Chapter One

"We have another patient," said Phillips as he turned the corner and ran into Doctor Darien Addison, the same person he had been trying to avoid.

"We have another patient?" Addison quipped, the sarcasm in her tone a normality. "You mean I have another patient. You never have patients."

Phillips nodded slowly, already feeling demeaned. He turned around to follow Addison back up the hallway he had just come down. "She's-"

"She?" Addison stopped, turning around with one hand on her hip, the other fingering the cold metal of the stethoscope around her neck absently. "Please tell me you didn't round me up another female patient."

"I-I-" Phillips stammered, his explanation interrupted prematurely.

"Did you not get the memo from Steele?" Addison's blue eyes flashed as she stopped outside her office, holding the door open for herself. She turned back to Phillips. "I can't have anymore female patients, so go shove that folder up someone else's --"

"She's seventeen-"

Addison rolled her eyes and shut the door in Phillips's face, settling down into the chair behind her desk. She watched him shuffle through the folder and turn to a page before talking himself into entering his office and trying again. Three. Two. One.

"And she's been misdiagnosed with four different disorders in the past year-"

"And she's still female," Addison added, turning on her computer before turning on the television. Phillips was doing a great job of ignoring the obvious so far, she was sure he would continue to blather on through her afternoon news report

"And now she's specifically requesting you," Phillips finally finished, holding out the folder for Addison to take. She snatched it from him, pretending to glance at the photo of the woman on the page Phillips had turned to. "You've got clearance from Steele already. If you want her, you can have her-" Phillips stopped short, his cheeks turning bright red as he tried to duck out of her office before she could respond.

Addison fixed an icy glare on the man and then snapped, "Well thank you, doctor Phillips. And next time I want a hot seventeen year old babe I'll be sure to get clearance from you and that idiot Steele."

Phillips nodded and left the room before she could hurl another insult at him.

Addison looked through the file, deciphering the scribbled doctor's notes on the subject, formulating her own opinions quickly. The girl was beautiful, although Addison knew better then to ever admit that much out loud. The last time she'd thought that about a patient she ended up killing someone, and Steele would have her job if anything like that ever happened again. Addison stared at the picture for another moment before shutting the file and leaving her office for the day.

On her way out the front doors of Cottage Hospital Addison heard a grating voice and stopped to greet, or rather annoy, Doctor Shelly Steele, head of hospital administration, and Addison's long time rival. Although technically Steele and Addison had completely different jobs and worked in separate wings of the hospital, Addison made it her second job to annoy Steele any way she could. The hatred between them was less than antagonistic but more then pretend, and although neither of them would admit it, their on again off again relationship was one of the few things that kept the job interesting.

"Addison, can I have a word with you?" Steele called, signing off on a chart that a nurse had handed her before taking Addison's arm and pulling her aside, out of the flow of evening hospital traffic.

Addison rolled her eyes but followed in silence, not at all curious as to what Steele was about to say.

"Phillips cleared you treating Tristan Beckham with me already, I've okayed it," she informed the taller doctor, who had folded her arms across her chest in defiance and shrugged.

"I wasn't worried about you okaying it either way," Addison responded, making to walk away from the conversation. "I'm not allowed to treat female patients. So I won't-"

"Did you not hear what I said?" Steele interrupted, frowning. Usually Addison was a rebel, all for breaking every rule that Steele set in place. That she chose this rule to abide by now was frustrating and childish. "I said you can treat her, so get to it."

"I heard what you said," Addison clenched her jaw, her eyes flashing. "I just don't care."

Addison turned on her heel, tossing her car keys into the air with feigned nonchalance.

"Darien!" Steele called, her voice rising an octave above normal. "Treat the patient."

"Is the patient here?" Addison turned around, backing her way out of the building with both arms raised, palms up. She looked around with wide eyes, the sarcasm in her face making Steele's blood boil. "Then I'm going home. Goodnight, Shelly."

---

Tristan Beckham sat in the waiting room at Cottage hospital outside a door that read Darien Addison, Ph.D. She stared at the raised letters with trepidation, knowing that when the door opened she would be next to waste two hours of time in the care of a man she'd never met. Darien sounded like a tall man with a boring voice and a propensity for inducing fatal boredom.

Tristan's step mother had dropped her off at the hospital on her way to work, handing her money for the bus and a copy of her medical card, "In case the nurses don't know what to do with you."

