TITLE: Cloud No. 9 - 4/?
AUTHOR: Alex's inflamed brain.
RATING: Bah… ah… hummm… ?????? Have no idea. R, maybe???
SUMMARY: Larry, Ally, Arctic foxes, Showtime, Monsieur Bonaparte, 9 1/2 Weeks and all sorts of other wonderful things…
SPOILERS: only for "Hats Off to Larry"
FEEDBACK: snowbunny@ifrance.com / skaterxphile@hotmail.com <-- you know the routine…

Standard disclaimers apply.

AN: I *might've* crossed the line between R & NC-17 here, but… seriously… who cares?! (As my friend Masha likes to say, "They obviously didn't read poetry to each other all night… Why hide the essence behind complicated sentences?") Still… Bad Alex. Bad bad bad Alex.

Now, I'm not big on teenybopper songs. That's why I was a little skeptic about M2M's "Shades of Purple" album which Anni gave me as a good-bye gift. However, she urged me to listen to it, and I actually liked it… Those 10 lines for some reason reminded me of "Hats Off to Larry", that's why I decided to include them here… Thanks, Anni :-)

Don't kill me. Hope you like it :-)

- - - Cloud Number Nine - 4 - - -

From behind a fortress of pillows, hornbooks, files, thesauri and other related (or not so much) items, Ally cautiously looked out in search of the enemy's troops. He was near - she could sense it. Unfortunately, when he finally appeared, he happened to be carrying wine… which Ally really couldn't resist.

Armed with only a laptop, a cookie and a ravishing smile, he landed near her post and peeked in. Ally pushed him away, then caught sight of the melted chocolate oozing from the biscuit he was holding… too good of an opportunity to pass up, she decided, and started planning out a strategy for capturing the innocent thing (the cookie, not Larry, of course). Explaining quickly to Larry that "being opposing counsel means *sharing*", she took a bite out of it at what seemed to him to be the most inappropriate moment, but his objections were briskly overruled with an accidental slip of Ally's lips, now capturing the entire cookie along with the tips of his fingers, past which she ran her tongue - no doubt with the sole purpose of licking away the chocolate left on them. When she finally swallowed the chocolaty mass, Larry's smile widened, eyes dark & glistening.

Humph. How was Ally supposed to draft a good cross when opposing counsel was being so sexy? They say Waterloo was tough…

Larry poured her a glass of Chablis, then turned back to his laptop, studying something fixatedly. After a minute or so he shut down the computer and plopped the files onto the floor.

"I'm done." He said triumphantly. She frowned at him.
"You can't be done."
"I'm actually done…" he repeated.
"Fine. Be an ass about it." she retorted.

He lay down, sipping wine from none other than *her* glass, and shut his eyes.
"Larry…" a meek voice called out as a soft hand sought his under the comforter.
"Hmm?" he asked, giving her his cocker spaniel smile.
"I… uh…" Ally started.
"Uh-huh?" he encouraged.
"I… suddenly forgot what I was gonna say…" she admitted and laughed a little, closing her eyes and nudging his shoulder gently with her head.
"That's okay…" he replied, kissing her forehead.
"You're not allowed to be sweet… Not now." Ally mumbled, flipping through her notes and pretending to be totally uninterested in him, all the while settling deeper into his embrace.
"Sorry. 'Twill never happen again."

"Augh!" she suddenly gasped, lunging towards the mirror, her hand clutching her chin in despair. "I have a… pimple..." Her voice sank, horrified.
"Where?" Larry asked, confused.
"Here! It's… BIG!" she whined, pointing at a microscopic spot on her chin.
"Oh yes… *huge*…" Larry rolled his eyes.
He got a pillow hurled at him in reply.
"It's all because of *you*…" she sounded like a kid, looking for someone to blame for a C on a social studies test.
"Ah, yes… Everything's my fault. All evil stems from Larry… Didn't you already know that?" he shot back, amused.
She threw her head back, annoyed. "My skin got mad at you and popped a pimple in revenge…" she attempted an explanation.
He nodded in that serious way he always did when he was clearly on the verge of laughter but wanted to hear everything out until the end.
"And how would that make things worse for… me?" he asked, confused.
"It's- you're- ugh!" She sat down on the bed, almost defeated. *Almost*.
"Thank you, that was such an extensive explanation… Is this what your court strategy's like?" he smirked. "'Cause if so, I better watch out, my ass will be kicked all the way from here to Sacramento…"

