DISCLAIMER: Pushing Daisies and all its characters are the property of ABC. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I want to thank my wonderful beta Meredith for putting up with my whims and crazy schedule. Here's for Italics means she's thinking.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Up until ep.8 of season 1.
Sometimes all you need is a change of perspective
It was a cloudy night that found one Olive Snook sitting on the flowery couch in the apartment. In front of her, the TV was turned to a random news report, the anchor retelling the day's events. In her lap was a brown haired head. Namely, the head of one dog named Digby. A dog who belonged to the man she loved, but whom she was starting to realize she could not have.
It was one thing to want the man who lived alone, with only his dog for company. But it was quite another to continue dreaming of a man who lived with his girlfriend. True, there was a surprising lack of physical contact between them, but the love in their eyes as they looked at each other was unmistakable.
Sighing, Olive buried her hand deeper in the soft fur of Digby's coat. She knew what she was feeling was more than probably unhealthy for her, but after nursing her crush for the pie-maker for as long as she had, she couldn't just let it go. Could she?
Absent-mindedly, she began to scratch and stroke the dog in the places she knew he liked as she pondered this question. She was here tonight because the pie-maker, Emerson, and the girl Chuck, such a silly name for a girl. Charlotte is practically regal. - were out on a case. Trying to figure out another murder. And she was here, in her apartment, alone. With Digby, but still alone. It was all that girl's fault. Ever since she faked her death, and came into their lives, nothing had stayed the same. The pie-maker's heart was Chuck's, and Olive knew she had better accept that fact before she turned into an image she had sworn long ago she would never be.
It would take hard work; she knew that from the moment she decided to let go of her dreams to one day be the one the pie-maker loved, but she was not afraid of hard work. The hours and the effort were meaningless to her if she could achieve her goal and stop hurting every time the man she loved in past tense! and the girl Chuck looked at each other from across the room. Every time two sets of light colored eyes, so clear you could drown, Olive, stop it this instant! met from across the room or mere paces away from one another.
As the news turned into commercials, which in turn faded to one of those late evening cop shows, Olive drew closer and closer to sleep, her heart content that she was, at least mentally, on the right path. Baby steps, she reminded herself, you need to learn to walk before you can gallop.
Moments, or maybe hours, later she woke up to the sound of someone knocking at her door. Muttering something unintelligible under her breath, she rose from her sitting position, rubbing her neck. It has to be him. Who else would be knocking at my door, at... what time is it anyway? Pulling her silk robe a bit tighter across her small frame, she stopped to look at the person outside the door through the peek-hole, but to her surprise it wasn't the pie-maker who stood there, but rather his girlfriend the girl named Chuck. She sighed, trying through that gesture to rid herself of the disappointment she felt at not seeing the tall man at her door.
When she opened the door, she was smiling at her late night visitor. But when the door was open enough to reveal the other woman she couldn't help but gasp in surprise: Chuck was practically covered in dirt and mud. Olive could clearly see the stains on her face, her arms, and legs, not to mention her coat and dress.
"What happened to you?" The intensity of her voice made her cringe, and she covered it by shivering slightly. Tired green eyes looked at her from under long lashes for a moment before the girl replied.
"I was on the bridge in Hyman's Creek when it gave out, and I fell in." Her voice sounded even more tired than the girl looked, and Olive couldn't help but hold the door a bit more open and offer the chilled woman in front of her some of the warmth her apartment provided. Warmth, which Chuck gratefully accepted as she stepped inside.
"We found the son, while we were there," Chuck stated rather randomly after Olive took her coat and returned from the bathroom where she decided to hang it, as it was still dripping mud.
"Well, that's good, isn't it? Do you want some tea?"
"Yes, please." Chuck followed Olive into the small kitchen and forced herself not to lean against the door frame, as was her habit in the previous few times she had been in the smaller woman's apartment. Noting the other woman's awareness of her muddied appearance, Olive couldn't help a slight smile. "It is, but he has no place to stay in the city and I offered him my bed at Ned's." my bed? "So, I was wondering if I could stay over tonight? I will sleep on the couch. Feel free to refuse, I don't want to be a bother." The last few sentences were blurted out so fast that Olive only understood about half the words. But it was enough in order to understand what the girl had asked. Oh... I...
"Sure!" She said with a bright smile "But first, go and shower, you are probably chilled to the bone. There are fresh towels in the closet, I'll get some for you. Now go." She waived her hand, dismissing her guest, just as the kettle began to whistle. Making the tea was short work, as the two already knew how the other drank theirs after many shifts spent together in the Pie Hole. So after the two cups were prepared, she let them cool and went to the hallway closet to get the other woman a towel.
The bathroom was full of steam when she entered, after knocking with the towel, her eyes aimed at the floor of the pink hued room. Placing the large fluffy towel on the edge of the sink, she turned and left, not noticing twin jade eyes looking at her from behind the shower curtain the whole time, but replying with a curt nod to the 'thank you' which came from the other woman.
It was only after stepping out of the steamy room that a thought dawned on Olive she will have to wear something when she comes out of there. Racing into her bedroom Olive wondered what she could give the girl Chuck to wear, as there was a good 4-inch difference between the two. It will have to be a nightgown. She looked for a nightgown that was longer then the mid-thigh length ones she tended to wear, knowing that it would probably be considerably shorter on the dark haired woman. When a pink garment caught her eye, she knew it was the right choice and she pulled it out, inspecting it. It was a spaghetti strapped gown in light smoky pink that flowed down to her knees. It had been a while since she wore it last and she knew the soft fabric would feel marvelous against the other woman's skin. It wasn't the silk and sateen that she has grown accustomed to sleeping in, but the fabric was pleasant enough.
"Olive?" came the voice from the bathroom doorway.
"I'm here," she replied, stepping out into the hallway "I was looking for something for you to sleep in." She handed the still slightly dripping towel-clad woman the nightdress. "When you are done getting dressed we should go to bed," Chuck opened her mouth "and I don't want to hear you talking about my couch." Chuck's mouth closed. Good. "The bed is large enough, and unless you have a problem sharing, we should both be fine in it."