And then her step mother was gone and she'd walked the linoleum hall towards the wing of the hospital where the secretary at the front desk had directed her to go.

"Why do I have to come here for two hours? I don't need to be here," Tristan had told her step mom. It was less of a pout and more of an argument, a continuation of a conversation that they had already had twice before.

"Tristan, please. You're seventeen, you're going through phases and- and-" her step mother's voice faltered. Tristan could fill in the blanks.

The door swung open and a slender woman leaned in the doorframe, holding a black file in her hand. She wiped a lock of brown hair behind her ear and looked up at the girl slouched in the waiting chairs with half a smile. "You're Tristan, right?" Addison asked, closing the folder and holding out a hand to shake.

Tristan tore her eyes away from the woman's hips and tight jeans and looked up into blue eyes as she stood. She nodded and took the woman's hand, her sweaty palms nearly embarrassing. "Where's doctor Addison?"

Addison smiled, letting go of the girl's hand and rubbing it on her pants leg before inviting her into the office. She'd been checked out by women before, but almost never women she was going to treat, and never teenagers. "I'm Doctor Addison," she smiled, explaining that Tristan could sit anywhere she wanted. The girl smiled shakily and chose a chair. Addison sat across from her and reopened the file, trying to decide where to start. "You're Tristan Beckham."

"Doesn't take a genius to figure that out," the teenager responded, flicking lint off her sweater. She didn't look up in time to see Addison clench her jaw, already annoyed by the stupid girl in front of her.

"So you're mother called ahead and told me that the whole problem is that you brought home a girl and I need to fix it." Addison decided to get the tough subject out of the way. She probably could have avoided the bullet point circled with bright red marker at the top of the girls folder but she assumed the girl wasn't thrilled about being there and small talk would be pointless.

Tristan rolled her eyes and assumed her former position, slouched in the chair with her arms folded across her chest. She looked like she didn't want to be there. "My mom's stupid," she decided, looking away from Addison and then back at her.

"And why is that?" Addison prodded, hoping she could get the girl to open up, knowing it was a long shot.

Tristan looked at the woman and then rolled her eyes. She seemed annoyed and angry, two emotions that Addison would readily attribute to being forced to do something, like spend two hours with a psychologist. The question went unanswered.

"You know, I can spend our two hours talking and listening to you or doing my own paperwork, it's up to you," Addison said, leaning back in her chair. She flipped her pen into the air and caught it between two fingers absently. The girl frowned and then quickly put on the same face she had before, a perfect mask that said I don't care about anything. Addison looked Tristan over.

The girl was small, probably three or four inches shorter then Addison's five foot ten inches, and a great deal thinner. She wore a pair of ruined sneakers riddled with holes and covered in dirt, mismatched argyll socks, cut off black jeans and a black tee shirt with a slogan that read Feed the Hungry. The girl's choice in clothing was close to repulsive, but as Addison studied her, she realized that what was underneath those clothes looked delightful. Curvy hips and full breasts, pouting lips, dark eyes, long hair thrown back in a bun.

This was exactly why I shouldn't have female patients, Addison thought, taring her eyes away from the girl who was watching her curiously and down at the folder open on her desk. There had to be something in there that wold get the girl to talk, and to keep Addison's mind off of the girls hips. She wondered what kind of underwear Tristan wore, and then she shook her head and took a stack of files from the inbox on her desk, opening the first and beginning to file accordingly.

Tristan watched the doctor for a few moments before standing up and going to the door, deciding there was no reason to sit in silence with a doctor who was only going to do her paperwork. She could care less if her mother would be angry that she wasn't "getting the help she needed". She fished a cigarette out of her back pocket and turned the handle of the door, frowning as it refused to budge in her grasp. She tried the door again and then whirled around to face a smiling Addison, who had leaned back in her chair and surveyed the moment.

"It's locked," Addison gloated, holding up the key between her thumb and index finger. Tristan fought the urge to roll her eyes and pouted, flopping back down into the chair across from the doctor, fixing her with a icy stare.

"Are you even allowed to lock the door with a patient?" the girl asked, cocking her head to the side.

Addison shook her head, the picture of mock concern. "There are no rules against it, and unless you wish to file a complaint, which in your situation I doubt anyone would believe, least of all your mother, there's really nothing anyone can do." The doctor lied convincingly.

