiness.

“I’m glad for you guys,” Keira said, meaning it. “Finding your replacement will be hard, but I’m happy for you and for Claudia.”

“Thank you. I’ll help however I can, and you and I will keep in touch.”

Keira nodded and smiled at her but knew that wouldn’t be the case. Every time someone she worked with said they’d keep in touch, time would get away from them. Even Kevin, who had been her closest friend and her roommate for a while after Michelle died, took months to return her calls most of the time. Then, she’d taken the hint that he was too busy for her and stopped calling. She talked to Rose about her last two weeks. When the woman left her office, Keira sat there wondering if she’d just lost another friend. Hillary’s text message about going to After Dark couldn’t even cheer her up.

She went back to work, trying to formulate her plan to expand the business further with a few more people in Los Angeles. She’d thought about the agent and booking side of things, and it just made more sense for someone to be there. Most celebrities, that they’d be able to book with, live there or in New York anyway. It would be nice to have someone local to meet with them or their agents if needed. By the time she was packing up her bag, she was tired and ready to spend an hour in a hot relaxing bath.

“Hey, Mom,” Keira greeted as she made her way to the car.

“Hey, honey.”

“I was just about to get in the car. Can I call you when I get home?”

“I just wanted to give you a quick update on Dad,” she said.

Keira stopped walking and asked, “Is he okay?”

“Yes, he’s okay. They’re releasing him tomorrow morning. But he’s going to need some help getting around for a while, and he’ll need daily insulin injections now, too.”

“I thought the diabetes was under control,” she replied.

“It was. But with everything else, it’s gotten worse. He’s terrible at taking care of himself; you know that.”

“I know. Do I need to come home for a while and help? I’m not sure Emma can get away for too long, but I can take time off if I need to, and she can fly down for the weekends. I don’t want you taking care of him all by yourself, Mom.”

“I’ve got help for a few hours each day. A nurse is going to come over. She’s going to teach me how to do the insulin shots and check his blood sugar just in case something goes wrong when she’s not here.”

“I’ll fly down this weekend. I’ll learn how to do it. Emma can learn, too.”

“If you want to come for a visit, I won’t stop you. You know we love seeing you and Emma.”

In the years since she and Emma had first met, her parents had gotten more supportive of not only their relationship but also of Keira’s career choice and place they’d decided to call home. It had been a process, to repair the relationship with her parents; her father in particular. But they’d worked at it. And now, they were all stronger because of it.

“I’ll talk to Emma tonight. We can fly down Friday night after work and back up Sunday night. I’ll stay there longer if you need me.”

“Okay. Send us the flight details. Your father will want to pick you up.”

“Mom, we’ll rent a car or something. I don’t want him picking us up. He’s not well. That’s why we’re going there, to begin with.”

They disconnected after her mother finally agreed that they wouldn’t pick them up at the airport. Keira got into the car and drove home to talk to Emma about an impromptu trip to Los Angeles. They’d have to skip After Dark with Hillary and Amara this week since they’d need Thursday night to pack.


***

“How do you feel?” Emma asked.

“A lot better, knowing they’re getting more in-home care than when we got there,” Keira replied. “He looks good, doesn’t he?”

“He does, babe. I don’t think he’ll need that in-home care for too long. That nurse you hired seems to scare him.”

“Well, my mom doesn’t. And the one she found him only helped a little. This one is there twenty-four hours a day until I say so. He better get in line.” Keira smiled. “Are you sure you don’t mind me working before we head to the airport? I just knew we were going to be here, and the guy I’m interviewing lives about twenty minutes away. So, instead of flying him up to the city, I thought I’d just meet him for an interview here over some coffee.”

“It’s fine, babe. I’ll just wait for you here if that’s okay,” Emma said.

“Sorry we had to stay in a hotel. The nurse is in the guest room at their house now, and I wanted to get her set up before we left.” Keira leaned down and kissed Emma’s lips. “I’ll be an hour at most.”

“Take your time.” Emma smiled up at her wife, who had dawned a more professional outfit than the hooded sweatshirt and jeans she’d had on yesterday at her parents’ house.

Emma did work herself for about an hour, waiting for Keira’s return to the hotel. She’d already packed their things – which was good because Keira wasn’t back in an hour. Emma texted her wife after another thirty minutes had ticked by. They had to leave for the airport soon, or they’d miss their flight.

“I know. I’m so sorry I’m late,” Keira said the moment she opened the door.

