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Archive Warning:
No Archive Warnings Apply
Bates Motel (2013)
Norma Bates/Alex Romero
Norma Bates, Alex Romero
Additional Tags:
Hurt/Comfort, Angst, Love, Romance, Sex
Published: 2015-08-21 Words: 2289

A Beautiful Nuisance



Drunk, combative, and in need of comfort, Norma seeks out Sheriff Alex Romero at a rather bothersome hour of the morning. [Rated M for sexual content.]

She moved the way men moved. Predatory, solid. Stalking. Watching.

She reminded me of the men I hunted down, accomplices to their own demise, corpses I'd left in the morgue or the water. For a brief moment I wished I'd brought my gun to the door. Liked the weight of it, the surety. Bullets made for good company on still, empty nights in White Pine Bay. But it was absurd. Irrational, like so many things in the maelstrom her presence created.

"I can't find Norman." Her voice was alcohol-rough, her breath whiskey-sweet. The delicate skin around her eyes red from crying.

Three in the goddamned morning. She'd shown up on my front porch in a torn coat, with what I assumed was a rapidly skyrocketing blood alcohol content, and a broken purple leather pump. Gestured with the fractured heel still in hand when she spoke.

"Any idea where he's gone?" I rested my forearm on the door frame, didn't move aside or invite her in. I hadn't been sleeping; sleep was always something of a rabid dog in my life. Never managed to chase it down on a consistent basis. But it was better she didn't know that. Her entitlement irritated me; wouldn't kill her to feel like something of a burden now and again.

"How the Hell should I know? I'm just his mother," she said. "Teenage boys don't check in with their mothers every time they leave the house, you know." Her voice rose. She was unsteady on her feet, either due to the booze or the broken shoe. I wasn't sure which, and reluctantly peeled my arm off the door frame, reached out to anchor her. "You think being a cop is hard? Try having a kid." Then, as an afterthought, "kids, I mean."

"Was he angry about something?"

"Norman's always angry about something." She coughed out a laugh, a harsh sound in the otherwise gentle morning. "Probably the fact that he has nothing to be angry about." Against the irritated waterline, her eyes were devastatingly blue. She sagged against my hand slightly, turned her eyes up to mine. "I do everything for that boy. I have his whole life." A small sound emerged from the back of her throat, like the stifled, startled cry of a wounded bird. It made my chest ache to hear it. "He was the one thing that was supposed to be mine, and he doesn't even care."

"Of course he cares." I took hold of her shoulders in both hands, kept her still. "And I'm sure he'll come home soon."

"I'm not sure I want him to come home."

"You don't mean that."

"How would you know?" The only thing Norma Bates hated more than being told what to do was how to feel. In the two years I'd known her, I'd watched a single, glib remark from an unthinking passerby turn her normally gorgeous face into a scowl so alarming she'd once made a postman cry. According to Deputy Lin, he'd come to the station later that day to file a restraining order. It took a twenty-minute phone call and the promise of a 1920 burgundy to change his mind. "You … you just sit in your house and your uniform with your gun and you think you know how everything works around here. And why, because you're the sheriff? Because you grew up around here?" She wrenched her shoulders out from my grasp, but quickly stepped forward, peering up into my face with a pinched frown. "You don't know anything about anything. Not people or raising children or what it's like to give up every moment of your life to protect someone who doesn't care."

"Christ, Norma." More intoxicated than I'd thought; I could smell the alcohol on her skin. Close enough that her wild blond hair brushed my neck above the collar of my shirt. She glared intently. An attempt at ferocity, maybe, or intimidation. But her gaze was unfocused, her pupils flitting back and forth, trying to find an even place to land. "How much have you had to drink?"

"Don't you tell me what to do!"

"I asked how much you've had—"

Her hand came up, slapped me hard across the cheek. The sound of it splintered out into the street, loud enough to jar the neighbors awake.

My jaw clenched. Skin warm where the blood bloomed under the point of impact. I felt a heat rising in my chest, my neck, creeping up into my face. "Go home, Norma." I closed the distance between our faces, less than two inches at best, thrust myself into her space that she'd better understand my sincerity. "Now."

Visibly stunned, she withdrew from me like I'd hit her. "How am I supposed to get home?"

"How'd you get here?"

"I walked." She held the broken heel out in her open palm. It was a strangely childlike gesture, and I felt the strength of my resolve flicker. But only for a moment.

"So walk home."

I turned my back on her, stepped into the house.


I ignored her, reached for the door.

"Alex," she said, her voice soft. Barely above a whisper, almost a plea. But there was a tremor in it, enough that, in spite of myself, I turned to look at her. I watched the fight drain from her. Watched her delicately carved face crumple in on itself as the tears spilled out. I couldn't bear it.

"Norma." My anger faded as quickly as it arrived. She dissolved into body-wracking sobs as soon as I reached for her, folded herself into my arms. "Norma, stop," I whispered into her hair. I held her tightly, gently stroked her shoulder, the back of her head. "Stop. It's alright."

"I hate you." She was crying so hard it sounded like a series of hiccups muffled against my chest. Her fingers dug into the fabric of my shirt, and I could feel the tips of her nails driving into the flesh of my shoulders. "You make everything so hard," she said, the words broken and stuttering between her gasps for air. "You make it so hard and I hate you—"


"I hate you for it."

I bent down to hook my arm under her knees, hoisted her weight against me without another word. Still crying, she nonetheless wrapped her arms around my shoulders, burrowed her face into my neck. I could feel the wetness of her tears on my skin, and the heat of her breath as I carried her up the stairs.