What followed on Ally's behalf was a furious pillow attack, accompanied by the slightest skin-against-skin brushes, which Ally really wasn't going for but actually enjoyed. Not that she'd ever admit it, though.

The corners of his mouth reached for his earlobes as he realized the position Ally had taken on - straddled over him, hands on his chest, eyes looking down admiringly at his abs. Both pillows which had been previously twisted into various shapes in order to make a Slushie out of Larry now lay somewhere in the vicinity of the bedroom door.

His body was tinted a most attractive shade of weightless amber, the soft light of the bedside lamp falling at just the right angle to produce beautiful shadows which lent a silhouette-like quality to both his & her bodies. Her svelte figure, so comfortably positioned over his, produced a very gentle, feminine glow he loved, especially with the shadows falling over her to give extra shine to her curves. In a still sort of surly voice, she murmured something about the Bar and how opposing counsel shouldn't be allowed to do "these sorts of things", but his roaming hands soon convinced her even if there *were* a law against it, neither of them - her especially - would be too faithful to it…

* * *


"He calls this 'fun'. He's 'amused'. Nice 'pastime'. Oh, I'm sure I make a wonderful 'pastime'. He likes wasting eternity and asking me all sorts of questions… *I* call this 'torture'. Not much of a difference, you see… not to him, at least.

"D'you like that?" he whispers into my hair, his hands doing things better left undescribed for lack of suitable words for them in the English language.
I sarcastically point out to myself, answering him with just a soft moan.
"Do you?" he repeats his question, kissing the back of my neck.
My reply comes in the form of incomprehensible noises, but he gets my point anyway. Good thing, because I'm unable to speak in logical sentences. Not with him doing…what he's doing…

He makes me forget everything, makes me float away to an unknown land which only we inhabit and only we know of. The nice thing is, he's there with me. What else do I need?

Twenty minutes ago, I was fully alert, responsive and *thinking*, not to mention *wearing something*. Now, I'm none of the four.

He's so soft with me, and yet so… *manly*. His fingers slide over my skin, applying just the right amount of pressure at the places where I crave it most - he just has a gift for sensing these things, he never *once* asked me for assistance in locating the spots he was after, he just automatically found them, as though he read my mind.

I really love what he does with his lips. Hands are good, but lips are better. He sometimes has those itty-bitty stubs of facial hair around his lips - God I love those. And he always smiles. Always. I love to watch him watching me - he seems fascinated, and he looks into my eyes, his own deep and dark and smiling, with such tenderness and emotion and…love. He loves me. More than he loves anyone, and more than anyone's ever loved me. It's amazing. Ethereal. Eternal. It is, really. He made me believe in love all over again. He essentially made me into a "me" instead of a "she", let me find myself and dive back into life.

He's my all. He promised he'd stay forever. I know he will. I believe him.

Need I really repeat how much *I* love him?