“That might have been the first thing you ever said to me,” Emma replied with a smile and a thought back to the day they met.

“Very funny. I’ve gotten a lot better since then.”

“That’s true. You’re rarely late now. What happened? Traffic?”

“Actually, no. Must be a Sunday thing, but there wasn’t any traffic.” She sat on the edge of the bed next to Emma.

“How was your candidate?”

“Terrible.” She laughed. “He was awful. I’m not sure what the recruiter saw in him, but I’ll talk to her later.”

“If he was that bad, what took so long?”

“Well, I was sitting at the Starbucks, wishing I could get out of the interview after about five minutes, when I looked past the guy across the street and noticed there was a ‘for lease’ sign on the building. I was able to cut the interview short, thankfully, and decided to walk over. I called the number on the sign, and it turns out, the building is owned by the same company that owns the condos next door. The manager came over and gave me a tour.”

“A tour of a building? Why?” Emma asked, turning toward her wife.

“It’s a three-story office building.”

“Why are you looking for offices? Your people in LA all work from home, right? That’s the plan?”

“You know Carey?”

“One of your planners, right?”

“No, that’s Carly. Carey is in marketing. She lives in North Hollywood with her fiancée, Drea.”

“Okay…” Emma lengthened out the word.

“She’s the one that comes up to the office every now and then, and–”

“Oh, Carey. Right.” Emma remembered. “We went out to drinks with her a couple of times, and she and Drea were at the holiday party. They’re really nice. Drea was hilarious, if I remember correctly.”

“You do. Anyway, when she called on Friday, Carey mentioned that working from home wasn’t something she particularly enjoyed all the time. Drea also works from home. They only have a one-bedroom apartment. I saw this place, took the tour, and I loved it, Em. It’s small enough to not be too big of an investment. It’s a three-year lease, so it’s not forever, and it’s big enough that we could grow the company here. Plus, the location is great. It’s right there on the corner of a busy street. The price is high, but not ridiculous; the business can afford it. If we invest more in this booking part of things, we can do it here, and it can grow faster than if we did it up there.”

“So, wait…” Emma held up her hand. “You want to put an office here, too?”

“Yes, I do.”

“The one you just saw, you didn’t sign a lease, did you?”

“No, Emma. I wouldn’t do that without talking to you first.” Keira placed a hand on Emma’s thigh. “I want to talk to my VPs and department heads first. It might be a terrible idea. I’m not as impulsive as I used to be.” She smiled at Emma. “I got the info, and I’ll share it with them tomorrow when I’m back at the office. But, I don’t know… It just felt right to me.”

“Let’s talk more on the way to the airport. We don’t want to miss our flight,” Emma said, standing.

Keira’s hand turned her around until Emma was in front of her and Keira’s hands were around Emma’s waist.

“We have time,” she said with a lifted eyebrow.

“Keira, what has gotten into you?” Emma laughed as Keira unbuttoned her jeans and unzipped them shortly after. “Babe, our flight.”

“We have time,” she repeated, lifting Emma’s shirt and kissing her stomach. “I can’t get on a plane without touching you first.”

“It’s a short flight,” Emma argued mostly for fun because she wasn’t about to turn Keira down when she was like this; all turned on and sexy.

“Not short enough.” Keira pulled down Emma’s jeans, revealing her underwear. “Kick them off, babe.”

Emma kicked her shoes off first, followed by the jeans. Keira pulled Emma’s shirt and bra off. Emma removed her underwear and stood nude as her wife stared at her body with smoky eyes.

“Aren’t you going to–”

“Nope,” Keira said, pulling Emma’s body into her. “Stand still.” She smirked.

A moment later, Emma felt Keira’s tongue swirl around a nipple. A few moments after that, she felt it a lot lower. Several minutes later, Emma came with her wife’s lips sucking on her clit while Keira’s fingers moved inside her. An hour later, they’d missed their flight and had to take the one after back to home.


***

“Oh, wow,” Emma said.

“Yeah?” Keira asked as she climbed back on top of her wife. “Again?”

“Keira, I’ve lost count of the amount of orgasms I’ve had this week. My body is actually sore.” She chuckled as Keira kissed her neck.

“We haven’t been like this in so long, Em. I missed how we used to go at it like bunnies.”

“Me too. But can I ask what brought this on?” Emma brushed Keira’s long hair behind her ears as Keira sat up straddling her on their bed.

“I’m excited,” she said.

Emma looked down at Keira’s center and said, “Really?” She lifted her eyebrows and met Keira’s eyes. “Can I see?”