As Olive turned to make sure the front door, and windows, were locked for the night Chuck dressed and came out of the bathroom again. This time the large towel draped over her shoulders like a cloak. The sight nearly robbed Olive of breath. Dark brown curls hung still wet, framing the other woman's face and bringing out the jade of her eyes, ironically more pronounced now then when she was wearing make-up. Her legs seemed longer in the sleep-wear, which accented the shape of her body better than it ever did Olive's. And with the white towel over her shoulders Olive couldn't help but compare her to a princess. Charlotte, indeed. Wait, what?
"Thank you so much for letting me use your shower. I really needed it." The girl, woman, named Chuck beamed at her hostess.
"No problem." She was trying to hide the confusion that came with her previous thought line, as she showed the other woman towards the bedroom and the plush queen bed in it. Did I just think of her as a princess? And a beautiful one, at that? I mean, I can't say she is ugly, but, a beautiful princess? I need to take a day off and go riding... Thoughts swirled around her head and it took her a moment to grasp that a hand was waving in front of her face, alternately blocking her view of a smiling Chuck.
"A penny for your thoughts?" was the offer.
"That would be a waste of a penny, I just spaced out because I'm tired," Olive replied with a smile. Chuck yawned as if triggered by that sentence, and she could hardly contain a chuckle. Soon both women were giggling.
"Do you have a preference?" was the next question as Olive gestured at the large bed; Chuck's reply was a shake of her head. "All right then, climb in, I will be there in a moment." While the dark haired woman got into bed, the blonde went through her night time ritual of brushing her teeth and disrobing, not conscious of the sleepy eyes that followed her until they could stay open no longer.
When Olive got into bed, the other woman was sleeping on her side, her front turned towards Olive. She sighed and pulled the blanket higher and tighter around them as she settled herself in for the night. Her head hadn't even found the right spot on the pillow when she felt the weight behind her shift, and the woman Chuck closed some of the distance between them and wrapped an arm around Olive's midsection. The move caused the smaller woman to suck a startled breath. She's a cuddler? But when the first shock of surprise wore off, and the heat from the body next to her began to pulse into her consciousness, she couldn't help but sink back into it. Her last thought was I feel safe.
The first rays of sunshine found one Olive Snook stirring in her sleep. Ever since her days as a professional jockey, she had taken to waking up early, making the early morning the time she spent with herself. Drinking that first cup of coffee and reading a book, sorting her thoughts through the words of others. Back in her riding days, Olive had used this time alone in order to compose herself before the events of the upcoming day; now, years later, this time was used more out of habit than out of need, as it seemed only to highlight her loneliness.
As emerald eyes fluttered open and Olive's brain stumbled out of the fog caused by sleep, she could feel that something was off. It wasn't as though it was necessarily wrong but it was not quite right either. It was only when her eyes, and mind, focused that she understood the source of the feeling: she was not alone in her bed.
Currently, a brown haired head of one woman - Chuck Charles rested against her shoulder. Her hair was swept away from her face, most likely by the movement that had brought it to its current resting place. Chuck's breath was even, and after several moments of holding her own breath in fear of waking the woman who had effectively pinned her to the mattress with an arm over her stomach and a leg over one of her own, Olive finally allowed herself to breath again. Despite her initial reaction to the brunette's appearance, she couldn't bring herself to hate the pie-makers' girlfriend.
The fact was simple enough: Ned had chosen Chuck., and Olive wondered why. Besides the obvious, of course. Yes, she is sweet and kind, funny sometimes... And my gosh, she is beautiful. Olive took a moment to try to clear her head, but what first came to mind was the knowledge that Chuck was asleep, and the regular rules regarding looking at her were now obsolete since she couldn't catch the blue eyes looking at her. With that newfound freedom she let her eyes roam over the face and body of the woman sharing her bed.
The first thing she turned her eyes to was also the closest Chuck's face. And she took it all in, the high forehead, momma would say it's a sign of intelligence, the shape of her nose, her cheek bones, the soft looking mouth, her lips parted slightly in a smile as she slept. Wait, was I just thinking her lips looked soft? Suddenly slightly panicked, Olive looked around her room, trying to find something, anything that could get her small frame from under the other woman. Something that could allow her to leave the room.
The slight movements caused a groan to escape from Chuck, who moved her head back slightly. Recognizing an opportunity for what it was, Olive angled her upper body in a way that the head that was just on her shoulder now rested next to it. Alright, now to get the other two, so that I can get out of here. Freeing her leg was easy, as the weight of Chuck's leg rested on her lower leg, all I have to do is bend it, and she was one step closer to her to making her escape.
The big problem, however, was the arm across her waistline. Trying to ignore the panic her thoughts had caused and attempting to think logically, the blonde took several deep breaths. Her thoughts were sending her into a whirlwind of confusion, the sort of confusion she neither wanted nor needed in her life. Alright, stop. Breathe. I can get out of bed. Out from under her. Breathe... How can I get her hand off me? Or maybe, me out from under her hand...
Her aid, came from a source she did not expect. It was Digby, sensing my discomfort, maybe, who put the tip of his cold nose to the very bottom of Chuck's foot, that very small part that was not completely covered by the warm blanket, which caused the woman to pull her limbs together in an unconscious attempt to keep warm. That move was enough for Olive to lift the arm pinning her down and gently slide out of the bed.
I can't do this... I mean what is wro... going on with me? I am just... scared. That's it! I have wanted him to love me for the longest time, and now that I have decided to move on, my mind just snapped, no, not snapped... uh... turned to, that's better. Turned to the first person I saw. It could just as easily be Emerson. She shivered at the thought, and stopped her pacing. I need tea. I really need some tea.
And so, with the troubling thoughts put to rest, Olive went about her daily routine: making tea and a large, healthy breakfast, this time enough for two. She was just mustering the courage to go wake the other woman, when a tousle-haired Chuck appeared in her kitchen doorway, causing the small blonde to jump slightly when she heard the other woman's voice.
"I'm sorry," the still sleepy Chuck offered after a yawn, "I didn't mean to scare you."
"It's OK," Olive replied with a cheery smile, "I'm just a little jumpy in the morning. The water is still hot; do you want some coffee, or tea?"