He likes being taken care of, but he likes taking care of *me* even more. That's what he's doing right now… He always needs to see my face, needs to see my eyes, needs to know I'm enjoying it, that this is what I want… Now, in perfect synchrony with his thrusts, I'm breathing out "My God I love you, I love you, My God I love you" in the manner of Kim Basinger making rainy love to Mickey Rourke in "9 1/2 Weeks"… Speaking of which… we re-watched it recently… and he did that blindfolded-tasting-test thing to me… rubbing jalapeno mustard on my tongue was particularly smart of him, because I started screaming like crazy, and when he tried to shut me up with cold whipped cream (the classic milky-sweet kind, not the supermarket crap they sell), he ended up toppling the bowl over onto me which… um, resulted in… um, some… "fun", should I say, that evening…

By the way, he looks fabulous wearing nothing but whipped cream…

Uhhh, I…veered off the point there… That's what he makes me do - disconnect, fly away, forget where I was initially headed. I love his spontaneity. I love how he's able to be sleek and sexy and witty and smart all at once. I love how he's able to change me. I love him.

Call me a pathetic heap of estrogen. It's what I am, and what I'm *proud* to be.

He's still so gentle, holding me, cradling me, even at the moment when most men would resemble bulls at a corrida, totally disregarding their female partners. But Larry's not like that. I'm rather shy about noise-making or wild unnecessary movements, so I just hold on to him, getting to the point of natural release *with him* in such a fantastically delightful way I'm on the verge of vertige. He calms down my gasps with a soothing "Shhh…", and, naturally, I melt all over again.

I bring my arms up and around his neck, kissing him thankfully. He stays silent for a moment or so, just smiling at me, then lets out a hushed "God bless pimples…" I laugh into the curve of his throat. He's so incredible. Did I ever mention that?

* * *


She's so lovely, my Ally. So quiet and so warm and so lovely. We lie together, listening to the pitter-patter of the gentle spring raindrops hitting the roof, and I hear a similar rhythm echo in my heart. "God bless pimples…" I say the first thing that comes into my mind. "Now, where is it again?" I joke, trying to locate the spot where Ally's imagination produced a pimple. She laughs, then covers her chin with her hand.
"See, it's not fair…" she sounds like a child.
"What's not fair, baby?"
"I try to be mad at you and inevitably end up like this…" she lifts her head a little and kisses my shoulder, obviously illustrating she doesn't really *mind* that inevitability.
"I assure you I had nothing but noble intentions at the beginning…" I joke. Hah. I wouldn't know a noble intention if it bit me in the ass. Ally agreed with my unvoiced thoughts.
"Oooh, is *that* was that was?! A *noble* intention?!" she chuckles, then continues. "That's a dandy cross I just planned, by the way… Richard'll be very pleased, no doubt…"
"Does Richard even remember what a cross-exam is?" I ask doubtfully.
She smiles, then answers with a soft kiss. "I don't wanna talk about Richard. I don't wanna talk about work."

She has the most incredible eyes. She once told me she thought I had 'bedroom eyes'. Now I, being far from narcissistic, don't pay much attention to my own eyes, but when it comes to Ally's… I can safely state *she's* the bedroom-eyed one. She exudes warmth. I've never seen a woman so immensely loving and sweet and so very goddamn beautiful. I've told her all of this a million times, and plan to do so a million times more. She usually just blushes and slurs out "Lar-ree…" in reply, her sun-kissed cheeks rising up to her eyes, which sometimes seem to glisten with tears. I know she's happy. I'll do everything I can for her to stay that way.

She's my dream, and my reality, and my love. My life. My forever. My infinity. My all.

She's breathing in and out deeply - she's exhausted, we haven't exactly been playing checkers for the last hour - and settles against my chest. I once again tell her she's beautiful, and get her purring the never-changing "Larry…" in reply. My hands slip under the covers to caress her back, and soon she floats off in a relaxed sleep. She always falls asleep before me, and I sometimes like to lie with her in my arms and imagine us in the future… perhaps it's a little sappy for a grown man, but the picture painted before my eyes is certainly a nice one.

* * *

This time, it was Richard's brilliant idea to bring Alice back for another heart-to-heart with Ally. Now, if before Ally was the one clearing up misconceptions for Alice, this time it was the other way around.