Tristan bit her lower lip, her first argument easily beaten. "Well you can't make me talk to you," she mumbled and stuck the cigarette between her pink lips, pulling out a small book of matches. She struck a match and watched it burn for a moment before lighting it. Addison was sure this was a poorly conceived act.

"You can't smoke in here, it's against-" Addison began.

"And you can't lock a seventeen year old girl in your office," Tristan retorted, puffing acrid smoke Addison's way. The doctor fought the urge to cough, but there was little she could do to hide how much she disliked the smell of cigarette smoke.

"Since you're locked in here, tell me something," Addison didn't think that approach would work any better than the other's had, but she decided it was worth a try, and at least she was trying, which was more then she could usually say.

It wasn't that Addison didn't like her job. On the contrary, she quite enjoyed it. But what had originally drawn her to the field of psychology was the research, the casework, the symptoms and the diseases. She had no interest in patients and their families and their problems. More often the not, patients lied, at it was with this attitude that Addison conducted her practice.

"You're a dyke, aren't you?" the girl blurted out. Addison realized she had been zoning out, but the harsh words on the girl's lips brought her back instantly.

"What did you say?"

"I said, you look like a dyke," Tristan repeated. She seemed to have found one of the doctors buttons, and she meant to push it. "You know, carpet muncher, beaver eater, faggot-"

"What makes you think I'm gay?" Addison interrupted the girl's unashamed display of vulgarity. Usually language didn't bother her, but that this girl had chosen this moment to begin taking, and about sexuality no less, had to point to something.

"The handshake. The nails, and the hair," Tristan chose a few things that stood out, although none of them were actually particularly telling. She was jerking the doctors chain.

"What's gay about my hair?" Addison pretended to be offended, and she ran a fake nervous hand through her short dark hair, disheveling it back into its normal state of bed head.

"Nothing," Tristan shrugged, flicking an ash onto Addison's desk. This girl was annoying at best, but Addison was suddenly interested in her, and why she'd chosen gay to begin with.

"I think you're gay, which is why you're here," Addison quipped, opening her patients folder and glancing at the notes. It seemed that Tristan had already been assigned to a number of other doctors at a number of other hospitals and practices, none of whom had successfully diagnosed her --at least according to her mother's standards.

Before Addison could get another sentence out the girl was standing again, in front of the door with her back to Addison, half smoked cigarette in between her fingers. "Let me out now," she said in a voice she had not used since they two had met. Addison stood and quietly unlocked the door, opening it for the girl who left without another word.

Tristan Beckham was already proving to be something of a challenge.

---

Tristan Beckham brushed off the nurse in the admitting room who insisted that she sign herself out and put out her cigarette. It was obvious that she didn't intend on staying inside the hospital long enough to have to put out her cigarette, and that ruled out signing her name on a useless piece of paper. She pushed open the glass doors and took a deep breath of the wintery air, frowning at the snow flurries that had begun to form outside on the sidewalks. It was eighteen city blocks to get home, and five to get to Jess Galloway's house. That decision was what Tristan called a no brainer.

She fished for another cigarette, flicking her current one into the gutter after using it to light the next, and waded through the falling snow towards Jess's house.

"I'm outside," she sent a text to Jess's phone as she waiting on the front porch of the fourteen story appartment building. She heard the buzz of the gate being opened and pushed on the front door, trudging inside the domicile and towards the elevators. Jess lived alone on the seventh floor, and even though climbing seven flights would definitely have warmed her, Tristan wasn't too keen on death by excersize.

The door was already ajar when she came to apartment number one fifty two, and she walked right in without announcing herself, dropping down onto the lumpy couch and helping herself to a bowl of MnMs on the coffee table. Yesterday she'd picked out all the green, so, naturally, today was red.

"How was your appointment thingie?" Jess called from the kitchen. Tristan smiled, inhaling the smells of freshly cooked enchiladas rice and beans, and then frowned at the question.

"Please, like my step mother isn't going to grill me enough when I get home," Tristan called to Jess. She listened as the woman slammed a few cabinets and the fridge, and then came into the living room with a baby on her hip. Tristan would swear by Jess's slamming. Its what made the food so damn good.

Jess was a head taller than Tristan, but with the same dark eyes and long black hair, the same curvy hips and pink lips. But where Tristan still looked young, life had taken its toll on her older sister, and it showed around the corners of her eyes, and the constant frown on her mouth.

Tristan held her arms out for her niece, nicknamed Binky, who started to squirm and reach out for Tristan when she recognized her.