"Coffee would be great, thank you." Having a task to keep her busy, Olive's mind sharpened, and for the first time since the other woman came to the kitchen door she took in her appearance. Chuck was still wearing the borrowed nightgown, and nothing more. She couldn't help but gasp as she weighed her options: She could either make Chuck's coffee and send the woman to get a robe or get her a robe herself and then make the coffee. At any rate she would not leave her guest standing in a spaghetti-strapped nightgown when it was clearly too cold to be in one. The bed is one thing, but really...
"Coffee it is then. Let me just get you something to cover yourself; you are probably freezing!" She willed her eyes to look away from the place she knew she could get confirmation for that statement, looking up to Chuck's eyes and smiling as she all but fled the room. Heading down the hall, she could not see that the brown haired woman was looking at her the whole time.
When she returned, with an elegant yet warm robe draped across her forearm, she found Chuck at the same spot she had left her, staring at the floor. "Chuck?" Green eyes shot up to meet blue, an indecipherable glint flashing through before being pushed down by a smile of gratitude. Olive handed her the robe.
"Not a problem. Now, let's get you something to eat; I made lots!" I'm going to ask Ned for a day off. The two women made small talk during the meal, but Olive's mind kept wandering. Once she had decided she was going to ask the pie-maker for that day off she couldn't help but start planning it.
"Olive, are you OK? You seem a million miles away." Drat. She tried hard not to cringe.
"I'm OK, I was just thinking about asking Ned for a day off, and thinking about what I would do with it if he said yes." In her attempt to sound chipper and carefree Olive had missed the fleeting look that passed her companion's face.
"Oh, you..." she cleared her throat "you are taking a day off?"
"Not yet, but I want to. I haven't seen Poly for so long, and I think it would be just wonderful if I could take her out for a few hours, maybe even a day!" Olive's tone grew more and more excited as she told the woman sitting in front of her the beginning of her plans.
"Poly?" Chuck inquired with a tilt of her head and a raised eyebrow.
"Yes, Polyhymnia, she is a beautiful black and white Appaloosa mare. She belongs to an old friend of mine who has retired from being a jockey but keeps training horses so that people can enjoy them. He has a farm not far from here and I think I might just still have a rain-check from a time I could not make it."
"Polyhymnia? That's an odd name..." Olive just smiled.
"He names all the horses in his stables after figures from Greek myths. Polyhymnia was the muse of hymns, lyrics, singing and rhetoric." The blonde counted off each word with her fingers. Chuck pulled back, confusion clearly written across her face. Olive blushed. "I looked her name up, after he told me what he named her..." was the sheepish explanation to the silent question.
The rest of breakfast went on quietly as each woman got lost in her thoughts.
When they had finished, Chuck thanked the Olive and headed for her closet, or rather the closet that contained her clothes in the pie-maker's apartment, promising that she would bring the borrowed garments back to her clean. All that remained for Olive Snook now was to talk to the pie-maker so that she could go and reset her mind.
It was on a warm and sunny Monday morning that the woman named Olive Snook stepped into "The Pie Hole" after a weekend away. Her entrance was noted by all the occupants of the shop. At the moment: the pie-maker, Emerson, the dog Digby, and the girl named Chuck. The shortest member of the group was also the first to move, and Olive bent down to hug Digby and ruff-up the fur on the back of his head, beaming and exclaiming "Hi boy!" The pie-maker and Emerson, who sat in a booth together, snapped their heads up when they heard a loud crash. Olive's head turned along with theirs to the source of the noise, and they saw Chuck standing next to the kitchen table. At her feet was a pie, half of it still in the metal casing, the other on the floor.
"Chuck!" The pie-maker rose to his feet and ran to the doorway separating the kitchen from the rest of the pie shop, where he stopped and pulled back as though burned, for the woman he loved was mere inches from crashing into him in her haste to come out to the main room. Chuck also stepped back momentarily but continued once she saw she was in no danger, stopping only when she reached the smaller woman and wrapping her arms around her in a fierce hug.
"You're back!" she whispered, barely audibly, into the blonde's hair. She does smell like honey. And she's wearing perfume! Something flowery, sweet... Pulling back after an awkward moment, Olive smiled and Chuck beamed. "You look great! Look at you, all tanned! Did you have fun?" Olive's smile deepened, emerald eyes sparkling, as snippets from her weekend away came to memory.
"I had so much fun!" she exclaimed, turning her head to her employer. "Thank you, Ned, for giving me the time off." The pie-maker, his hands in his pockets, smiled and shrugged.
"Thank Chuck, she is the one who took over your shifts."
"Oh, Chuck, I'm sorry. I didn't think that..." her sentence died midway out of her lips when the brunette looked down and blushed. From the corner, they could hear a mumbled 'oh, boy...' escaping Emerson as he too got to his feet.
"I'm going to go." He said, a raised eyebrow aimed at Chuck, who was too busy studying the design of the floor tiles to notice. "If I hear something about the guy, I'll come and get you." Chuck looked up. "Not you." And with that, and not a word more, he left. How rude...
The day turned out to be a busy one in the pie shop. People were almost constantly coming in and out, and by the first hour of the workday Olive was partly sure she was already wearing holes into this pair of heels. It had taken less then two hours to get to the point where the orders of the patrons of the shop pushed the girl named Chuck into the kitchen to help Ned, leaving Olive alone to tend to the masses.
With all the people coming and going, placing orders of coffee, pies, cup-pies, and other drinks, Olive was being run ragged. She handled everything in my place for two days. I can do this. Currently, she was under the counter, looking for the last set of clean plates. When she rose, facing the kitchen, she tried to see if the pie-maker had finished making the replacement for the strawberry pie, as it has been the last order she had taken. The spot on the pie tray was empty, but in its place she found twin jade eyes looking at her. Upon being caught, Chucked looked down and away, returning to the peaches and cream pie she was working on and blushing slightly.
After that incident, it seemed that whenever Olive would look towards the kitchen, whether to tell the pie-maker something, to see if there were new pies on the stand, or because she caught sight of it as she turned from one place to another, she would meet those green eyes for a brief moment, and then they would turn away. Or she would turn away. Something must be wrong. It was nearly an hour after first having that thought that the blonde managed to catch Chuck alone for a moment.
"Do I have something in my teeth? Or maybe a stain somewhere?"
"What?" Chuck looked at her thoroughly confused, then giving her an awkward once-over. "No, why do you ask?" Olive blinked in her confusion. Then what...