"You know what it's like to find out you've been Number Eleven Thousand Two Hundred Eighty Nine on your lover's Desirable Women list? No, of course you don't. You're Miss Perfect, with the ideal job and the flashy suits and the boyfriend who looks like he stepped out of a Jacques Britt centerfold and who loves you to pieces…" a glitch of jealousy slipped through Alice's metallic voice. Taking a deep breath, she decided to change the subject.

"Now, I'd think for a CEO of an enormous company, Raymond would have the least amount of decency to avoid Showtime's 11-to-1 movie lineup… Hah. Fat fucking chance. Not only does he prefer those blonde medusas to his girlfriend, he also prefers said girlfriend's FRIENDS to her…"

Ally's brows arched up. Alice continued with an all-too-sorted-out explanation. She'd obviously been through more than her share of lawyers, all of whom demanded explanations, and by then had learned her story by heart.

"They all do. You're talking on the phone with Becky/Katie/Ashley, and all *he* can think of is what she's wearing… Look, Ms. McBeal, I'm terribly sorry to disappoint you, but there's a pretty good chance your Knight in Shining Armor isn't an exception in that area. You've got an officeful of gorgeous women, you think he only notices *your* perfect legs when there are twenty seven hundred other pairs walking around? They're all like that, Ms. McBeal. You think they all get cable connected in their offices to study what, the hunting habits of the Arctic fox? Seriously…"

Ally's heart skipped a beat. She was absolutely sure those things didn't apply to *him*. Yet some distant corner of her brain shot out a powerful chemical, telling her it was time to activate that surplus lividness she couldn't take out on anyone else. Now that Alice brought it up…


"Do you watch Showtime?" she barged into his office, feeling at once angry and unbelievably stupid for questioning him like he was under suspicion for a double homicide.
"Some…times…" he stuttered out, startled.
"Ah, I see. And what do you watch on Showtime?"
"Usually, whatever they're showing… uhhh, why?" he asked cautiously.
"Just… wondering… You interested in Arctic foxes?" she continued her interrogation, standing right in front of his desk.
"Why, are you planning to become one?" he cracked unintentionally, receiving a steely glare in reply.
"Cute. Very cute, Larry. Do you want to have sex with Nelle and Ling?"
Larry almost swallowed his tongue.
"Is that an offer? I'd love to! In turn or with both at the same time?" he asked, smiling mischievously. She rolled her eyes with a growl.
"Ally, where is all of this coming from?" he finally snapped back into seriousness.
"I-- It's just-- you never know! I mean, one day you love me, and the next you're watching Arctic foxes on Showtime, sandwiched between Nelle & Ling!"
"Foxes sandwiched or me sandwiched?" he asked, at once genuinely confused and hoping to brighten Ally's mood. Unfortunately, it didn't work.
"Larry!" she yelled, suddenly on the verge of tears.
"Ally, what are you doing?!"
"Ovulating?!" he suggested a possible explanation.
"Freaking out!" she finally found an phrase to express her feelings.
"Why don't you calm down and *then* we'll talk…" he looked down at his work, which had been so pardonlessly interrupted by Ally's "freaked out" speech.
"I'm trying to talk to you-"
"Ally, this isn't talking, this is yelling - there's a very clear difference-" he tried to reason with her.
"I didn't finish!"
"Finish outside." He finally snapped, gesturing towards the door. He had no idea what had brought on that Niagara of questions, all aimed to undermine his faithfulness, but he hoped she'd have time to relax and think over her less-than-sweet tactics.

She stood up and watched him write something, pretending to be totally indifferent to her presence in the room. Turning on her heels, she walked out, head high, teeth clenched, feeling his sharp gaze on her back.

Outside, tears of both hurt and anger at herself trickled down her cheeks. She understood she couldn't just turn around and walk back into his office, though she really, really, *really* wanted to.

Inside, a single teardrop glistened on the matte surface of his desk. He gently wiped it away with his finger, and she, outside, could swear she felt his touch on her cheek at that very moment.