“I can do better than that, babe. You can feel.” She took Emma’s hand and slid it between her thighs, running it through her wetness. “And you feel good.”

Emma watched as Keira’s hips began to rock. She filled her with two fingers and stroked her with her thumb until Keira came above her. Emma stayed inside her; loving the feeling of being inside her wife when her wife was this happy. Keira leaned over her and kissed Emma long and slow. When Emma slid out of her, Keira used that as an opportunity to slide back into Emma. Emma laughed for a moment until Keira curled her fingers. Then, Emma stopped laughing.

Hours later, Keira was staring at her laptop. Emma was reading a study on the impact of physical education courses in higher education. She looked over at Keira, who was typing an email, and just decided to ask her the question that had been on her mind since they’d gotten back from LA.

“Key?”

“Yeah?” Keira looked over at her.

“Babe, do you want to move to Los Angeles?”


***

“Huh?” Keira asked; not sure she heard Emma correctly.

“You’ve been so excited since we got back with the possibility of the new office. Your parents are there, and they’re not getting any younger. My parents are gone, so we’re not going to have to move near them.”

“So, you’re asking me if I want to move?” Keira closed her computer and turned her face toward her wife. “To LA?”

Emma turned her entire body toward Keira and said, “Be honest with me, okay?”

“Okay.”

“Babe, are you happy here?”

“Emma, I love you. I’m very happy with you.”

“I’m glad to hear that.” Emma smiled at her. “But I don’t just mean with me or within our marriage. We postponed After Dark because we went to see your parents. Hill and Amara could have gone this week, but you were busy working on the possibility of an office for Worthy Bash in LA. You were talking to Carey and Michael for over an hour last night.”

“Well, Michael would work out of that office, too. And Jocelyn is here, but she said she’s wanted to move to LA for a while now and would be interested in relocating if we have an office there.”

Emma smiled and said, “I know. I’m not upset that you had to work last night, Keira. I’m happy because you sounded so happy. You and Carey were even setting up a double date for the four of us the next time we go down there.”

“She’s really nice. And you liked Drea.”

Keira was worried. Emma had been concerned about her happiness a lot lately. They’d had so many conversations about it, Keira was starting to get a complex. If she complained about her morning coffee, would Emma think there was something more going on than the lukewarm temperature of a beverage? If she made a comment about how Greene hadn’t called her back after the last two messages she’d left, would Emma try to reach out to Macon or Joanna on her behalf to find out what was going on? Keira knew her wife. She knew Emma valued her happiness over her own in the same way Keira valued Emma’s happiness over her own.

“I do like Drea. She’s funny. I told you that.” Emma smiled and gave a soft laugh as she reached over to cup Keira’s cheek. “I think you think I’m upset or concerned about moving. I’m not, Key. I just want you to tell me what you want. I know all your friends moving away has made the city less attractive to me.”

“It has?” Keira asked, turning completely now to face her wife.

“Yes. Babe, when I first moved here, I had no one. I’d just left all my Chicago friends behind. I had to start all the way over here, and I met you. You introduced me to this amazing group of women.” She paused. “And Kevin.”

“And Kevin,” Keira repeated.

“Your friends basically adopted me. I feel like even though I wasn’t there in the beginning, I got to watch Macon find the love of her life and Hillary dance around things with Amara forever before they finally figured things out. And even though I’m not as close to Kellan, I still got to be part of her wedding to Reese. I lost them when they all left, too, Keira.”

“I know.” She patted Emma’s thigh. “What are you saying though? You’d actually consider moving to LA?”

“I haven’t heard you laugh as much as I have this past week in… I don’t know how long.”

“I’ve been having fun.” Keira smiled.

“I know. If you’re doing this office thing, it makes sense to have a leader there to support it,” Emma replied. “Do you want that to be you?”

Keira thought for a minute and asked, “Remember when we first started dating? We thought I was going to have to move to LA and live with my parents.”

“I remember,” Emma said with a smile. She took Keira’s hand. “This time is different, though, Keira.”

“Emma, how would we even do this? You work up here. We live up here.”

“We find a place down there. We can buy or rent until we find something we want. I can find a job down there.”

“You’re willing to just change jobs like that?”

“If it means you’re happier – definitely.”

Keira squinted at her wife and said, “Emma, are you okay?”

“What do you mean?”

“I keep asking you if you like your new job and you keep telling me you just need time to get used to the workload and this new team. Is there more to it than that?”