"I'm serious though Tristan, how did it go?" Jess pushed for some answer to her question. "You seemed so worried about it yesterday and now today you don't want to talk? Was it bad?"

Tristan shrugged and looked away, cradling her niece in her arms lovingly. "It was just fine. The doctor called me gay and then I left and came here. It lasted like ten minutes."

Jess looked surprised. "What do you mean she called you gay?" Tristan could see her sister was getting protective so she backtracked.

"I mean we just talked about sexuality. But it was weird, Jess, so I ditched." She tried to keep a nonchalant tone, but Jess saw right through her.

"Was she hot?" the older woman asked, disappearing into the kitchen to check on an alarm going off. Something good was ready to be eaten.

Tristan felt the backs of her ears grow got as she blushed, trying not to think back to her doctor, Darien Addison, who had been completely gorgeous. She shrugged although no one was watching. "She was alright."

"Alright?" Jess quipped, snatching the remote from the teenager and changing the channel back to Oprah pointedly. Binky poked Tristan in the eye and then laughed when she overreacted, screaming in mock pain. "The last time you told me a girl was alright you were in her pants the next day."

"Dammit, Jess!" Tristan cursed, "Just give me some food, leave me alone."

The older woman rolled her eyes at her sister and left the room, coming back with a plate of food and a cup of koolaide. Jess had learned years ago that it was better to appease Tristan than annoy her.

"Well.... Then how is Mom?" Jess ventured, knowing the subject was also a sore one. She sunk down into the couch and watched her daughter pull Tristan's long black hair.

"She's not my mother," Tristan said in between shoveling spoonfuls of rice and enchilada into her mouth. She handed the baby off to Jess and continued eating in silence.

---

Addison dropped her sweaty leather gloves and jacket on floor of her entryway, reaching back to lock the door before kicking off her shoes and welcoming herself home. A miniature dachshund named Charlie trotted his way up to her and sat, peering up at her with wide brown eyes and floppy ears. She smiled, reaching down to pet the puppy, knowing that if Charlie was home, then so was Demi Nilsson, her lover.

"Dem?" she called as she walked through the living room, finding it empty, and picked up the puppy before climbing the stairs. "Are you up here?"

Addison walked down the upstairs hallway, gently depositing Charlie into his kennel before ducking into her bedroom to find a slender woman's torso and naked legs sticking out from underneath their bathroom sink, tackling the chronic drip in an oversized white button down shirt and lacy pink underwear. Addison licked her lips and grinned to herself, glad that Demi hadn't heard her calling. She tiptoed up to the bathroom door, staying as close to the wall as possible, and then got down on her hands and knees, crawling between her lover's legs without her even knowing. She gently leaned down and planted a kiss where the woman's cream colored legs met, and then promptly felt her head being squeezed between two strong legs.

"What the-?!" Demi shouted, sitting up and nearly knocking her head on the underside of the sink before realizing who had just kissed her. "Baby, you scared the hell out of me," she started to laugh as Addison rubbed her temples in mock pain, crawling away from the woman with a scowl on her face, making Demi laugh all the more. "Ah, I'm sorry, babe."

Addison pretended not to accept the apology, rising to her feet and making to walk away in silence before Demi reached out and wrapped long arms around her legs, immobilizing her.

"No, come back down on the floor with me," Demi ordered, a smile on her face as Addison agreed and sat across from her, legs crossed. Addison loved to watch Demi fix things, especially since her mechanical skills were completely non-existent. "How was your day, Darien?'

"I told a girl she was gay for the first time," Addison replied after thinking for a moment of how to answer. Aside from Tristan her day had been uneventful. She finished paperwork in the time that was left over after Tristan walked out, and then grudgingly did her rounds in the clinic. Steele took advantage of Addison's five years of practice in the ER at another hospital before becoming a psychologist as yet another way to save the hospital money. In exchange for two hours of clinic duty every day, Addison got to choose her cases -- at least she did, up until recently. She shook her head, pushing those thoughts out of her mind before the day took a turn for the worse.

"Why would you do that?" Demi frowned, scratching her head before turning back to the sink with screwdriver in hand. At least, it looked like a screwdriver to Addison.

"Because it was true, and she just kept avoiding it," Addison replied, leaving out most of what happened. A part of her wished she hadn't said anything about Tristan at all, especially as feelings of guilt began to arise when she remembered how attractive she'd found the girl. Chances were Demi wouldn't find the attraction offensive, especially since Addison had done nothing to act on it. But Addison knew how much self hatred she could reign down on herself when it came to feeling guilty, and often it was better to pretend other women didn't exist altogether.

