DISCLAIMER: These characters definitely don't belong to me, otherwise we'd be seeing this not reading about it. They belong to the BBC and various other people.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: For some reason this is a pairing that keeps jumping out at me, no matter how unusual it seems. Thanks for reading.
SPOILERS: Anything up to the present day is fair game, especially events regarding Den.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Little Mo sighed as she entered the Slater home just as the sun was disappearing behind the mess of Walford homes. The rest of the family she was certain was out- Nan and Dad were in the pub, Stacey was going ice-skating or something and Kat... Well, she hadn't asked but her elder sister always had plans so she was fairly sure she wouldn't be troubling her. Freddie was with Billy, he wanted to play the father figure and who was she to stop him? It was what she'd always wanted after all.
Yes, until her heart's desire had changed into Alfie Moon. Unfortunately, that seemed to be on permanently slow-burn, he was reluctant, rushing away all the time. She was starting to worry she'd done something wrong though he assured her not.
That night though she wanted to forget about Alfie Moon for a little while. Maybe watch a soppy film on the telly, just have an early night. It wasn't often she had the house to herself and she was determined to enjoy it.
After getting a drink from the kitchen she went to settle down in the living room, surprised to find Kat's purse there. If there was one thing Kat Slater couldn't live without when she was pulling some bloke or other in a pub it was her 'essentials' kit. Make-up, hairspray, phone. It was all in there. So that meant she hadn't gone out. Deciding she better check on her sister, Mo put her drink on the table before climbing the stairs.
From her position in the shadow of the corridor behind the bar, Chrissie watched Sharon and Dennis closely. The way they were both controlling the bar, it felt to her as if she'd suddenly been ousted, this was Den's final revenge. She had to live in the pub with his body while his son and adopted daughter took over from her. It was typical Den. And if it wasn't irritating her so it might well have been laughable.
Knowing she wasn't needed- or even wanted- behind that bar she took her coat from its hook and left via the cellar. As usual, she got a chill as she walked over the fresher cement but this time she managed to stem it before it had a chance to overtake her. There was no way she was about to fall into the guilt trap again, Den was dead and deservedly so.
The air was surprisingly cool for the time of year. Cold enough to see her breath anyway. As she set off aimlessly across the Square she surveyed the streets, they were completely empty. It was as if the world had got the message she wasn't in an interruption mood and had decided to stay at home. Then a loud group laugh boomed from the pub behind her. No, she corrected herself, everyone was in there laughing at one of Sharon's timeless 'family' jokes. The idea made her both fume and sweat with worry.
Walking further away from the occasional raucous laughter she found near silence. It was true what people said about it being deafening. In truth, she'd first noticed it the night Den had been killed, between her hitting him and the other two returning. That moment had felt like a lifetime and she'd lived it in silence, completely alone. Since then she'd had to sleep with the low hum of a radio or the television on, just to stop herself going crazy.
That was the way she was feeling at that moment- if she stood still for long enough she was sure she'd turn to stone, be forced to live that way for ever. It was a small irony that, to the world, she was having to behave that way anyway. As she turned to walk back to the pub though something exploded across the road. Something major.
Little Mo came flying out of the Slater house, no coat despite the freezing night and, even with the distance, Chrissie could see the tears racing down her cheeks. Following her was Alfie, partially dressed, buttoning his trousers as he came. He was shouting her name, shouting apologies. As he hit the pavement Kat came to the doorway. She looked as self-satisfied as she always did, despite the mood her sister was in. Then again, Chrissie supposed she might be the slightest bit biassed against the elder Slater sister considering she was the one who could expose her for Den's murder. Yes, on closer inspection, Kat looked confused.
Mo was vehemently ignoring Alfie's pleas as she rushed into the Square. Stepping forward from her place within the shadows of the bushes, Chrissie blocked her path. 'Mo, are you alright?'
'Get out of my way!' That was the harshest the meek Slater's voice had ever been, she was sure of that. And it made her more determined to find out what the hell was going on.
'No!' She grabbed hold of Mo's arm to keep her steady as Alfie skidded to a halt. 'What's going on?'
'Thanks, Chrissie, darling,' he said quickly. 'I can handle this.'
She glanced at Mo, her head was lowered, she was still crying. There was no way he was going to be left alone with her to add to that. 'No, she's coming home with me.'
'Chrissie, this is between me and her!'
'And what about her?' she asked, nodding back to the house where Kat was still waiting. 'Sort out that mess, Alfie. Come on, Mo.'
Leaving him there, she put an arm around her employee's shoulders, guiding her back towards the pub. Maybe Mo was just in shock but she didn't say a word, not even when the pair had safely crossed Den's body and were settled in the living room upstairs in the pub.
