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My heart's all tangled up (My tongue is tied)
By thegirl20


"Mmmmm, Ness, babe, you're gonna have to give me a minute to recover," Charity says, struggling to catch her breath.

Vanessa laughs against her stomach, removing the fingers dancing along Charity's inner thigh. She kisses her way up Charity's abdomen, dragging her tongue over the two beauty marks between her breasts, and collapses beside her. She kisses her cheek. "Sorry. I just wanted to welcome you home properly."

"And you have. I feel thoroughly welcomed," Charity says, turning her head to meet Vanessa in a clumsy kiss. Vanessa's hand comes up to cup Charity's cheek and when they part, she leaves it there, thumb stroking back and forth over cooling skin as their heads rest close together on a single pillow.

"I missed you," Vanessa whispers, into the warm space between their lips. "More than I thought I would, actually."

"I bet you did," Charity says with a nod, eyes drifting closed.

Vanessa waits for more, but nothing comes. She digs her finger into Charity's ribs. "Oi!"

"Oh yeah," Charity says, eyes still closed, lips twitching. "I missed you too. A bit."

Vanessa shakes her head with a smile, closing the space between them to press her lips briefly to Charity's. "Quite a bit?"

"Quite a bit," Charity confirms, finally opening her eyes and returning Vanessa's smile. The smile drops and her brow creases. "Oh, I meant to say earlier...did you…I mean, you didn't have anything planned for us on Wednesday, did you?"

"Wednesday? As in Valentine's Day?" Vanessa asks. She's well aware that Wednesday is Valentine's Day, but she hadn't planned to mention it if Charity didn't bring it up. It's still early days in this new stage of their relationship and she doesn't want to push Charity too hard. Valentine's Day puts unnecessary pressure on relationships at the best of times.

"Yeah," Charity shifts in the bed, turning to lie on her side, fingers coming up to trace over a patch of freckles on Vanessa's shoulder, her eyes following their progress. "It's just...Chas and I drew straws over who was getting Wednesday off and I lost." She meets Vanessa's eyes and offers a lopsided smile. "Sorry."

"That's okay," Vanessa assures her. "I wouldn't have been able to do much of anything anyway. I'm working all day at one of the outlying farms and then, due to a severe drubbing at Rock, Paper, Scissors, I'm babysitting Leo and April so that Rhona, Paddy and Marlon can go out."

"Remind me to teach you how to cheat at that," Charity mumbles, eyes closing again. They spring open a second later. "Marlon? Who the hell is Marlon going out with? Not that sarky headmistress again?"

"Yep," Vanessa says, stifling a yawn with the back of her hand. She snuggles closer to Charity, pressing her nose into her neck. "Apparently getting punched in the face wasn't enough to put her off."

"Whatever floats your boat, eh?" Charity says, curling an arm around Vanessa and pulling her close, dropping a kiss on her temple.

"Mmhmm." Vanessa's already half asleep, warm and comfortable and glad Charity's not in Lanzarote anymore.

Valentine's Day rolls around and due to childcare and work commitments, they don't even manage to spend the night before it together. Vanessa has a ridiculously early start, but she stops by the pub on her way out, posting a card through the letterbox and feeling a bit daft at the huge smile she can't seem to get off her face.

The day is a long one and she spends most of it chasing her tail. She exchanges a few flirty text messages with Charity, but they only serve to make her more annoyed that they won't be able to spend any time together. By the time she picks Johnny up from his childminder, it's gone six and the other kids are getting dropped off around seven so she rushes home. Johnny's babbling away happily about his day and she's trying to keep up as she unlocks the door, juggling her bag and Johnny's stuff and the milk she'd grabbed from David's. Finally getting the door open, the first thing she sees is a red envelope on the floor.

"Look mummy! A letter!" Johnny gets excited by post, even if it's just the lecky bill. He's going through a Postman Pat phase at the moment. He picks it up and hands it to her. There's no stamp and no postmark, just a large 'V' written in black ink. Her heart starts to beat faster; she'd told herself not to expect anything, not to get her hopes up; Charity's not exactly the hearts and flowers type.

She ushers Johnny inside and gets his jacket off, watching him scamper off to get his toys before returning her attention to the envelope. Her hands are shaking slightly as she opens it and, once again, she feels like a right idiot.

