Tumble Dry
by Buffonia

1. Thursday Night

The sheets still smell warm despite having cooled hours ago. Liv buries her face in the pillow before settling her left cheek upon the lavender casing. The scent of the fabric softener is supposed to mimic nature somehow, because that's what Miranda loves to buy. And it's a pleasant perfume, but far too rich to be a spring morning or a mountain breeze or anything natural at all.

Liv's lost somewhere between dreaming and overthinking when the mattress dips slightly to announce Miranda's arrival. A sneaky draft slips in between the linens with Miranda, completely dissolving the half-coherent images behind Liv's eyes. It's jolting and Liv feels her legs give a sharp twitch of surprise as she's brought back into her waking self.

"Sorry," murmurs Miranda, wriggling near. "Were you asleep?" Lips close, feet cold.

"Almost," Liv says softly, matching the murmur. She opens her eyes, but it's just as dark in the room, except maybe bluer. They're sharing the pillow now and Miranda's smile glistens, inches away and enticing. Liv traces the stretch of it with a cautious finger. "Smells nice here."

"Gardenia Rain." Miranda catches the fingertip in a quick kiss. "It reminded me of my Aunt Rebecca."

Liv pauses her hand, smile giving way to a more curious press of lips. "You want our bed to smell like your Aunt?"

"Her yard," Miranda amends and her grin gives a sly slope. "I lost my virginity in the flowerbeds."

Liv's smile returns as her fingers resume their travels, curving under Miranda's chin and over the tremble of jugular. Past collarbone and hidden freckles and sliding to rest at a lace cup of Miranda's nightgown. Gently squeezing.

Miranda inhales, swallows.

As Liv leans in to flutter kisses over her fingers' previous path on Miranda's skin, she hopes there's still some Gardenia Rain left for tomorrow.


2. Friday Afternoon

They'd gone for ice cream at a local candy shop and Liv had been particularly masterful in taming the three large scoops on her sugar cone. But now in the car and with only a few chocolate bites left, the wafer bottom gives with an ironic plop. And of course Liv's wearing her favorite pastel sundress, making it almost seem like self sabotage.

"Shit," Liv hisses, popping the broken ice cream cone in her mouth. She licks the cleanest napkin and dabs at the stain on her stomach, only smearing it more and cursing again.

Miranda takes her eyes from the road for just a moment. "Is it bad?"

"It's chocolate," Liv sighs, and wads the napkin to rub it more furiously against the cotton.

"I'll buy you another one." Miranda doesn't even glance from the road this time. But she clicks the windshield wipers up a notch as the rain hardens.

The napkin tears under the pressure, leaving bits of paper shreds in its wake. Liv practically growls. "I don't want another one. I want this one without chocolate."

"You're spoiled, you know."

"Because I don't want a new dress?"

Miranda laughs and pulls the car to the side of the road. When she cuts the engine, the music dies suddenly, leaving them to the rhythm of rain on the sunroof. "Let's see, then."

Liv pouts, bottom lip protruding childishly, and sticks out her belly to display the mess of cold brown on light pink. "Is it fixable?"

"Can't say the odds are in your favor," says Miranda, examining it closely.

Liv snaps the seatbelt release so fast that Miranda pulls back just before her nose can get sliced at the tip. "I'll fix it myself."

Puzzled, Miranda watches Liv push the door open with an angry nudge of shoulder.

The rain is colder than the ice cream had been, causing Liv to shiver fiercely. She really shouldn't chance catching a cold. Not to mention pneumonia.

Many heavy raindrops turn the dress a deep maroon in a matter of moments. It makes the chocolate patch less noticeable, but a victorious dark dribble still remains. Liv scratches it with her thumbnail, the strongest and longest of all five, as water pours down her face and in her eyes. She won't be deterred.

Until Miranda slides out the passenger side, where Liv left the door open, and hauls Liv back towards the car. "This is ridiculous!" Miranda has to holler over the storm.

Liv opens her mouth, about to protest again, but stops. She just looks at Miranda a moment and blinks. It could easily become a fight; considering how good they are at finding battles in the smallest of circumstances.

They're both soaking wet, eyes fixed on one another through the gray streaks of precipitation. Liv laughs this time, moves a sopping band of hair from Miranda's forehead and smoothes it into the matted blonde mess.

Miranda's face crinkles with amusement and she shakes her head. "You're insane." She's still hollering, but her tone is kinder.

When Miranda pushes Liv against the car and gets to her knees, the drop is padded by wet denim and a muddy ground. Instinctively, Liv's hands find their place on Miranda's scalp, fingers curling through the saturated mass of hair.

Miranda puts her mouth to Liv's stomach and kisses the little niche of navel through the thin spring garment, causing rainwater to pool between her lips from the pores of the fabric. Her tongue starts where this whole mess began, with the wet chocolate cotton of Liv's dress.


3. Saturday Morning

Liv loves laundry day. It fills the basement with the hot perfume of clean sheets and ironed shirts. Even the wet clothes, when peeled from the washer, have a calming effect. Or maybe what soothes Liv is the way Miranda bends when stuffing the piles of towels and socks into the dryer's metal mouth. Once its hollow belly is filled, Miranda slams the circular glass door and pushes the button. The machine shakes and purrs beneath Liv's bottom and Liv giggles as it vibrates to full speed.

There's also the row of damp items that will never know the joy of tumble dry. Liv's corduroys, the one's that fit just right, seem out of place next to the lacy delicates and satin bras, all pinned and hanging and strung across the line.

Two wicker hampers, one yellow and the other white, overflow nearby. The yellow one was supposed to be Liv's. Miranda had devised a system at first, but it easily fell apart since Liv's never done a load of laundry in her whole damn life. Now both baskets contain full messes of mixed clothes. And no one can keep track of who first owned what pair of designer slacks or some such blouse.

Miranda kissbites a patch of skin between Liv's neck and shoulder as her hand disappears beneath the hem of Liv's oversized jersey. A groan from Liv is drowned out by a clatter in one of the machines. Probably from some coins that were missed during Miranda's routine inspection of pockets.

If Liv could think straight, or at all, really, with Miranda's fingers working hard and fast between her thighs, she'd probably think it funny that she coincidentally comes when the dryer gives its first loud warning buzz. Time's almost up. But Miranda doesn't stop and Liv lets the ache grow tenfold and build into an even bigger climax as sinful linens and a rescued sundress rumble hotly in the dryer beneath her.

Liv almost wishes every day were laundry day. But then she doesn't, of course. Because that wouldn't leave any time to get things dirty.


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