"Then why are you looking at me so much?" She bit her tongue. Smooth, very smooth. Open mouth, insert foot... "I'm sorry, I didn't mean for it to sound like that. It's just that I saw you looking at me and I just thought..." Once again she let the sentence die. Why can't I finish simple sentences anymore?
"Excuse me, waitress?" came a call from across the room, cutting their conversation short.
As the day progressed, without Emerson's appearance, thank goodness, I don't think we could do without Ned today, Olive couldn't help but notice that she was no longer meeting Chuck's eyes wherever she went. The two women did exchange glances every now and again, but the moments were rare and usually cut short by Chuck glancing away.
It was only hours later, in the comfort of her living-room, that Olive had the time to think over the day's events. She rested her back against one of the plush pillows of her couch, with her legs partly covered by a warm fleece blanket, folded in four, and her hands warmed with a steaming cup of tea. There has to be a logical explanation for this. The blonde sighed and the dog named Digby looked up to her from his resting spot on the floor with what appeared to be questioning eyes.
"You think I'm mad, don't you?" The dog lowered his head back to his paws. She sighed again. It wasn't long after they had closed the pie shop for the night that Emerson came in, practically panting, and ordered the pie-maker to come at once. Of course, the pie-maker took the girl, woman, we have been over this, Chuck along with them. I wonder why she was looking at me all day... I checked the mirror, I had nothing in my teeth, no stains, no run in my stocking, what could it be? Turning on the TV, she hoped the noise coming from the little box would be able to slow her racing thoughts, and maybe just maybe - put this cycle to rest.
Cop show... News... Cop show... Lawyer show... News... Cop and lawyer show... Martha Stewart interviewing... OH! With something to keep her thoughts from returning to the pie-maker's brunette girlfriend. Olive settled back against the cushions, but before she was fully settled her mind was racing again. I wonder where she... they are now. They just left. And after a whole day of...
This has got to stop.
Morning found Olive still on her couch, in the same position she had fallen asleep the previous night. She was partly covered, but not completely cold. It was an insistent knock on the door that woke her. She jumped into a sitting position, screaming. It's just the door. Relax, it's the door.
"Whoa, Olive, relax. It's OK, it's just us." Chuck's soft voice quivered from behind the door, as she tried to control her fear from the shorter woman's scream and soothe her at the same time.
"Goodness, you scared me half to death!" Her first action after opening the door was to smack Chuck's shoulder, partly irritated at the wake-up and partly irritated at herself for falling asleep on the couch. I am going to be feeling the muscles in my lower back all day... "Did you guys just get back?"
"No, we got back about two hours ago, but Chuck insisted we shouldn't wake you." answered the pie-maker from where he was awkwardly standing, his hands deep in his pockets. Olive waited for the trademark gesture, and sure enough - the pie-maker shrugged. She couldn't help but smile as she opened her door further to let the two in. After closing the door, with a wince and a groan, she stretched. With her arms clasped together over her head, her eyes mostly closed, and her back arched she could see nothing but a few fragments of light that managed to escape the barriers set for her by her own tired body. When she returned to a regular standing position she turned her eyes to her guests, smiling softly at Ned and then turning her eyes to the woman standing next to her.
"Chuck, are you alright?" The jade eyes that looked back at her were a shade darker then she remembered them "You look a bit flushed..."
It was the sound of insistent knocking coming from her front door that drew Olive Snook up and out of her warm bed and towards the living room. She reached the door just as she finished tying her robe tightly around her body.
"Who is it?" Olive cringed, for she knew her voice carried a frightened edge. An edge she did not want to reveal to the person standing outside her door. The answer was muffled, and then repeated - louder.
"Olive, it's Chuck." The door was open in seconds. "Olive, we need to talk." In front of her stood Chuck, wearing a red coat, buttoned from the hem, at her knees, to her neck. Her hair was loose, almost wind swept, and her lips painted red. She stepped inside and closed the door after her. Blinking once, then twice, Olive sat on her couch, trying not to play with the edge of the cord that held her silk robe in place. "We need to talk." The brunette in front of her repeated as she sat down next to Olive, shifting a bit and making their knees touch ever so lightly. Olive felt the touch as though fire was shooting though her.
"What..." she croaked, and cleared her throat before making a second attempt. "What do you want to talk about?"
"I think you know." It was as though the twin jade eyes bore into her very soul.
"Olive," Chuck's voice was almost a hum, "You think I haven't noticed the way you look at me?" Olive swallowed hard, mesmerized by the playing lights and shadows in the other woman's eyes. "And why do you think I look at you so much? I want to see you looking. I know what goes on in your head, Olive." A hand was placed on her thigh, so hot it was practically fire. "You don't want Ned anymore, do you?" Olive's emerald eyes widened in shock "No..." the brunette purred, "He is not it, is he?" Olive tried to open her mouth, to respond, but she couldn't make a sound. Closing her mouth and swallowing hard she tried again, and again no sound came. Chuck smirked, her eyes turning darker, the heat from her hand on Olive's knee escalating. "Why can't you accept it Olive? It's right here, in front of you. I'm right here."
The last sentence was barely a breath, and it died against her lips. Died, as the beautiful woman sitting in front of her closed the distance between them and pressed their lips together. Chuck's lips were soft but insistent, pressing against her own with urgency and need. When Olive felt a tongue caress her lips she couldn't help but part them, deepening the kiss. Chuck's lips were molten lava against her own, and she couldn't stop the moan that escaped her as stars and sparkles shot behind her closed eyelids.
Olive was not sure how they got there - she had no recollection of getting up or walking - but as she opened her eyes and saw her bedroom, and the darkness that was Chuck's eyes, she didn't care. It took all her power not to fall down as her knees were suddenly weak. Her chest heaving, she looked up at the woman pressed so close she could feel her heartbeat being echoed from Chuck. "So beautiful..." was murmured, and Olive wasn't sure whether the voice was hers or Chuck's.
She was being sat down, ever so gently, on the edge of her bed, and she hooked her hands behind the taller woman's back, forcing her to stay close. Red lips smiled as the woman named Chuck looked down at her companion. "I am not going anywhere, Olive; I have waited for you for far too long..." She purred, closing the distance between them to fragments of an inch. Olive gulped.
