Posted originally on the Archive of Our Own at http://download.archiveofourown.org/works/5235734.

Rating:
Mature
Archive Warning:
No Archive Warnings Apply
Category:
F/M
Fandom:
Bates Motel (2013)
Relationship:
Norma Bates/Alex Romero
Character:
Norma Bates, Alex Romero
Additional Tags:
Love, Sex, Romance, Humor
Stats:
Published: 2015-11-18 Words: 3812

Checking In

by

Summary

After an unpleasant--yet painfully comical--encounter with an unwanted admirer, Sheriff Alex Romero returns to the Bates Motel to stay while his house is under renovation. [For Kristen. Rated M for sexual content.]

The coffee was fresh, and strong. Maybe even as strong as I preferred it. A pleasant surprise: 7:09 on a dreary Tuesday morning, the normally anemic brew offered in the Bates Motel office now dark and full-bodied, and the proprietress the picture of benevolence behind the counter.

“How long will you be staying?”

“A couple of weeks. A month at the most.”

“Mm.” Norma tapped idly at the keyboard, smiling the same amused, secretive smile she’d had plastered across her face from the moment I’d walked in five minutes earlier. Put me on edge. “I could put you back in room 11, if you’d like?”

“That’ll be fine.”

“Any special requests?” Norma had yet to ask me why I was staying, and her hesitancy was not only out of character but grating on my nerves.  Something was up, I was sure of it, but she wasn’t offering any hint, and I didn’t intend to indulge her enough to inquire further.

“Privacy.”

Her beatific smile faltered for only a moment, eclipsed by a soft snort, a quirk of her mouth as she bit back a laugh; we were caught in our roles, replaying nigh word-for-word a scene we’d found ourselves in nearly a year ago. The scene that ensured I was forever beholden to the obnoxiously, suspiciously joyful woman now offering me my room key.

“Anything else?” she asked.

I took a long swallow of my coffee, pocketed the key, narrowed my eyes at her over the rim of my mug. Her expression never altered. She didn’t shy away from my too-direct eye contact; didn’t rush to offer babbling pleasantries; didn’t probe into my business or my private life or what drove me to request a room at her motel when she knew perfectly well I lived a mere twenty minutes away.

It should’ve been a relief. How many times had I groaned inwardly as she began one of her incessant tirades or inquisitions? But I wasn’t relieved; I found the whole encounter aggravating, though I couldn’t put my finger on why. Just a general sense of unease.

“Yeah,” I said, finally. “Try not to do my damn laundry this time around.”

My churlishness only seemed to amuse her further. She bit her lip, the corners of her eyes crinkling. “Sure. Sure,” she said, voice wavering with a barely-restrained giggle. “But nothing else? You’re positive?”

“Why,” I began, setting my cup down a bit too firmly on the counter in front of her, “would I need anything else?”

“Oh, I don’t know.” The first trill of a giggle breaking through. “I just thought you might like a, uh—” Another snort, her long, delicate fingers coming up to press against her mouth, like she was trying to physically hold back her laughter. “—maybe a padlock for the door?”

What?

“Or, you know, a can of mace.”

“Norma,” I said. A warning. I wasn’t sure where she was going with this, but already I didn’t like it.

“I wouldn’t want you to feel unsafe while you’re here, Alex.” When I didn’t say anything, she charged ahead. “I mean, should Mrs. Davidson find you here…”

And there it was.

The second my eyes drifted shut, more resignation than anything else, she burst into laughter. When I opened them to look at her again she was doubled over, arms wrapped protectively around her stomach, face flushed.

“I assumed … I mean, I can only imagine that’s why you’re—” Her words sputtered out in-between choking gasps for air. “—that’s why you’d want to stay here. In case she went back to your—” She glanced up when I crossed my arms, and I watched her brows climb towards her hairline as she took in my flat expression and rigid posture, and she lost her remaining composure, dissolved into body-wracking giggles.

She’d heard the story. Of course. I knew it would weave its way through town, but I hadn’t expected it to make the rounds quite so quickly.

“Norma,” I said, after a solid five minutes of watching her drape herself over the counter, helplessly shaking her head as she tried to catch a full breath. “That’s not why I’m here.”
“I wouldn’t want to go back either, if I were you,” she squeaked out.

“I’m having some renovations done,” I said, loudly enough that she could hear me over her own gasps and coughed-out laughter. “On my kitchen.”

She only laughed harder.


 

Eileen Davidson was purple-haired, delicately-skinned, 5’2”, seventy-nine years old, and currently sitting in a holding cell for stalking and sexually harassing a peace officer.

Namely, me.

It had started innocently enough. A drunk and disorderly the previous week. Two a.m. rolled around, the local bars and pubs shutting down, and a smattering of drunks who didn’t much feel like finding their way home. A fairly average call, and given that I’d been working late that night—and having quickly grown tired of my mountain of paperwork—I was all too happy to take a break. Get out a bit, I thought, stretch my legs and get some fresh air.