The card itself is fairly plain; a large red heart on a white background. She steels herself as she opens it, expecting some lewd verse or other to be awaiting her. She's surprised to find just a few simple words.

Happy V Day, V.



She traces the large, looping 'C' with her fingertip and smiles.

She manages to get Johnny fed before Marlon stops by to drop off April and Leo. After a quick pep-talk, she sends Marlon on his way to meet Jessie and eventually gets to sit on her backside while April keeps the two younger kids amused playing with Johnny's toys. A couple of episodes of Paw Patrol and both Johnny and Leo are nodding off, so she gets them to bed, leaving her with just April to contend with. She comes back down the stairs to find April with her Valentine's card in hand, and Vanessa is eternally grateful that Charity didn't write anything dirty in it.

April turns when she hears Vanessa's footsteps on the stairs. "Who's this from?"

"It's...it's from, uh, it's from Charity," Vanessa says, wondering if Marlon's mentioned to April about them. If he hasn't, she doesn't seem surprised or confused that it's from a woman.

"Right," April nods, setting the card back down. "I got one too, but it was from Dad. He made his writing all weird, but I knew it was from him."

"Well, that was nice of him," Vanessa says, taking a seat on the couch.

April tilts her head to the side, looking closely at Vanessa. "Is Charity your girlfriend, then?"

If that isn't the sixty-four thousand dollar question. "Uh…well," She sucks in a breath through her teeth, weighing up her answer. "Sort of."

April scrunches up her face. "What do you mean 'sort of'? Aren't you sure?"

Vanessa curses herself for being put on the spot by an eight year old. "It's not quite as simple when you're an adult, sweetheart."

"She sent you a Valentine's Card," April says. "That usually means the person is your boyfriend or your girlfriend, doesn't it?"

"Yeah," Vanessa says, hesitantly. "Most of the time, yeah. It's just...it's early and we're not-" She sighs. How do you tell a child that your significant other is reluctant to use the word 'girlfriend'? "We're just...we go out together, sometimes. And sometime we stay in together. It's...we're-"

"Do you kiss each other?" April interrupts with a roll of her eyes, as if she's decided it's up to her to help Vanessa make sense of her love-life.

Oh God. How much should she be saying here? Johnny doesn't know enough words to ask awkward questions quite yet and she's currently very thankful for that fact. "Ummm...yeah," she says, highly aware that her cheeks are glowing red. "We, uh, we do, yeah."

April comes over and sits down beside Vanessa. "So, you go out together. And she sent you a Valentine's Day Card. And you kiss each other." She puts a hand on Vanessa's arm, wearing a very serious expression. "Vanessa, I think she is your girlfriend."

Pressing her lips together to keep from laughing, Vanessa nods. "Yeah, I think you're probably right."

April nods, solemnly, like she's just imparted great wisdom, but then breaks out in a wide smile. "I like Charity. She's funny."

"Yeah. Yeah, she is," Vanessa agrees with a small smile. So few people are complimentary about Charity that it's nice to hear an unfiltered view of her from someone who can see the positive aspects of her personality.

"She makes great faces at Dad when he's not looking," April says. "And she gives me sandwiches on crisps for lunch instead of all the boring stuff Dad wants me to eat."

Okay, not the greatest reasons in the world for liking her. "Your Dad probably just wants you to eat some healthy stuff, yeah? So that you'll grow up fit and strong." There, that's her attempt at counteracting Charity's crisp sandwiches with sensible parenting.

Healthy eating is clearly not a topic April wishes to pursue, because she swiftly veers back to their previous conversation. "How come you're not out on a date with her tonight, if she's sort of your girlfriend?" April asks, and Vanessa can't help but feel there's a fair bit of judgement in the way she says 'sort of'. "It's Valentine's Day, you're supposed to go out on a date on Valentine's Day."

"She had to work, and I didn't have a babysitter," Vanessa explains. "And then I said I'd watch you and Leo to let your Dad and Rhona and Paddy all go out."

"That's a shame," April says, then shrugs. "Oh well, you can make them look after Johnny next year and you can take Charity on a date."

To hear 'next year' stated so simply and definitely makes Vanessa's stomach clench. She's never allowed herself to think much past a few weeks down the line. While she knows her own feelings, and she's growing more certain of Charity's by the day, everything still feels a little precarious and fragile.