"What else happened?" Demi urged Addison to continue after they had sat in silence for a few moments. Addison sighed, trying to come up with a compelling story out of her mundane day.

"Nothing, really. Met with patients, did my rounds, came home to find my beautiful girlfriend underneath the bathroom sink fixing things I can hardly understand." Addison smiled wide as Demi peered at her from beneath the sink, a shy smile on her face at being called beautiful.

"Can you hand me that wrench?" Demi asked, pointing to a pile of tools sitting in disarray in a red metal toolbox that Demi took everywhere. Addison fished for what looked like a wrench, and then decided to hand Demi a hammer, waiting for her reaction with pleasure. It was an ongoing joke between them that Addison, who had saved countless lives with scalpels and conversations, couldn't tell a wrench from a hammer if her own life depended on it. Demi smirked when she felt the heavy object in her hand, and then slid back out from underneath the sink and set down the hammer, scooting closer to Addison with mischief written on her face.

"What?" Addison asked, still pretending to be clueless. She felt her heartbeat accelerate as Demi wrapped her arms around her neck and pulled her closer, soft lips meeting her own. Addison kissed back as if she weren't tired from a boring ten hour day, as if this were their first kiss, or their last. When Demi began to smile they stopped to stare at each other.

"Hi, baby," Demi greeted her girlfriend in a whisper. "I missed you today."

"I missed you too," Addison smiled, pulling the smaller woman into her lap. Demi wrapped long legs around Addison's waist and long arms around her shoulders, her dirty fingers snaking up into Addison's short brown hair. They would probably both end up in the shower soon, anyway.

Demi leaned in again for a kiss, planting her perfect lips before allowing Addison's tongue between them, deepening the kiss with ease. "You -" she said between kisses, "are a little - excited?"

Addison nodded, feeling the urge to make sweet love to Demi come on fast and strong. She leaned back onto the carpet of the their room, pulling Demi on top of her, not breaking the kiss. Demi could feel Addison's strong legs beneath her, pushing their hips together, the thin lace between Addison's jeans and Demi's skin not enough to stop that glorious friction. Demi let out a moan, riding Addison slowly, hoping that she was going to get to do more then grind on her. She sat up then, straddling Addison's waist, helping her pull her button down and undershirt up over her head. Demi smiled as Addison's breasts fell out of their hold; Addison was braless.

"Since when do you not wear a bra?" she asked, smirking as Addison blushed, a red tinge creeping up her neck into her cheeks. Demi leaned down and followed the blush with her lips, kissing gently up Addison's neck. Addison strangled a gasp when a cold hand tweaked an already hard nipple, and then she grunted and flipped them over before Demi could stop her.

"Since I'm the butch in this relationship," Addison replied, pushing Demi down to the floor when she tried to sit up. "Now take off your shirt, woman," she ordered. Demi folded her arms across her chest in mock defiance.

"Not until you get rid of those pants," Demi offered a truce, and they both ripped off each others clothes, Demi giggling when she found Addison also without underwear, and nearly dripping wet.

Demi let out a shuddering gasp when Addison's fingers found her waiting flesh, delving into her wetness with grace and years of practice. She aimed right for Demi's tiny nub, rubbing her quickly and violently, watching as Demi's eyes rolled back and she began to moan softly. "Oh, Darien, baby go inside," Demi begged, her eyes half closed.

Addison smiled, leaning down to take a nipple between her lips before sliding a finger inside of her lover. After a moment she closed her eyes and added another, the sounds of Demi's pleasured voice and the feelings of ecstasy flowing between them enough to bring her over the edge as well.

When Demi came, she shouted Addison's name, clutching on to her shoulders with cold hands. Addison shivered, the beautiful display beneath her nearly too much to watch. "You're beautiful," she whispered into Demi's ear, nibbling on her ear lobe playfully. "I could watch you do that forever."

Demi let out the laugh that Addison practically lived for, a lilting giggle that brightened her entire face as her white teeth peeked out from between her lips. "I bet you could make me do that forever, too," Demi added, pulling Addison down on top of her. Addison reached up and pulled the comforter off of their bed, covering them there on their bedroom floor, Demi snuggled close beside her, the orange and red sunset shining down on them through wide windows.