Taking shallow breaths, as those were the only ones she could manage, she raised her trembling hands forward, around Chuck's waist, and up following the neat row of buttons. Upon reaching the top, she stopped, hesitating for a moment, knowing that this next move would seal the moment. Noticing the way the brunette bit her bottom lip, her breath coming in short, shallow pants, Olive felt courage flood her veins. This woman wanted, no, desired her. She reached for the top button and pulled it free.
More and more creamy skin appeared with each tug of a button, and by the third she could no longer hold herself back. Getting back to her feet and leaning forward to capture the soft skin of Chuck's neck, she couldn't help but smile. When her touch caused the woman to hiss, she stopped, not sure anymore. But soft fingers snaking their way into her hair and pulling her closer answered the question she was about to ask. This was a hiss of pleasure, nothing else. Kept partly in place by the soft touch, Olive kissed the flesh exposed to her as though afraid it would disappear right before her eyes.
She was just tracing a path from Chuck's ear back to her collarbone when she felt something new. A chill. Stopping to look down she saw that the ends of the silken cord tying her robe closed were now in Chuck's hands. She had pulled them free and exposed the silk nightgown beneath it. Olive blushed. She heard the brunette swallow hard and looked up to see such hunger it dazed her, but this time her legs did not support her and she fell back into a sitting position on her bed.
"Olive," Chuck's voice was deep, husky with want, "May I?" and she kneeled down in front of the smaller woman. Her eyes alone made Olive wonder if she would be able to keep her seat and not melt into a puddle of quivering nerve endings. Nodding silently she waited, and when the brown-haired head came closer to her, closer to her neck, closer to the generous cleavage the garment provided, she was not sure where she wanted to feel those lips more: on her lips or on her body. Shivering slightly, she waited, only to gasp as those soft lips touched just under the hollow of her throat and set her body aflame. "May..." Chuck's soft, low voice was clipped, each word followed, and emphasized, by a kiss to the exposed skin so tantalizingly close. "I make love to you?"
Coherent thought was getting more and more difficult for Olive. She was aware that Chuck had asked her something. Something she needed to reply to. Anything to make those lips touch her again. "May I make love to you Olive?" Chuck repeated, and all Olive could do was hiss out her assent.
The next thing she was conscious of was lying on her back in her bed. Next to her, the woman named Chuck was propped up on an elbow, facing her. In the transition from their previous pose she must have shed her coat, as well as Olive's robe, for they were both without them. When it had happened Olive could not tell, for the garments seemed to just melt away from their bodies. Under the warm, woolen coat Chuck was not dressed well. Or rather, she was for the occasion. Her only clothes now were a set of red lacey underwear. Fighting hard to keep her trembling under control, Olive raised her hand to Chuck's stomach, watching fascinated as the muscles tightened in breath and even more so because of her touch. Emboldened by the reaction she started tracing patterns with her finger tips, watching Chuck's head roll back as her stomach arched.
A second later those lips were on hers again and she could feel the pressure where Chuck had leaned into her body. Something hot, the brunette's hand, was on her shoulder, tugging at the strap of her nightgown. The coherent part of Olive mind screamed for her to move, to increase contact. And she did; grabbing the other woman's waist she pulled herself so she too was partly on her side, and she felt the lips under hers smile. The hand continued its journey, burning a path and pulling the bit of silk with it, down towards Olive's elbow. When their lips parted, the blonde leaned back into her covers, pulling the other woman so that she was resting partly on Olive's smaller frame.
When Chuck looked down Olive could see her mouth practically watering, and she smiled, a slow, almost lazy smile. Gently arching her back, she waited for a reaction, and sure enough, she got a hungry but questioning look from her companion. Her response was a gentle bite of her lips and another arch. Chuck smiled at her, more confidently this time and bent down, her lips revealing the soft creamy skin of Olive's breasts as she kissed and licked, moving the soft fabric and causing Olive to moan and writhe beneath her.
"Chuck!" she panted, her hand threading itself in locks softer even than her sleepwear. "I want... I need you to..." It was getting harder and harder to speak, but the arching of Olive's body and her hand gently tugging at the long hair managed to get her point across. Just over her breast Chuck stopped and looked up at emerald eyes, partly closed as the feelings coursing through her body centered in two specific locations: her breast and somewhere lower. When she was sure Olive was focused on her she lowered her head, closing her mouth around an erect nipple. "Goodness, Chuck!" Olive exclaimed, her eyes shutting tight.
Her body jerked and she opened her eyes. She was under her covers, alone, her body drenched in sweat. What the?... Chuck? Wait... I just had a... with Chuck? Oh heaven... She let her head fall back against the pillow. I... I dreamed that Chuck... and I... But she couldn't deny the state in which she had awoken. Her heart was pounding as though she had just run a marathon, her breath was still coming in pants, and she was sticky with sweat. The small woman tried to shift into a more comfortable position. I'm... aroused? That can't be... It's... It's Chuck, I can't be... Her thoughts stopped abruptly as a sensation registered in her brain. Oh gosh... I am... I...
The facts were these: it was one week, two days, five hours, and 26 minutes since Olive Snook had woken up from a dream that startled her to her very core. Her days seemed longer, though the work hours felt shorter, as time continued its steady progress. Her routine had changed dramatically ever since that morning: she was no longer the first to arrive and the last to leave each day, but rather had turned to arriving just a few moments before her shift and leaving shortly after. Her interactions with both the pie-maker and his girlfriend Charlotte Charles were also limited to the minimal amount that would get her through her shifts without letting the customers be aware of the discomfort? that Olive felt whenever she saw the two together.
But it wasn't the moments when the pie-maker and the girl named Chuck spent time together that made Olive uncomfortable. No, Olive Snook feared the moments when she would be left alone with the brunette, and even more than that she feared the moments before her mind slipped into the unconsciousness of sleep. Olive feared the dream would return.
And so, in an attempt to tire herself so that all that she could do at night was to collapse on her bed and have a dreamless sleep, she began to return to her old hobby and love: horses. Every day after her shift was over, Olive headed for the stables. It was her safe house, her sanctuary. This more than anything made her happy that the case with John Joseph Jacobs ended the way it had. He was now back in the city stables, working as a teacher and a trainer, and he always let her lend a helping hand. There was only one downside to horse grooming: it let her mind wander.