"Yeah, maybe," she manages.

"You got Netflix?" April says, as if she hasn't just thrown Vanessa's whole world into a tailspin.

"Uh, yeah, 'course." She stretches and grabs the remote and hands it to April with a smile. "Why don't you pick us something good and I'll grab some popcorn?"

"Alright." April grins back at her and starts expertly flicking through the app, looking for something for them to watch.

They're almost at the end of Brave when there's a knock on the door. Vanessa frowns, wondering if Marlon's date has gone so badly that he's come back early. She settles the bowl of popcorn on April's lap, not even earning a glance from her, and gets up, wiping her hands on her jeans. She opens the door and her heart leaps in her chest. Charity's standing there, twirling a single red rose in her left hand.

"I-I thought you were working," Vanessa stutters.

"I am. Managed to convince Victoria to look after the bar for me for fifteen minutes, didn't I?" Charity says with a wink. She coughs and shuffles her feet. "I, uh, I didn't want to let the day pass without at least seeing you." She rolls her eyes and holds out the rose. "Happy Valentine's Day, babe."

Vanessa takes the rose and brings it to her nose, sniffing its perfume. "Thank you. It's lovely."

"I nicked it out of the dozen Paddy gave Chas," Charity says, slipping her hands into her back pockets and rocking on her heels. Off Vanessa's disapproving look, she continues. "Hey! Kind of a spontaneous decision, was this. I had to improvise."

"Fine," Vanessa says, with a sigh that's definitely more fond than irritated. "You coming in?"

"Thought you'd never ask," Charity says, as Vanessa stands aside to let her in. Vanessa follows her into the living room and nearly walks into her back when she stops short. April's leaning on the back of the sofa, gap-toothed grin in place and Brave on pause.

"Hiya Charity," she says, in a voice too sweet to be wholesome.

"Well hello there, Missy," Charity says. "I thought you'd be in bed by this time." She turns to raise her eyebrows at Vanessa.

"Yeah, we, uh, I said April could stay up just a little bit past her bedtime to finish the film we were watching."

"S'pose you want me to go upstairs so you can have a kiss and a cuddle?" April asks.

"If you could, yeah. That'd be brilliant, sweetheart," Charity says, nodding. Vanessa nudges her, not thrilled at the idea of April knowing what they're going to be doing in her absence.

April jumps off the sofa, coming around to stand in front of them. She looks between them for a minute before settling her gaze on Charity. "I think you need to tell Vanessa that she's your girlfriend, because she wasn't sure earlier and I think-"

Vanessa quickly moves in front of Charity and ushers April towards the stairs, talking loudly to drown out anything else she might say. "April! It's fine, darling, we don't need to bother Charity with all that stuff, okay? You just head up to bed and I'll be up in a little bit to tuck you in, right?"

"Fine," April sighs, but Vanessa doesn't miss the meaningful stare she gives Charity as she heads up the stairs.

"Well," Charity says. "Sounds like the two of you have been having all kinds of important conversations tonight, eh?"

"I feel like she's more grown up than I am, sometimes," Vanessa comments, as April's footsteps move over their heads. She shifts her eyes to Charity, hiding a smile. "And she's definitely more grown up than you."

"Oh, is that so?" Charity raises her eyebrows, pointing over her shoulder. "I'll just leave you to your grown up evening with April then, shall I?"

Vanessa grabs hold of Charity's lapel and pulls her close. "No you will not. If I've only got you for fifteen minutes, I'm going to make the most of them." Her hand slips behind Charity's neck and urges her into a soft kiss. Charity's arms wrap around her waist, pulling Vanessa tighter against her body. Vanessa pulls away slightly, dropping featherlight kisses along Charity's jaw. "But then, I reckon you've got a good thirty minutes before she'll actually phone to see where you are, yeah?"

Charity gasps in fake shock. "Ms Woodfield," she murmurs. "Are you encouraging me to skive off work? Because you know I'm easily led."

"Well, how about...," Vanessa starts walking Charity backwards. "I lead you to the couch and we see how long it takes for Vic to call?

When her legs hit the couch, Charity sits abruptly. Vanessa deposits her rose on the coffee table and wastes no time in climbing onto Charity's lap, knees on either side of her hips. Charity's hands slide up her sides, thumbs sweeping over her breasts. Her breath hitches, but she covers Charity's hands and brings them back down to an acceptable level around her hips.