Keira had noticed her wife’s change in demeanor since she’d taken this promotion. She’d been complaining about her new team more and more along with the problems she had to solve for them. Her assistant wasn’t nearly as good as the one she used to have. She’d been working at home more and more, and her usual joy from the work she did in public health just wasn’t there anymore.

“I don’t know. I just feel like I’m in a rut at work. I can’t seem to get ahead of the things I need to do and the things that are being asked of me on top of those things. I was hoping the people I took on would be better at managing their teams and their problems. Instead, I think I spend most of my day with people in my office, trying to help them figure something out. I have no time left over to do my actual job.”

“I knew something was up. Why didn’t you tell me?” Keira asked, sliding her hand up to Emma’s stomach and using it to encourage her wife to lie back, which she did.

“Because I thought I’d get better at this eventually. And you’ve been dealing with stuff at work, too. Rose leaving was only the most recent thing. You had that guy who accepted the VP offer decide to take something else at the last minute, and you had to start over. You’ve been dealing with missing all your friends, and – I don’t know… I just thought it was my turn to worry about you.”

Keira looked down as she moved more into her wife, leaving her hand on Emma’s stomach but sliding it up under her shirt to caress the skin. She smiled softly, leaned down, and kissed Emma sweetly.

“I love you for that, but you know that’s not how this works. I always worry about you, and you always worry about me.”

“I know.”

“Do you want another job, Em? Here or anywhere else?”

Emma seemed to consider it for a moment and said, “I think I might.”

“Then, you should get your resume out there, babe. I’ll help however I can; whatever you need. I’d hire you myself, but I don’t think you have any event planning skills.”

“Hey! Technically, I planned our wedding,” Emma argued.

“Actually, you planned the proposal. The wedding was a spontaneous thing.” Keira placed her hand between Emma’s breasts to feel her heartbeat. “And I’d do that all over again with you.”

Emma placed her hand over Keira’s and said, “Me too.”

“Why don’t we look at the finance tomorrow? Maybe you can put in your notice, and we can be fine without you working for a while. You can take some time off until you find something.”

“I don’t know that I need time off. I mean, don’t get me wrong: a vacation does sound nice. But I’d only be interested in that if you could take time off with me. It sounds like that’s impossible.” She smiled up at Keira. “You’re opening a new office in Los Angeles.”

“Apparently,” Keira replied. “Would you really consider moving to LA?”

“I’m here because of you, babe.” She cupped Keira’s cheek again. “I moved here for a job, but I stayed this long for you.”

“Carey and Drea go to these monthly poker nights with a few friends they said we might like, and Michael’s sister owns a lesbian bar in West Hollywood. Indy is actually thinking about taking a job there.”

“Bartender at After Dark, Indy? When did you talk to her about this?”

“She’s still working like a million jobs. I hire her as the bartender at events sometimes; you know that.” Emma’s eyebrow lifted, and she gave Keira a glare. “I know you know I’m married to you. Indy hasn’t hit on me in years, and if you remember correctly, she also used to hit on you.”

“Well, she’s still single, so I’m just checking,” Emma replied.

Keira slid her hand to cover Emma’s bare breast and said, “And I’m totally hot for my wife and no one else.” She squeezed Emma’s breast before she started toying with her nipple lightly.

“We were having a serious conversation,” Emma reminded.

“We were; until you brought up Indy as if you should ever be jealous of her,” Keira said while twisting Emma’s nipple a little, earning a small wince from her wife. “Understood now?”

“Yes,” Emma answered as she moved Keira’s hair away from her face. “LA?”

Keira climbed on top of Emma and said, “I like the idea, yes. Let’s talk more about it tomorrow, okay? I’ll have the official decision from everyone at the office on whether or not this other office is a good idea and if this building is the right building for us.”

“And if it’s a go?” Emma asked as she slid her hands into Keira’s shorts under her panties and clenched her ass.

“Then, we take a trip to LA and see about finding a place to live.” She smiled wider than she had in a very long time.

They made love and fell asleep satisfied in one another’s arms. Before Keira’s mind finally calmed enough to let her doze off alongside Emma, she thought about the woman lying next to her. It still amazed her, even after all these years, how well Emma knew her. She loved her friends dearly and missed them, which was part of her melancholy, but she could find new friends to add to their group. She would never be able to find another Emma. Her wife was the one person on this earth Keira was supposed to spend the rest of her life with, and the fact that she was willing to move to LA, made it even more obvious to Keira.