She was quiet by the time we reached the bedroom. Her grief had come fast, rushing in like a storm, drowning everything in its wake, and just as swiftly exhausting itself on another shore. But she tightened her hands on my shoulders when I set her down in bed.

"No." She laid back against the pillow, but clutched my shirt in her fingers so that I couldn't stand straight. "No, no, please, don't go." Her breath hitched, and for a moment I thought she might start crying again. But she just tugged at me. Raw, desperate. "Stay with me."

"I'll just be in the other room," I said. I gently pried her hands off me, and reached down to remove her shoes. "Try to get some sleep." I set her shoes under the bed, pulled the blanket up over her legs.

"Alex, no." She stared at me, big watery blue eyes tugging at me. Every time I looked at her it felt like my ribs were closing in around my heart, cracking into shrapnel, destroying both soft tissue and my willpower.

"If you need anything I'm only a room away."

"Please." Her bottom lip trembled, and she snaked a hand around my wrist. Held tightly. And before I could say anything, make any move to soothe her, her eyes welled up. Tears trailing down on either side of her face as she squeezed them shut, turned away from me and into the pillow. Her voice a heartrending whimper: "I need you."


The sun had just begun to crest when I felt her stir beside me. Thin fingers curled around the side of my neck, she had tucked herself against my chest four hours prior and slept, unmoving, until the first slivers of dawn snaked through the blinds.

Stretched out on the flat of my back the entire time, one arm wrapped around her upper body, my hand buzzed on the border of numbness, but I was loathe to move her. Her silence and warmth were too sweet, too precious. It was a moment I knew would fade quickly once the day proper began, but one I intended to cherish for every second gifted to me.



"You stayed." It still amazed me how easily she provoked me. Not just anger or frustration, no, it wasn't that simple, could never be that easy. Had I merely found her annoying I would've removed myself from her months ago; too much work. No, this was something else entirely. And as much as she drove me mad, I wasn't unaware of the way her voice whispered to some deep, primal part of my brain. Something that held me forever torn between throwing her down on the nearest bed or giving up every last piece of my sanity, my morality, for the barest hope of her happiness and safety.

I turned my head to look down at her, her hair a wild, delightful mess against my chin and cheek. "Sleep well?"

She nodded, not yet bothering to open her eyes, and slid in closer to me. Not that there was much room between us to begin with. I felt the blood rush to my hand as she altered her position, but also became acutely aware of her breathing; soft, intentional, the brush of her lips ghosting along the base of my neck.

I lay still, and my skin felt tight, overheated. I wanted to move: every moral fiber that remained pleading with me to get out of bed, distance myself; something more animal than man demanding I side my hands over her hips, along her sides, to map every inch of her unique topography.

Instead, I said, "I should probably take you home."

"I like it here." Her hand smoothed down my side, slipped up and under my shirt. Fingers splaying across my rib cage, feathery, teasing, before trailing down to the top of my jeans. She rested there, toyed with my belt buckle, idly—or perhaps playfully—tapping out a rhythm on the metal.

"This isn't a good idea," I said. But I was already hard, straining almost painfully against my jeans. My skin prickled wherever she touched me. Keenly aware of the heat of her, of her chest pressed against me, and my damnable shallow breathing.

"Why isn't it?" Playing coy.

"It just isn't very smart." I moved to extricate my arm from beneath her, craned my neck away from the sweet scent of her hair. Needed to get up, get moving. But she was fast, and eager, took advantage of my exposed neck: lips pressing gently into flesh, tentative, and then growing bolder, her tongue snaking out. Her wet, hot little mouth seeking out my adam's apple, sucking, teasing.

"Jesus, Norma." Every molecule in my body still; I couldn't breathe, lungs hammering with the strain of it. She hummed against my throat, pleased with herself. Shifted her body above me slightly, reached up to tangle her fingers in my hair. My eyes slammed shut when she wrapped a thigh around my waist; my hands went to her hips, clutching perhaps a bit too hard when I felt her teeth against my collarbone.

"Alex." She broke away long enough to nuzzle against my ear, whisper to me. I kept trying to relax, calm down, but my chest rose and fell too quickly, too roughly, gave me away too goddamn easily. "I need you."

Like lightning on the brain, electricity humming through every vein and nerve. My grip tightened and I pulled her to me, used speed and leverage to flip us both, until she was trapped under me, nothing but a delighted gasp escaping her. Her chin tilted upwards, and my mouth claimed her neck, kissed the delicate veins in her wrist when she reached up to stroke my hair.

She was warm and ready under me, thighs spreading and her skirt sliding up of it's own accord. I didn't bother undressing her, just pushed her panties to one side while I kissed her. She made quick work of my belt and jeans, shoved them impatiently down just enough that I could move freely. She mewled sweetly when I pulled her legs around my waist, arched her back when I broke our kiss to grab a fistful of her hair, buried my face in it.

"Say it again," I whispered. My voice was ragged. I released her hair and rested my hand gently around her throat, never squeezing but holding; claiming.

"I need you."

She cried out when I thrust into her, her nails digging into my shoulders, her mouth pressed against my neck, my ear. As soft, and sweet, and hot around me as I had imagined. I held her hips to keep her steady against the force of my body, the bed creaking beneath us as we rocked together, breathed together. And it was rushed, and rough, and in the spare, slip of a moment in which I could think, I reminded myself to take her gently later on, as she whispered her intoxicating mantra against my skin and her private, singular magic brought me to the edge faster than I'd ever thought possible:

"I need you."

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