"There's three kids upstairs," she says, with as stern a glare as she can muster as Charity pouts.

"Fine," Charity relents, squeezing her hips. "No fun stuff."

"Oh, I don't know," Vanessa says, taking hold of Charity's shoulders and turning them both so that Charity can recline more, with Vanessa still on top of her. "I'm finding this pretty fun."

"Yeah, it's not bad," Charity's mouth slides into a smile that Vanessa can't help but kiss. The kiss grows in passion and Vanessa presses herself down, seeking out more contact.

From nowhere, Brave unpauses and the room is filled with Merida's voice, making some rousing speech. They both jump in fright. Vanessa shoves her hand under Charity's back to retrieve the remote they must've leaned on and presses pause again.

Charity's got her hand over her heart."Jesus Christ. I thought Moira'd joined us for a minute there," she says, breathing hard.

"I think it's a bit early for threesome discussions, don't you?" Vanessa says, with a cheeky wink.

"Well, just for future reference, that is not a threesome I ever want to have." Charity physically shudders. "I mean, she's got a nice set on her, but I honestly couldn't put up with that accent, could you? It'd be like shagging Shrek." She lowers her voice by an octave. "'Hang on a wee minute, lassies, I just need tae take ma wellies aff.'"

"That's not nice!" Vanessa slaps her shoulder gently, barely hiding her own smile.

Charity grins up at her. "I'm not nice, buttercup. Did nobody think to tell you?"

"Oh, shut up, Charity Dingle." Vanessa kisses the tip of Charity's nose. "You're something better than nice."

"And what's that, then?" Charity asks, her head tilted in curiosity.

Vanessa shrugs, a little embarrassed now that she's been asked. "You're you."

Charity's smile changes at that, the cocky smirk dies and is replaced by something softer, something secret that's only for Vanessa in moments like these. She swallows thickly, eyes dipping away from Vanessa's. "You're-" She laughs and shakes her head. "You're about the only person who's ever said that like it's a good thing."

"It is a good thing," Vanessa tells her, a gentle hand on her chin turning her face back so their eyes can meet. "And I'll keep saying it until you believe that, okay?"

Charity just nods, then lifts her head to bring their mouths together again. Just before their lips can touch, Charity's phone starts to ring and vibrate in her pocket. She groans in frustration, letting her head fall back down. "That'll be Vic."

Vanessa laughs and drops her own head so that her face is hidden in Charity's neck. The phone eventually stops ringing. "Happy Valentine's Day to us."

Charity sighs and bumps her head against Vanessa's. "I'm off on Friday night. We can do something then, yeah? Something that's not the Woolpack."

Lifting her head, Vanessa smiles softly; an honest to goodness date. "That sounds lovely."

Clearing her throat, Charity's hands drag up and down her back. "And, you know, if you wanted to...you could tell April in the morning that we are, uh-" She rolls her eyes. "-girlfriends."

Vanessa lifts her eyebrows. "Yeah?"

"Yeah," Charity nods, smiling. "Even though it sounds ridiculous at our age."

"Sounds great to me," Vanessa dips her head and steals a kiss.

Charity's phone starts ringing again, eliciting a weary sigh. Before she can think too much about her actions, Vanessa fishes the phone out of her pocket. She keeps her eyes locked with Charity's as her free hand pops the button and works the zipper down on Charity's jeans. Charity's eyes grow wide as she slips her hand inside. Vanessa answers the call just as she pushes Charity's knickers to the side.

"Hi Vic?" She enters Charity with two fingers, smiling at how wet she is, just from their kissing session. She starts up a rhythm as best she can with her hand confined as it is. Charity's lips are pressed together so tightly they've gone white.

Victoria is ranting about how Charity said she'd only be five minutes. "Uh huh, I know. It's my fault, Vic. I've kept her longer than she intended." She's really working her hand now, thrusting roughly, the way she knows Charity likes it, her thumb applying pressure to Charity's clit all the while. Charity's breathing has quickened and she's pressing a hand across her mouth. Vanessa loves how quickly she can work her up.

"Yeah, she'll be there soon." She curls her fingers, making sure to hit that sweet spot just right. "No, no, I promise!" Vanessa grins wickedly at Charity. "She's coming now."

The End

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