It was there, on a stool beside a tall, dark Arabian horse that it dawned on her that her dream was not merely projecting, but that she actually felt an attraction to the pie-maker's girlfriend. John Joseph Jacobs, who happened by a few moments after this realization found her clinging to the mare's neck for support.
"It might not be so bad, Olive," he told her softly as she later hung her arms around his neck. He hugged her back, putting his arms around her waist, wishing he had something smarter to say. The petite blonde's answer was to burrow her head in his shoulder and cling tighter to the now tall man.
Currently, Olive was just stepping back into the stables after taking said Arabian on a run. The tall horse and her rider stopped abruptly when they caught sight of the doors. Ned, Chuck, and Digby were standing right beside the entrance with John Joseph Jacobs, who was smiling softly at her. Swallowing hard, she decided to sit a little straighter atop the tall horse and do what she had done all week: keep things short. Gently clicking her tongue, she set the horse into motion again, actually ducking a bit as they passed through the stable doors, a confident smile accompanying her hello.
"You did good, didn't you, Querida Mia?" Olive cooed as she bent down to pat the horse's neck before attempting to dismount, but the horse, seeing the people rushing her way, got frightened and reared. At first, Olive's eyes widened in shock, but it only took milliseconds for years of training to kick in and she tightened her hold on the reins and brought her thighs closer, holding the horse's body tighter with her own. John Joseph Jacobs motioned for them to stay where they were and started advancing slowly, ready to assist if needed. The other two just froze, gasping with astonishment and fear for their co-worker and friend, as the small woman went up and down on the agitated horse, talking to it in soothing tones while keeping a firm hand on the reins. It was only after the third rear that the horse stopped bucking.
"Don't worry, John. I'll take her to her stall. She just isn't used to keeping calm with many people around." She turned her head to address the horse "Are you Querida?" The horse tossed her head and neighed and Olive turned them and headed for the horse's stable, deciding that it might be better to get herself away from the others as soon as possible. I'll brush her first. I don't think I want to... From her seat on the tall horse's back she could not see the three sets of eyes that watched her as she headed for the horse's stall. Each person looked at her with a different gleam in their eyes: one proud of her for intuitively being able to do what he had spent weeks re-teaching his body, and another with surprise because in the time they had known each other he had never seen her assert herself in such a manner. The third set of eyes looked at her in breath-taken awe.
"Olive?" Chuck's voice came from the door just as Olive's feet touched the ground, making the smaller woman jump, then rush to the large mare trying to calm her down. In the attempt to control her still jittering nerves, more from seeing the trio in her chosen refuge than from the horse acting up, Olive failed to notice how small the voice from the doorway sounded.
"Please don't sneak up on me like that!" she exclaimed, turning to see the woman who plagued her thoughts standing in the doorway, the pie-maker mere steps behind her. This is where she belongs, Olive. She had told herself that so many times it was beginning to sound like a mantra, even in her own ears. If it were a mantra, I would start believing in its meaning, wouldn't I? asked the small voice in her head. Don't go there.
"I'm sorry." Jade eyes looked down as Olive purposely went about her post-riding routine, trying to ignore the need to erase the frown that had formed on Chuck's lips by any means necessary.
"Olive, I'll finish up here. You go with your friends." Forcing her eyes not to grow wide at the statement from John Joseph Jacobs, now standing behind Chuck's left shoulder, and edging closer, she leveled a look at him.
"John, I rode her, so I should be the one to brush her down. You really don't have to take care of my chores." Her voice was stern, but she looked at him almost pleadingly. Please don't make me leave. Not now, not with them... Smiling a small smile, he replied:
"Nonsense. I owe you one from last week when one of the kids came in early. You go, and I will get Querida prepared for the night." He can't be doing this... Why is he doing this? She looked from him to the pie-maker, his hands stuffed deep in his pockets, and to Chuck, standing there and looking at her. I can't leave with them. I... I came here with my car! Olive huffed.
"Does this make us even?" He nodded. "Good. I will see you tomorrow. Excuse me," she added as she brushed by the two standing at the door, trying to keep her distance from Chuck. Her only clothes now were a set of red lacey underwear. Fighting hard to keep her trembling under control, Olive raised her hand to Chuck's stomach, watching fascinated as the muscles tightened in breath and even more so because of her touch. Shaking her head to clear it from the image that flooded it, she sat down on the bench beside the exit. Her riding boots still needed to be changed back to the more comfortable pair of heels.
"Olive, we need to talk." A gasp escaped Olive's lips as she looked up at the beautiful brunette, scenes from her dream once again flashing in the recesses of her mind. "You have been acting weird all week. Is everything all right?" We're in the stables. John's here, Ned's here. She loves him. She is not going to pounce. Just relax. Breathe, and relax.
"Why shouldn't it be?" She braved a glance into Chuck's eyes as she lied through her teeth. Mama would be appalled. "I just realized how much I missed this and decided to come back, even if only for a little while." OK, that wasn't a lie, that's good. Now keep quiet. The pie-maker seemed content, as though he accepted the version of truth she told. Chuck on the other hand, didn't.
"And that's all?"
"Was my answer not good enough?" The content look melted from the pie-maker's face. Chuck huffed.
"What's wrong, Olive?" She turned to look at him, trying to think of the best way to answer his question..
"Why do you think something is wrong? Am I so hard to believe that when I say things are all right, you need to double check?"
"Olive!" Thoroughly surprised by the miniature outburst, Chuck tried to reclaim the blonde's attention. "We are just worried about you." We, Olive noted. "You haven't been acting the same all week and we grew concerned. You know you can tell us if something is on your mind, don't you?" As she looked into those impossibly green eyes, Olive's emotions battled with what her brain knew was true. Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath before opening them again, she looked at the pie-maker, standing not further than five feet away, and then at Chuck, sitting so close they were practically touching.
"Of course I know that. Don't you worry about me."
It was in the interest of keeping up the appearances that Olive Snook suggested to the couple that came to see her that they all go to a movie together. It will be perfectly all right. They will feel as though I'm spending time with them, and we won't really need to talk. All I have to do is make sure that I am not sitting next to her. In Olive's mind, things were looking pretty good; they were far from perfect, but they were no longer catastrophic either. They parted at the stables and headed home so that Olive could wash the horse smell off her body, agreeing that she would knock on Ned's door once she was ready.