She hadn’t thought about moving until Emma said it. But the moment it registered what Emma was suggesting, Keira’s heart had sped up, and the ideas and thoughts of what their life could be down there just kept coming. They could live close to her parents, but not so close that they’d expect them to stop by every other night for dinner. She’d be able to check in on her father and make sure her mom had what she needed to take care of him and herself. The office would need a leader down there. Keira had enough people in the main office to run the show up here without her needing to be there every day. She could fly up once a month or more often if needed.

Her main concern now, though, was her wife. She watched Emma sleep for a bit before she closed her own eyes. She wanted to make sure this was the right decision for both of them. It couldn’t just be about her. If Emma was miserable at her job, Keira would make sure she found the perfect one for her. If it was in San Francisco or somewhere else in the bay area, they’d stay. Keira wouldn’t let Emma sacrifice her happiness at work just for her.


***

“So, LA?” Hailey asked.

“Maybe,” Emma said.

“I guess I can see you living there. I mean, I couldn’t really picture you in New Jersey, but then you went to college, and it made sense. Then, I couldn’t picture you in San Francisco, but you met Keira and her friends, and it made sense. Now, I think I can picture you in Los Angeles.”

“Hails, it’s not official yet. Keira is running it by everyone at work.”

“Isn’t she the boss?” Hailey asked. “Charlie, can you get Sabrina? She’s crying about something again.”

“So glad Keira and I aren’t having kids,” Emma said under her breath.

“I heard that.” Hailey laughed. “And now that my wife is seeing to our crying child, we can return our attention to you.”

“Keira is the boss, but she has people that need to approve things like this. It’s not just her decision.”

“And you don’t care either way?” Hailey asked.

Emma moved her phone from her left ear to her right as she stared out through the glass wall of her office to two people on her team who appeared to be more concerned with getting the coffee maker to work than actually doing work.

“Actually, I think I could use another of my patented fresh starts, too,” she said.

“Yeah?”

“You know how I used to be a major fixer?”

“Yes.” Hailey laughed.

“Well, I’ve been working on that for a long time, but I’m not fixing this for her this time. I honestly think this is something we both need. The things that tied us here aren’t here anymore. I think we’d be happy there. But you’d be proud of me, Hails: I’m not looking up houses or trying to figure out where I can work yet. I’m letting Keira run the show here.”

“I think that’s good, Em. Keira and I both know how you like to just jump in and take on anything to fix a problem.”

“I told you; I’m working on it.” She laughed.

“Your whole life,” Hailey replied and laughed back.


***

“Cards on the table?” Emma asked.

“Dinner’s on the table. You want to play cards now?” Keira joked.

She was nervous. It had been over a week since their initial conversation about moving to LA. She’d talked to everyone at work to find out if it was a sound business decision and had gotten her answer. She’d been so excited at the thought of opening this new office and of learning a new city, but she’d been trying to keep that excitement at bay a bit in case Emma changed her mind.

“I married a comedian,” Emma teased back.

“Emma, I want this,” she blurted out as she sat down at the table. Her eyes got big, and she added, “I didn’t mean to just say it like that.”

“No, say it, babe.” Emma’s expression was so soft and genuine, Keira knew Emma just wanted her to tell her how she felt.

“It’s approved; the office and that location. I mean, there’s still a lot of work to be done – inspections and everything that goes with leasing a property… But even if it’s not that building, everyone loved the idea of opening an office in LA and making a focus of that office booking the talent for some of our corporate events.”

“That’s amazing, Key.” Emma smiled at her.

“I can stay here though, Em. I can ask someone else on the leadership team to go down there and run it, or I can hire someone. Either way, I can still open that office, and we can stay here.”

“But that’s not what you want, is it?” Emma asked.

“I’ve been so worried about having to start over, but I think I forgot how much fun it can be; how exciting it is to do something new and to get to know new people. Sure, Carey and Drea don’t know us the same way Hillary and Greene do, but that shouldn’t stop us from seeing if they can be real friends to us and us to them.”

“I agree,” Emma said with that smile Keira had always loved on her.

“You do?” Keira took a drink of her water.

“I do. I don’t really like living in the city the way I used to. It gets more crowded every week. And even if we moved outside of the city, we’d still be far away from Hillary and Amara with the traffic.”

“Yeah, I don’t particularly want to live where they live, either. I mean, Hill can make that drive because her classes aren’t starting at eight in the morning. She misses most of the traffic. We wouldn’t.”

“Exactly. And I don’t think adding more time on the road is going to solve anything for us.”