Fairly entertaining to roll up in my SUV, lights flashing, to find an exhausted bartender fend off such a mouse of a woman. Tiny, frail arms, her purple hair sticking out at all angles on her head like a little mop. I’d been concerned when she’d slapped him—not for his sake, but for hers, her skin the sort of paper-thin that bruised so easily. But then she’d turned around and dealt me a surprisingly hard one across the cheek when I walked up, the bartender’s mouth hanging agape.

I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to be the sort of asshole that booked an elderly woman on an assault charge, and I was no different. I’d let it slide, and managed to convince her to calm down, let me give her a ride back to her apartment.

That should’ve been the end of it.

It wasn’t.

Three days passed before Deputy Lin informed me that I had a “guest” requesting my presence in the waiting room just outside my office. I’d thrown open my door to find Eileen holding a bouquet of roses. Just as drunk as I’d been her that night in front of the bar. Apparently she’d decided we’d had “a moment” as I helped her out of my SUV that evening, and walked her to her front door.

“Mrs. Davidson,” I’d said, “this is highly inappropriate. Let me have one of my deputies drive you home—” At which point she’d grabbed my ass.

My deputies managed not to laugh until Lin drove her home and I was stationed in my office, glowering. Deputy Walker took the roses home to his wife. Had the audacity to thank me for allowing him to “re-gift” the damned things.

And then there was last night.

I’d worked late again. Not unusual, certainly, but coming home at four a.m. to my front door thrown wide open and all the lamps on the first floor lit up was something of a novelty. I’d had my gun drawn and aimed by the time my foot hit the first step, only vaguely registered James Brown playing from the stereo.

Confetti—actual goddamned confetti—on the hallway floor, leading into the kitchen. Shiny, red, heart-shaped balloons tacked up across the door frame. And there was Eileen, hovering over a sloppily-frosted cake, carefully holding a match to several birthday candles planted atop it.

She perked up the moment she saw me, as if utterly unaware that she’d broken into a cop’s house. “Happy birthday!” she’d chirped.

I lowered my gun. “It’s not my birthday,” I said.

“But it will be someday, right?”

I sighed, holstered my gun. “Mrs. Davidson, what are you doing here?”

“Did you like the roses?”

“Not particularly.”

“Hm.” My response dimmed her enthusiasm for a moment, but then she brightened again. “Well, happy birthday!”

“Mrs. Davidson, as I said, it’s not my birthday. And you’ve just broken the law, do you understand that?”

She kept moving towards me, and I realized she was wearing a fur coat. Heels. And, judging by the way her hands eagerly moved to the sash holding the fur closed, not much else.

This was confirmed seconds later when she’d thrown open the coat to reveal a belly chain. Just a belly chain.

I must’ve groaned, eyes closing in a mixture of exhaustion and annoyance and, somewhere underneath it all, a dim sense of amusement regarding my unique predicament. But then I’d felt her hands on me, first on my shoulders and then sliding down over my chest. When I felt her fingers reach my belt buckle I’d reacted on instinct, pushed her away—harder than I’d intended—and she fell back against the counter.

Stunned, her eyes watered. I’d reached for her immediately, trying to steady her, make sure she was alright. But our grand love affair was apparently ruined by my insensitivity; she’d slapped me before I could get a word in. Once, twice, three times. Surprising, stinging slaps, shocking in their strength given her bird-like appearance, and though I tried to gently restrain her, the whole goddamned thing was a catastrophe from start to finish.

I’d given up after twenty minutes, called the station for “backup.” Three of my deputies had arrived to find me dodging my own goddamned dinner plates as they were hurled both at my head and through my kitchen windows.

They’d taken her away in handcuffs, valiantly managing to conceal their grins.

I was left to clean up the shattered porcelain, the cake and frosting splattered on every nearby surface (she’d thrown that at my head, too), and try to figure out just how in the Hell a woman who weighed ninety pounds soaking wet managed to break my sink and leave holes in all the cabinet doors.


 

Norma managed to respect my request for nearly a week. Work proved a nightmare: what should’ve been a simple drug bust turned into a chaotic free-for-all with multiple arrests, dealers overwhelming my holding cells, and enough activity to warrant a call to the DEA. I’d caught little more than a few hours of sleep each night at the motel, generally up and equipped with coffee and in my office long before she’d even begun to stir in the house.

I’d left the Do Not Disturb sign on my door handle the entire week, and was pleased each evening to come home to the familiar sight of empty takeout boxes, bottles of whiskey, and my clothes left wherever the Hell I’d thrown them previously. That, at least, was an improvement upon my last stay at the Bates Motel.

Until now.