Knowing that there was nothing better than a bath both to get the horsy smell out of her skin and hair and to calm her down, she let the hot water fill the tub and waited a bit to let it gather volume. What am I going to wear? With that thought in mind the petite woman wandered into her bedroom and started rummaging through her closet. It can't be too fancy. I'm just going to the movies with friends. But she will be there So will her boyfriend. The small bit of internal monologue spun around repeatedly in her head, making her choice infinitely harder. Suddenly remembering her bath, and still no closer to choosing an outfit then when she stepped through her bedroom door, she shrugged and headed back towards the pink-hued room.
She was just about to step into the tub when she heard her doorbell ring. Oh, for heaven's sake! Putting her robe back on she headed for the door, looking through the peep-hole while keeping quiet, deciding that if it was someone she didn't want to open the door to, she would just return to her bath. Ned's profile greeted her, as he was apparently talking to someone on his left, maybe even in his apartment. Chuck? She cracked the door open, using it as a shield between herself and the people on the other side. Ned jumped.
"Olive?" His voice was strained. Only two weeks ago, I would have opened the door wide hoping to see him... "Uh... I have to, uh... go interview with Emerson... and the press will be there..." He glanced left to his front door where Chuck was standing, her arms crossed, glaring at him.
"Ned, I don't need to be babysat. I can manage quite well on my own for a few minutes." The look she got from the pie-maker could only be described as pleading.
"Chuck..." he exhaled slowly; it was clear he was looking for words to tip the balance in this battle of wills.
"Ned, you can't force her." The calmness of her voice surprised her, as the very thought of having Chuck in her apartment as she bathed was enough to sent a violent shiver down the small woman's spine. "Besides, I haven't even showered yet..." Not sure anymore of the actual point of her words, the small woman closed her mouth and looked into the eyes of the man standing before her, capturing his eyes with her own for a brief moment.
"No 'but's, Ned. You go. I'll shower, and once the interview is over, you come home. Chuck and I will be fine together." An inner battle was clearly etched into the pie-maker's face but after a few moments of looking alternately at each woman he sighed, squared his shoulders and lowered his head in defeat. When he spoke, his voice was small.
"Chuck, please, would you stay with Olive?" He turned his head back to the smaller woman. "If you agree, of course." Her response was to smile, while trying desperately not to bang her head against the door. Is it him that I can't refuse or the possibility of her company? It was clear to her that Chuck's reply was a silent one as the next thing she saw was the brunette entering her line of sight. She no longer had to turn her head to see her. As Olive stepped back to let Chuck in, they both bid the pie-maker goodbye and Olive made a hasty retreat into the comfort of her bath. No, he didn't just do that! I am not alone, with Chuck in the next room, while I'm naked! This is definitely going to age me... Glancing in the mirror before shedding her robe again she sighed. I am going insane. I just need to relax. This is not that dream. She thought as she settled herself into the warm water. She is not going to come in here and pounce... Oh my... As the images came to mind Olive blushed and ducked her head underwater.
Knowing that she had a guest in the other room, Olive kept the bath shorter than she had intended, and when stepping through the door she looked anywhere but at the girl named Chuck before disappearing into her bedroom to clothe herself. Looking through her closet again, Olive took out a pink dress with black polka dots and a black jacket, knowing full well she tended to look young in this dress, but somehow this feeling calmed her. If I'm too busy feeling young, maybe I won't feel all these feelings that you have to be grown up to have. Taking one last look at her mirror she sighed and stepped into the living room to meet the waiting Chuck.
"I'm sorry I've kept you waiting..." Chuck merely smiled in response, from her position by the window.
"It's all right. I was just..." She trailed off. Just what, Chuck? What are you thinking about? But Olive said nothing, instead just smiling at her guest and asking about the movie. Neither of them knew what was playing and instead of looking through the paper to find out, they decided to just go to the cinema and decide there. They walked in silence, each woman lost in her own thoughts and emotions - each woman not sure what to do without the stabilizing effect of the pie-maker's presence.
It was only after they had gotten the tickets and sat down that Chuck broke their silent agreement not to speak. "Olive, why don't you want to be around... us anymore? And please don't say that it's just the horses. I know it's not." Olive arched an eyebrow at her, trying to stall, hoping to sort her thoughts that began to race at the first sounds of question in the other woman's voice. "I know we don't usually share the... emotional stuff we go through, but Olive, I care about you. I want to know if anything is wrong. I want to help you, if I can." Emerald eyes turned to smile at Chuck, and Olive could almost swear she heard the other woman's breath catch in her throat. I'm hallucinating.
"I..." can't tell you everything yet. "It's nothing that you have to worry about. I have just been going through a slightly rough time after John's mother tried to kill us..." She frowned and shook her head slightly to rid her head from the image of the charging horse. "I found comfort with him, with Querida Mia and the other horses." Thinking of the tall mare brought a smile to her face, one that lit up her eyes. Please don't push me on this... Chuck looked at her for a long moment, her face mirroring some unreadable emotion that surged underneath the surface.
"Could I see you ride? One day; it doesn't have to be now. Or even this week." Olive smiled at the insecurity in Chuck's voice and patted her hand with her own before she even noticed she was doing so.
Chuck smiled and took hold of Olive's hand in hers, holding four of Olive's fingers in the crook between her thumb and forefinger. Uh...
"Look, the movie is starting!"
The two women made it to the cinema just in time to enter the last movie of the evening. Because of the short gap of time they barely had a chance to notice the movie before they opted to go in and see it anyway. Movie good, conversation bad was the mantra circulating slowly but intently in Olive's head on the way to the cinema, in line, and as the usher showed them to their seats.
The movie turned out to be a musical Olive remembered watching after participating in the Belmont Stakes. The horse's owner wanted to show his appreciation to both her and the trainer, or he had to spend a couple hundred dollars more, and so he bought them both tickets. The two original leads were also in the movie and she delighted to see the two interact.
The movie ended too soon for the small blonde's liking.
"I don't understand it: why did they get away after doing all that?" Chuck frowned at the sidewalk as they exited the building. Welcoming the chill and darkness of the night, Olive took a moment to think before she answered.