“I don’t either,” Keira agreed.

“I’m trying really hard not to fix our problem, Key, but I want to move to LA.”

Keira laughed and said, “What? You think I’m worried you’re fixing things?”

“Well, I brought it up, and it’s pretty big.”

“Em, you’re allowed to bring big things up without being called a fixer.”

“I don’t feel like I’m fixing anything,” she said. “I just wanted you to know that I didn’t mean to be the–”

“Emma, you gave me the idea. And I’m grateful because I do want this. If you’re saying you want this, too, then I think we just made the decision together. It’s not you fixing something. It’s us being a normal married couple making a big decision together.”

“All this time married to you, and I’m still learning.” Emma took a drink of her own water.

“So, am I. I was almost late to dinner tonight.” Keira smiled over at her. “Are we doing this?”

“I think so.”

“What about your job?”

“Let’s pull up our bank accounts after dinner and see if we can afford to move and for me not to work while I look for something down there. If not, I’ll stay up here and job-hunt. I’ll put my notice in when I get something new.”

“Rent or buy?” Keira asked, wondering if Emma was thinking this would be more temporary or permanent for them.

“Your family is there, Keira. If we move there, I think we’re staying for a long time.”

“So, we’re going to buy a house in Los Angeles?” she checked.

“If we can afford it,” Emma answered.

“I think we’ll be okay,” Keira said.


***

“I never thought you’d move away,” Hillary said.

“Neither did I,” Keira replied.

“I know we don’t see each other every day, but it’s going to be weird here without you, guys,” Amara said.

“For us too,” Emma added.

After a few months of trying to find a place to live and Keira flying back up and down as they built out and opened the new LA office of Worthy Bash, they were finally driving down to LA with the rest of their stuff to move into their new home. It had been hard, Emma had to admit that. She’d remained on at her job and had to go home many nights to an empty home because Keira was in LA staying with her parents. They’d done the long-distance thing, which was never something Emma wanted to do again, because there was definitely something said for going to sleep and waking up next to one person every single day.

Their house was a two-bedroom condo in Hollywood. It was a post-war building that had been updated about a decade ago, so it had an old feel with new hardwood floors, which appealed to both of them. It would be less work than a house but allow them to make it their own. It would also be a short drive for Keira to her new office. Emma still hadn’t found a new job. She’d put feelers out initially but hadn’t had any luck. She was hopeful that now that she’d be local, it would be easier for her to find something. She hadn’t been able to deal with her job any longer, though, so they’d made a plan and a budget, and she’d put in her notice. They’d be fine for a while, but she’d keep looking. She wasn’t someone who could be without a job for long without getting bored.

“When will we see you again, guys?” Hillary asked as they all stood next to Keira and Emma’s car which would tow the small moving container they’d rented to carry the remainder of their belongings to Los Angeles.

“I’ll be up here at least once a month,” Keira reminded.

“And I’ll fly up with her until I find a new job. Then, we’ll figure it out,” Emma said, taking Keira’s hand.

“I wish we could have thrown you a going away party,” Amara said.

“We’d be the only ones in attendance,” Keira replied. “Greene and Jo are busy in Sydney, and Kellan can’t get away from work.”

“We’ll do something all together the next time Macon and Joanna come back to the states,” Emma offered. “We can come up here, or you guys can come to LA. They can stay with you if it’s here, or with us if it’s there.”

“Where would we stay if they’re staying with you?” Hillary asked.

“You guys can fight for the spare bedroom.” Emma joked.

“We should hit the road, Em. We don’t want to get in late. We have to carry this crap in.”

“You didn’t hire movers?” Amara asked.

“It’s just small stuff. All the big stuff is there already. We didn’t see the point. We can carry a few boxes.”

“Girl power,” Hillary said with a smile.

“I guess this is it then?” Keira asked, looking from one woman to the next and then to Emma.

“For now,” Emma said, squeezing her hand.

“Tell your parents I said hi,” Hillary said as she reached for Keira to hug her.

“I will.” Keira hugged her back.

“And text when you get there so that we know you’re home,” Amara requested as she hugged Emma.

“We will,” Emma confirmed.

They said their temporary goodbyes. Then, Emma climbed into the passenger’s seat. Keira got in the driver’s seat and put the key in the ignition.

“Are you ready?” Emma asked her.

“For anything; as long as I’m with you.”

Keira smiled, and Emma knew that what Keira said all those months ago was right. They would be okay.


The End

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