The first night I’d gotten off at a reasonable hour, and I was happy enough to be back to my room by seven; early enough that the kid at the Chinese restaurant downtown wouldn’t demand an unreasonable tip to deliver. Nothing initially seemed off: my comforting, familiar mess. Bed left unmade. Clothing untouched.

I stood in the doorway, jacket half-off, frozen in place. Scanned every corner; the floor; the bed.

The bed.

A small, silver object placed carefully on my pillow.

I walked over to the bed, picked it up. Turned it over and over in my hand. A whistle. I felt a frown begin to knit my brow together, just as I heard Norma’s voice break in from behind me.

“Do you like your gift?”

“What is this?” I turned towards her, held it out in my open palm.

She didn’t immediately say anything, just shifted the basket of laundry—apparently some guests appreciated this service significantly more than I did—from one hip to the other, and twisted her beautifully painted little mouth into a smirk.

“It’s, ah … well, it’s—”

“Norma,” I said, sternly. “What is it?”

“It’s a rape whistle.”

She giggled—a high-pitched trill that, in another circumstance, would’ve thrilled me—the very second my eyes narrowed.

“I just thought you might feel safer that way. You know, in case your girlfriend comes back.”

I didn’t say anything. Didn’t move. I stood, and stared at her, let her exhaust herself of laughter, and after a few minutes she began to sober; joy morphing into something resembling nervousness.

“Alex,” she said, softly, a tremor of amusement in her voice, but the beginning of worry in her eyes, “it’s just a joke.”

“I’m not laughing, Norma.”

“Oh, come on.” She rolled her eyes, feigning casualness, but I could read the concern on her; a faint etching of lines creasing around her eyes. “Lighten up, would you? You’re always so serious. It’s about time somebody ruffled your feathers a bit—”

“Nobody ruffled my feathers, Norma.” I tossed the whistle down on the bed, stepped towards her quickly. “Someone broke into my house, do you understand? All the shit I have to put up with in this town,” and I was aware my tone was low, and dangerous, and I watched her shrink from me a bit as I moved forward, “and I can’t even come home to my own goddamned house and get some peace.”

“Alex, there’s no reason to be so angry.”

And she was right. I wasn’t unaware that, as a whole, the story had proved amusing to the various citizens of White Pine Bay. Hell, I wasn’t even unaware of the humor in her gift.

Truth be told, I was just fucking tired. Tired of all the bullshit, tired of my job, tired of endless nights with not enough sleep, and tonight that exhaustion manifested in anger and she was the closest available target.

But I didn’t like it, how alarmed she looked; like she was afraid of me. Hit me hard, like a knife in-between my ribs. Made me stop, soften.

“Just get out,” I said. But as gently as I could muster. “Please.”

She didn’t nod or speak. Didn’t so much as move. Just stared at me. Her gaze frightened me, in a way; she was so mercurial, so flighty; soft and scared and submissive when I raised my voice, advancing and pushing and frustrating when I gave her even the tiniest amount of slack.

“I need your help with something,” she said.

“What?” I blinked, confused by the sudden change in tone and subject.

“One of the guests accidentally broke one of the nightstands in room 8, and it’s too heavy for me. Can you take it to the dumpster?”

“Norma,” I said, a sigh threading through each word, “can’t this wait until—”

“No.” She shifted her weight from foot to foot, eyes still clear, flicking up and over my face, and I got the distinct impression she was doing this for my sake, though I couldn’t immediately work out how, or even why. “I need to get it out of there tonight.”

I ran a hand across my face, pressed my thumb into my temple, tried to work away the headache rapidly approaching.

“Fine,” I said. “Fine. Give me the key and I’ll get it.”

“Meet me in the office when you’re done, okay?”


 

The nightstand wasn’t that heavy. In fact, I was pretty sure she could’ve lifted it if she wanted to. But I’d already agreed, and she’d been pleasant and sweet and spared me any rambling or fussing, and so I took the damned thing to the dumpster, locked up the room, and made my way to her office to return the key.

Quiet, and sleep, mere moments away. I was certain of it.

“Norma,” I said, as I shut the door behind me, “thought you might want to know the lock in room 8 is sticking. Might want to get some—”

Norma sat perched on her desk in the back room. It took a moment to make out the details, the overhead lights flipped off, only the dim glow of a lamp illuminating the room. I caught a flash of legs first—long, bare, pale in the dark.

The expansive of her chest, or rather the curve of her collarbones, visible beneath the open neck of her shirt.

No, not hers. Mine.

“You left this here last time you stayed,” she said. She wore a long-sleeved flannel shirt—my shirt—and nothing else. Played with the cuff as she spoke, shifted just enough that I caught a better glimpse of her—her thighs and the delicate, round curve of her ass. “I wanted to return it. At least at first.”