* * *


I look out the enormous window, past the tiny squares of golden light on the skyscrapers right outside our building and the glowing streetlights, sparkling immobile trees, racing cars and happy people down Franklin Avenue, towards the crimson skyline still holding traces of gleaming rays of sun. The atmosphere here is actually quite relaxing - dimly lit corridors, already empty offices - everyone finished their drafts and headed down to the Bar… everyone, that is, except me.

I finished my cross a long time ago. It's just that I prefer sitting here, between two worlds - not going home and not going out.

I call - no one picks up. I come over - he's "out". I admit I was very, very, very wrong. Okay, okay, a bitch… But deep down I still want *him* to come to me, so that I can apologize and at the same time know he *wants* to hear my apology. He'll want an explanation, I know he will, even if he doesn't ask for it up front, and the problem is - I don't have one.
I can't even bring myself to recall those two minutes in his office, where I avalanched an entire set of accusations onto him without even setting up a decent pretext first…

I hate myself. I love this view, love the lights, love this chair, love Larry -- more than anything -- and I hate myself.

A year ago, I would've been proud of something like this. I'm not usually known to be too self-critical, but right now I wanna smash my own head to pieces.

He always calls. Right before leaving work, he always calls, always tells me he's on his way. I miss the sound of his voice, miss the way he says he loves me…

It's probably dangerous to love somebody so much. And now, when - due to my very own stupidity - I'm forced to be without him for a *very* long 7 hours, I feel like he's been away for days, and my heart's about to jump out of my chest, because there's no way to release everything that's built up inside.

I feel… incomplete. I need him here. I need to tell him I'm terribly, awfully, heart-rippingly sorry, before I decide to go flying out the window towards the steel giants emerging from the crowd past my windows. It's almost a whole other dimension out there, and I'm closed off from it all in my own little cubicle of guilt and chagrin.

The first chords of something a-la-love ballad start up in the hallway - that's our new hip "janitresse", as Richard likes to call her, Melissa - gets paid 12 bucks an hour for blasting teeny hits and tangoing with a mop.

"I remember
Date and time
September twenty-second
Twenty-five after nine
In the doorway
With your case
No longer shouting at each other
There were tears on our faces
And we were letting go of something special…"

Thank you, Melissa, for playing a song that lifted my spirits to unattainable heights. May I go kill myself now or must I wait a little while longer?

Paradoxically, a row of scenes lines up before my eyes, replacing the glittering lights of an evening Boston I was trying to take refuge in…

…Him, in the cold, looking at me like he really *was* about to send the flight, together with his "rather complicated situation" starring his darling little boy, to hell and further… Sam blabbing away about how much he enjoyed my company… *His* arms protectively around me, my cheek pressing against his shoulder, his fingers stroking my hair for just a few seconds, which didn't even come close to enough… I needed to hold him forever… Those feelings of loss, tragic inevitability, despair, circling through the air like mosquitoes… And, while walking home, the recollection of those memories bringing back only more tears - how by simple chance, through a probable mistake of the mailman who forgot to deliver Tracy's notice of her relocation in time, I met the most wonderful, loving, remarkable, smart, sexy man in the history of humankind…

"Ms. McBeal," Melissa squeals out from the hall, grabbing her coat. "the keys are on the desk, right here…"

"Uh-huh…" I nod simply. Whether the keys are on the desk or on a plane to Timbuktu, I really don't care, their location doesn't govern the weather here… I need Larry.

