Pairings: Dana/Natalie (sort of) and Natalie/Jeremy
Warnings: There are very minor spoilers for "Mary Pat Shelby."
Disclaimer: These characters don't belong to me; only the story itself belongs to me, and I'm making no profit from that.
Other Notes: The title is from "Shoe Money Tonight." The first part of this story occurs shortly after "Mary Pat Shelby," the later events sometime around "Small Town." Kris and Dine performed beta duty; any remaining errors and misjudgments are mine. Please, ask before archiving elsewhere. I love feedback on LJ or through e-mail.
There were quite a few nights that saw Dana crashing at Natalie's place, when they left Anthony's bombed off their asses and decided they were better off just taking one taxi. Most of those nights included both of them sleeping in Natalie's bed because she didn't have a couch and they were too drunk to remember or care that they were twenty years too old for sleepovers. Natalie was usually more wasted, but she was still the one who would remember that sleeping in all your clothes was thoroughly uncomfortable and an ironing nightmare. She would strip down and toss on a tank top or T-shirt of some kind with her underwear. That accomplished, she would gently go to work on Dana, careful to avoid rousing her friend from her stupor. Natalie took care to get Dana down to her bra and underwear, or at least bra and slip, so she'd have a few less crease marks to deal with in the morning.
Surprisingly, their trip to the bar -- not Anthony's, a quieter place where they were less likely to encounter people they knew -- the night Natalie reported Christian Patrick to the police resulted in Dana downing a hell of a lot more liquor than Natalie. Natalie knew Dana still felt bad about sending her to the locker room. She also knew Dana probably needed a few more hugs. Natalie figured both situations could be dealt with by having Dana just stay at her place again, and she convinced Dana with soft, forgiving fingers in her hair and rather loud cajoling. Followed, of course, by an extra squeeze of her shoulders.
When they got to the apartment, though, Natalie realized she was a little drunker than she had thought. She'd become so involved in undressing Dana that she'd forgotten when she was supposed to stop and accidentally unhooked Dana's bra. Dana was slumped forward against Natalie's shoulders, and Natalie caught a flash of silky, alabaster skin highlighted by the moonlight before consciousness hit and her clumsy fingers grabbed for dangling bra straps. She couldn't quite get the little hooks into place again, so she held Dana's bra closed with one hand against her warm back. She eased Dana down onto the bed with the other hand, the hand attached to the bruised-but-fine-goddamnit wrist, and didn't pull her hand away until it was almost pinned beneath Dana's back and there was no danger of the bra springing loose.
Natalie slipped into the bed herself then, tugging a sheet up over both of them and lying on her side to look at Dana's face. She watched a stray lock of Dana's hair creep slowly down across her forehead, and she didn't want to move it, didn't want to disturb the gold and its charcoal shadow. She bit her lip when Dana's mouth puckered to release a slow breath. Eventually the soft sound of those breaths lulled Natalie to sleep, her thoughts reflecting the shadows on Dana's face.
Natalie woke again before dawn, briefly, and she glanced at Dana. It took Natalie a moment to realize that both the sheets and Dana's bra had shifted as Dana turned in sleep. The roundness of Dana's breasts pushed out from underneath sky blue satin, and one nipple was visible just above the edge of the sheet, hardened in the chill of the morning. Natalie closed her eyes and reached out to pull the sheet up again; when the side of her palm brushed against Dana's skin she jerked away and turned to face the wall. Her hand slid down to the warmth between her legs, but she resolutely crossed them and fell back asleep with her fingers pinned, immobile.
When her alarm went off about an hour later, Natalie slapped a hand on the snooze button before the radio announcer could get out more than a syllable. She grabbed and put on sweatpants from the floor, went to the bathroom and then to the kitchen without a glance at the bed. She had just emptied the last cup of water into the coffee filter when Dana wandered out of the bedroom with a hand at her back, yawning.
"Damn bra," Dana said, turning around to show Natalie where she was holding it closed behind her. Natalie blinked and turned to drop bread into the toaster as Dana spoke again. "The clasp pinches my back all day, but I fall asleep in it and it just pops right open. Do you believe this thing?"
And Dana had laughed as she plucked at the hooks, fitting them neatly closed behind her. Her smile was wide and her eyes were sparkling in the happy, incredulous way that always, always made Natalie just have to smile brightly back. She gave Dana a piece of toast when it popped up, then told her to take a quick shower while they waited on the coffee. Natalie sighed in relief as the door clicked shut. Then she shook her head and focused determinedly on buttering her toast. Dana came out shortly with a towel wrapped around her; Natalie quickly loaned her a clean shirt, one of the larger ones she kept around for fat days, or something. She retreated to the kitchen to pour coffee as Dana changed. Dana completely forgot to take the previous night's shirt back with her, and Natalie found it later and shoved it into the bottom of a drawer without really thinking.
Natalie mostly blocked that night out of her mind, chalking it up as just one more thing lost in alcoholic blackouts and fuzzy nights spent grousing and cuddling girlishly with Dana in bars and the backseats of taxicabs. Something changed during the fifth week after Natalie and Jeremy started sleeping together, though -- some two months after the hazy night with Dana. Jeremy and Natalie were having sex at her apartment, and Jeremy was moaning and groaning, pushing himself into her. He came quickly, but she still wasn't there, so she kept thrusting up to take him inside until finally she gave up and faked it so her exhausted boy could pull out and go to sleep. He slept deeply no matter what, but especially after sex. His breath evened out to snores in moments, and she rolled away from his heavy arm over her breast.
Natalie moved her hand between her legs as she tried to quietly finish herself off. She stroked her damp slit with a short, jerking motion so the bed wouldn't shake too much, and she clamped her mouth shut. The tightness of her hand against her body reminded her of having held it there that night with Dana, and she imagined that her free hand on her own nipple was again smoothing over Dana's breast, allowed to explore the soft flesh this time. Natalie stopped the cries from escaping by letting the lump in her throat clog up and cut them off, so the only sound that came out was a series of hitched breaths like aborted hiccups as she came.
A few minutes later, she got out of the bed, shifting Jeremy's arm beneath the sheet and blanket before tucking both in around him. She bent automatically to kiss his cheek but pulled back just before her lips made contact. Natalie went into the bathroom and drank a glass of water, then splashed some on her face. She saw droplets streaming down her face in the mirror and smeared them away with her arm, trying to quell the idea that any of the droplets hadn't come from the faucet. Jeremy snored loudly at that moment, and Natalie would have giggled if she hadn't suddenly pictured Dana's slackened mouth delicately exhaling while she slept. Instead her nervous laughter came out as a deep breath she hadn't meant to hold.
Natalie rested her forehead on the mirror for a moment, letting its coolness seep into her heated skin. Then she went slowly back into the bedroom, dug around in her dresser, and slipped a white silk blouse from its depths on over her tank top. She fell asleep gradually with Jeremy's breath hot on her neck and Dana's perfume tickling her nose, and she slept only a little more restlessly than Jeremy.