I walked towards her slowly, never taking my eyes off her. All too aware of the heat building in my face, the way my skin grew tight, pulled over muscle and bone. A twist somewhere low, down in my gut, a fluttering that felt like fear but was the furthest thing from it.

“But you kept it,” I said. It was difficult to swallow, to breathe, and my voice was low, nigh strangled.

“Mm.”

I’d stopped a few feet in front of her, hands at my sides, flexing again and again. Afraid, I realized. Afraid to touch her, like I’d misread all of this and she’d shy away from my touch. Or, maybe, that once I started I wouldn’t be able to stop, and whatever this dance was, whatever existed between us would evolve into something beautiful and dangerous, something I couldn’t control, and what I’d known for countless nights in the loneliness of my bed would be made manifest in mere seconds: she’d ruin me.

She’d ruin me, and I wouldn’t have the heart to stop her.

She slid off the desk, walked towards me until she was so close I could feel her breath on my skin. Her hand ghosting up and over my chest, a touch so delicate it made me tense, until she let her palm rest over my racing heart.

“I couldn’t give it back,” she said. Lashes heavy with mascara, she peeked up at me; not shy but sly, made of blue eyes and a plump, pink mouth—she’d changed her lipstick while I was attending to her task, no longer scarlet but the baby pink I’d long preferred, and though I’d never made mention of this, wouldn’t have dreamed of saying a word, I dimly wondered if she’d picked up on it somewhere along the way and made use of it tonight for the sake of torturing me—and a delicacy that reminded me of a fawn, something that wound its way around my heart and squeezed, until I was both helpless and murderous; willing to kill for her, die for her, and utterly at the mercy of her whims, no matter how I fought against it.

“I needed it too much,” she whispered, almost like an afterthought. “I’d slip it on at night and wear to it to bed.” She leaned into the hand on my chest, and I let her weight drive us back until I was pressed against the wall and she was pressed flush to me. “It was like you were holding me while I slept. Felt like I could smell you on it.” She nuzzled her face into the crook of my neck, her lips brushing the skin just-so, and inhaled deeply; moaned more than exhaled immediately after.

“Norma,” I whispered; wasn’t capable of anything else. I could feel her breasts against my chest, barely covered by my shirt, and my heart hammering against my rib cage. My eyes slammed shut when she pursed her mouth and pressed it fully, nigh forcefully, against the pulse in my neck. I grabbed her hips a bit too hard when she trailed that kiss along my skin, found my adam’s apple, suckled tenderly.

Whatever reservation or hesitation I’d harbored died the moment she whispered my name; my hands on the backs of her thighs, cradling the apple of her ass, I hoisted her up, her legs locking around my hips instantly, arms snaking around my neck, and I turned us so that she was pinned beneath the wall and my weight. A delighted, surprised sound in the back of her throat, though I muffled it with my mouth, eager to kiss her, claim her, taste her.

Nimble fingers slid between us to undo my belt. I let her tend to undressing us while I supported her weight, trailed my mouth from her mouth to the slope of her cheekbone, down over the curve of her jaw, nipping down the line of her neck. I worshiped whatever I could reach; collarbone and shoulder and the tips of the fingers she ghosted over my face once my belt was removed and my jeans slid down my hips.

She moved to slide my shirt off her shoulders, but I shook my head, and her hands immediately fell from the buttons and clasped around my neck. I used my thigh to spread her legs further, leaned into the warmth of her, and she inhaled sharply when I slid into her.

I froze at the sound of it, startled, unsure if it were pleasure or pain. I leaned away so that I could look into her face, but her eyes were heavy, half-lidded and dim with lust. She didn’t like my stillness—locked her hands around the back of my skull, pulled me into her, bit into my bottom lip hard, enough that I tasted blood; she giggled against my mouth. And when she did it I thrust into her, hard, eliciting another gasp, and this time I didn’t stop.

I let myself take her with the urgency I’d felt for months, maybe even years, and she clung to me desperately, made of softness and high-pitched whimpers offered sweetly against my ear. Her thighs trembled in my hands, body tightening around me, and I lost track of all time or noise or any awareness of the world around us, because there was only her, the only goddamned thing that had ever mattered.

And this, I thought, this was worth dying for.

She was moaning my name: quietly at first and then growing in intention and need, until it was a ritualistic chant. And I couldn’t breathe, could only feel my blood pounding through my veins, heart working overtime, and my arms shaking under the weight of her though holding her was no struggle, and by the time my hips lost their rhythm and I buried my face in her hair and groaned, again and again, lost in the moment and the heat of her, I knew what I’d always known and tried for so long and so hard to deny:

She’d ruined me the moment I sat at her kitchen table and she’d seen me bleed, seen me smile.

And she shuddered in my arms, and clung to my neck, and cried out my name, and I lost myself inside her, in every sense of the goddamned word.

And there was no going back.

She owned me.

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