He's out there, somewhere, past the thick glass dividing the world in two: my faults and the glowing dimension I can't access. I'm left to swim in the first… and it's all my fault… my eyes start to sting - unmistakable sign of oncoming waterfalls. I need *his* hands to wipe them away, *him* to hold me and comfort me and love me…

The skyline is set aflame by the day's last spurts of fiery red, and I realize sitting here all night staring at the bits of light adorning the enormous structures of Boston's Financial District won't do me much good… Some time ago, I was able to lose myself completely here, breathing in the vitality and energy it exuded with every step, every movement… Now, everything seems to taunt me, shove my mistakes into my face… The city calls his name, and I feel helpless, beat, tormented. Gee, I wonder why…

I walk home, past sparkling trees and huge window displays, my mind completely blanking. I can't even think of what I'll say to him if he *is* home… and if he's not… I open the door, eyes squeezed shut, afraid to even take a breath… My heart sinks when I step into…

…darkness. If he's not home by *this* hour, he probably won't be home all night…

I lean back against the wall, eyes swimming with salty tears -- again. I can't even define what I'm feeling, but I *do* understand that it's tearing me apart, and that the world without Larry just isn't… worth living in.


My heart freezes. I hear soft footfalls nearing, then watch the room almost immediately become completely absorbed by a light golden hue - he turns on the light and miraculously, magically appears in the doorway to the bedroom, leaning against the frame.

"Came to check what I'm watching on Showtime?" he asks carefully, smiling at me, eyes immersed in a soft fever.

I love him. Unconditionally.

* * *

She suddenly swooped up into his open arms, burying her head in his shoulder. He wrapped her in his embrace, rocking her from side to side like a little child. It seemed to him she was frightened by something, seeking protection in his arms. Lifting up her loving, glistening eyes at him, she started off on what seemed to be an apology, but he silenced her with a soft kiss.
"Larry--" she began again when their lips disconnected, tears now running one by one down her cheeks.
"Calm down." he said quietly, brushing loose strands of hair away from her face.
She dropped her head, gathering together the right words to start again.
"Shhh, it's okay…" he carefully warned her upcoming speech. "Ally, it's my -"
"No it's not…" she insisted, still crying. He knew that no matter how long he tried to convince her *he* was the one whose totally uncalled for, to his mind, final reply turned the situation into this, she'd still think it was her fault. He decided not to argue with her right then - after a wonderful night and a self-appointed morning off, they'd be in better shape to discuss it.

"Did you know," he started with a sly smile, "that there's a breed of Arctic foxes that actually-"
She dropped her head on his shoulder, laughing.
"No, I'm serious," he argued, "Showtime has *the* coolest wildlife programs…"
She wrapped her arms around his neck, tugging with her teeth at his tie.
"I'm hungry… You hungry?" he suddenly asked, then, not waiting for her reply, took her hand and led her to the kitchen.
"We have the most amazing jalapeno mustard…" he continued, sending her back into laughter.
"Let's skip right ahead to the whipped cream…" she murmured, settling back into another kiss. Her hands got tangled in his hair; his dropped down to her waist.
"I missed you…" she continued, unbuttoning his shirt. He kissed her forehead, unwrapping her scarf from around her neck, then picked up a strawberry from the fruit bowl on the table and placed in it her mouth.

- - - -


He looks so amazing in this light… in any light, as a matter of fact… He's so deliciously disheveled, lying here, under me, his eyes dark & soft with passion, shimmering with verve. My Elysium's right here, with him, and I don't need anything else.

"Wine?" I ask mock-suspiciously, nodding at the glass he picked up from the nightstand.
"No, hydrocyanide, Ally…" he shakes his head in disbelief, smiling. I take a sip, then kiss him, my lips still tasting like Beaujolais. He looks up at me a little hazily, then flips us over, so now he's on top. I look to the side, watching the firelight turn his skin to gold.
"You okay?" he asks gently, kissing my cheek.

I suddenly want to cry again. I love him too much to express it adequately. And he forgave me, despite all of the awful, terrible things I'd said.

"Hey, hey, Ally…" he tries to calm me down, noticing my quivering chin. He's so amazing.
We start off again, tumbling towards ecstasy in a reenergized ball of passion. He tastes like sweet pepper and mint, and I, naturally, under the influence of that combination, deliquesce all over again.

Who knew being opposing counsel could be so much fun?

* * * End of Part 4 * * * (finally!)

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