"I think it was because in the end they both loved the theatre too much. The idea to scam the public didn't come along because they were bad people. They both just needed the money, and you know how people get when they want money and they see an easy way to get it." She concluded in a tone that all but said 'trust me, I know'. Chuck ran a hand through her hair, still frowning, but this time she raised her eyes to meet Olive's.
"But they were bad people! You could say Leo was weak, and he came along because of his dream, but Max had been taking money from little old ladies for years! He was practically a gigolo when he and Leo met." Olive blinked a few times in rapid succession as she absorbed Chuck's words and then let out a small chuckle. Chuck's expression changed to confused in a heartbeat.
"I'm sorry..." Olive managed as she stopped walking, trying to catch her breath. "It's just that I remembered that when Henry and I saw the show on Broadway, we came out singing the songs, and we're talking about the morals, or lack thereof, of Max Bialystock."
Olive smiled, as fond memories rose again. "Henry was the trainer who worked with Crescendo, the horse I was riding that year." Her smile faded as more memories surfaced. "We had good times together. Until we didn't, and then I left."
The blonde smiled, trying to keep the sadness away from her smile. "It's all right. It was years ago." Looking down at the sidewalk before returning to meet the blue eyed blonde's eyes again, Chuck let her shoulders drop slightly.
"Chuck, it's all right. Really." With the winning smile back, she had no trouble reassuring the woman she meant what she said. "I had fun tonight." The brunette smiled and it lit up her eyes.
"Me too." The lull in conversation that followed was a light one and they walked the rest of the way in a silence neither felt compelled to fill. They were just a few steps away from the building when Olive spoke.
Chuck turned and faced her, confusion clearly written across her face. "What did you just say?"
Olive paled, her eyes growing wide, as she felt as though she was looking at the two of them from somewhere beside herself.
"Olive, are you alright?" Chuck was instantly by her, so close there was barely a breath between them, and Olive fought the urge to flee. "What did you say before? You were speaking so fast I couldn't understand you."
"I... it's not important."
"I... was wondering if... you wanted to stay the night... with me." Hoping that her voice didn't seem as small as she felt the blonde braved a look into the jade colored eyes that never seemed to leave her consciousness before looking away again.
"You really don't have to say yes, we were just having such a nice time and I thought that maybe you'd like to... continue having it..." Olive frowned slightly at her own inability to phrase her thoughts as she looked up to her companion's face, waiting for her answer.
"I'd like that. I'll just leave Ned a note so that he won't knock on your door in middle of the night." Olive's response was a slow nod as they entered their building.
It was just a little less than 30 minutes later that the two were comfortably sitting on Olive's living room couch holding two mugs of hot cocoa. Chuck sat on the sofa, her feet placed leisurely on the coffee table while Olive sat leaning back against the armrest, her legs reaching a bit forward to bury her feet in the slit where the two pillows that made up the seat were joined.
"So, tell me about him. You promised..." Chuck's voice was almost a whine. Olive blew out a long breath, her face softening as she smiled.
"What can I say, the first time I saw him he took my breath away. He had just worked out and even the black mane of his hair was glistening with sweat as he came up the last turn and into the straight. I thought I was in love. We raced together for three years before he was retired as a breeder. I once thought that if I was ever going to retire and more to the country then I'd buy him. I think I'd prefer a mare now though. They're quieter, easier to handle and I don't think I'll go back to jockeying, so I don't really need a pureblood racehorse." The last sentence was finished with a giggle. Smiling, Chuck stretched forward placing her mug on the table before turning to rest her forearms and head, atop Olive's knees, closing the distance between them.
"Do you still think about it?"
"Occasionally, but I don't make nearly as much money as I did back then, so it isn't a viable option. Not for a few years anyway." The close proximity was a distraction for Olive. A part of her wanting desperately to move closer, to be touched, and another wanting, just as it had all night, to bolt and retreat to the comforts of a life she knew how to handle.
"Olive?" Emerald locked with jade as Olive 'hmm'ed a response.
"Are you still," Jade eyes moved away and then looked aside to the floral print of the couch, "In love with him?" There was no need to mention who 'he' was, for Olive knew, and her heart broke inside her.
"No." The surprise was clear on her companion's face and the brunette returned her eyes to meet the blonde's before swallowing hard.
"Is there... someone else?" This is your chance. Tell her. She will either want you... or not... Olive sighed as she turned her eyes away. I can't tell her. I can't have another Ned. Her eyes shot up when she felt a soft hand cup her cheek. "There is, isn't there?" Is that sadness?
She couldn't help but nod as she gave in to the pull she'd felt for days and leaned forward capturing soft lips with her own for a brief moment before pulling slightly back. If you're going to get slapped, get slapped for something worthwhile, demanded the small voice in the back of the blonde's head, and she leaned in again, pressing her lips to the ones in front of her and not relenting until she heard a soft gasp.
"Olive..." Chuck's voice was barely a whisper as she spoke, her eyes closed, as she continued to lean against the blonde's calves. Once again Olive's response was a low 'hmm'. "Olive, please move your legs." Emerald eyes blinked slowly in confusion, but when the meaning behind Chuck's words and expression sank in, she couldn't help but smile.
Parting her legs, she reached for the woman who was now left sitting at her feet, looking back at her with darkening eyes. "Come here." And then, as though her words had been magic, Chuck was in her arms and brown hair was falling around their faces like a dark waterfall.
"I..." With a silent shake of her head Olive stopped Chuck's words.
"We can talk later." She purred, raising her head to once again meet the soft lips now above her. If Chuck was about to say anything when she drew slightly back and opened her mouth she couldn't even get past the first syllable as Olive pulled them closer together and parted Chuck's lips a bit more with her tongue, teasing, promising, and yet not pushing too hard. The thought that she might be left alone was still nagging at the back of her head, too much to bear.
That thought was pushed away when the body on top of hers relaxed into her own, and into the kiss, and began to return it with passion.
Hours later, as the two lay in bed, Olive couldn't help but marvel at the might of feelings and emotions that were running through both her mind and her body just moments ago, and she knew that even though it was the pie-maker whom she once told that 'we all need to be touched', wishing he would touch her, it was the girl named Chuck who managed to touch her very soul.
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