Unsure of what else to do, Chrissie poured them both stiff drinks, forcing one in Mo's hand as she sat down beside her. 'Are you alright?'
Finally, a response, even it was only a head shake.
'You can talk to me, you know. I'm not a great big ogre, least I hope not.'
She nodded a little, seeming to realise she had a drink in her hand. After a few sips she looked up. 'I walked in on Alfie and Kat, in bed together.'
I failed to see the relevance to her current situation but knew it must have some. She wasn't the type to react like this over nothing. 'Right... Well, what's that got to do with you? It's embarrassing, yeah, but...'
'No,' she interrupted forcefully. 'It's not embarrassing. It's humiliating. You see, Alfie said... Him and me...'
Her and..? Oh! At least that explained why she was in the state she was, cheating on her with her sister was a pretty low thing for Alfie to do. Typical man. 'All men are bastards, Mo.'
'I thought he was different,' she answered tearfully. 'I asked him! He promised me he was going to tell Kat, then we wouldn't have to keep it a secret anymore. Be a proper couple, you know?'
'Oh, darling.' Chrissie rubbed the brunette's back soothingly. 'It's in their genes, lying. They're masters at it. We've all been taken in at some point.'
Mo shook her head. 'It's always me.'
'Don't talk rubbish. Alfie Moon is...' Seeing she was losing attention, Chrissie moved the hand to the back of her friend's neck. 'Alfie is an idiot. Kat over you? He's crazy.'
'She's everything I'm not. Glamourous, sexy.'
'No, Mo, don't do this to yourself. Some men prefer slappers, that's all.' Realising that she was actually talking to Kat's sister, she toned it down. 'You're great, okay? You believe that.'
'I really thought he was different.'
'I've thought that about every man I've ever been with,' Chrissie answered with a small smile as she turned her attentions to slowly massaging the back of her employee's neck with the fingers of her right hand. 'Doesn't make it any better when they turn out to be something on my shoe.'
'I just... want someone, you know?'
'Yeah,' she answered quietly. 'I know.'
Looking at each other, neither woman moved an inch. Even the innocent massage had stopped leaving fingers entangled in hair. Chrissie was slowly examining her options. This wouldn't be the first time she'd made a move on a woman, there'd been times in Spain when there had been drinks and dares but this was the first time when she was sober. And the fact she wanted to kiss Mo while she was sober terrified her slightly. Then there was Mo's side of it. After just catching her boyfriend and sister in bed she wouldn't want to be kissed. It'd repulse her, rightly so too.
A bout of laughter from the bar downstairs snapped the twosome out of their deadlock. Standing quickly, Chrissie finished her drink. 'You won't be wanting to go back there.'
Little Mo also stood. 'Not really. But I've got nowhere else to go.'
'Stay here. We've got a spare room.' The offer was being made without her really being aware of it.
'No, no, I couldn't. What about Sharon and Dennis?'
'It's my name above that door, Mo,' Chrissie said decisively. 'And I say you're staying.'
Eventually, the brunette nodded. 'Thank you.'
'Okay. I'll just get you something to wear.'
Just as she reached the door, Mo said, 'I really appreciate this, Chrissie. Everything.'
The older woman smiled. 'Anytime, Mo.'
As she went through her drawers a minute later, Chrissie desperately searched for a garment that wouldn't send the wrong message to her employee. There was no doubt in her mind that she would have kissed Little Mo back there if Sharon's stories hadn't cut in from downstairs. And Mo knew it too. That meant whatever she presented her to wear was likely to appear as a hint and she didn't want to confuse the woman anymore. How bad was your boyfriend sleeping with your sister? Oh, she thought to herself dryly, about as bad as your husband sleeping with his son's girlfriend.
Finally settling on something that at least covered most parts of the body, Chrissie grabbed an old dressing gown to go with it and went back to the living room. Mo was staring into her glass, swishing the liquid gently around as if trying to get answers from it. Well, there was as good a place as any to look. Not wanting to disturb her, Chrissie leaned against the doorframe, enjoying the luxuries that being an unseen party gave her. For instance, she had the chance to examine Mo's hair and her face, the profile of it anyway, and look at everything that made the bartender herself. It was a pretty sight.
Little Mo was one of those people for whom artificial beauty didn't matter. She wore minium make-up, used as few hair products as she could get away with yet she still looked stunning. Chrissie knew she'd been right before, Alfie Moon was mad. Who in their right mind would chose a manufactured slapper like Kat over a perfect specimen like Little Mo? That was the trouble with men. Sometimes they couldn't see the beauty right in front of them and this was some beauty.
Deciding to finally make her presence known, she coughed. 'I got the clothes, Mo.'
Though seeming slightly startled, the younger woman left her glass on the table and came to get them. 'Thanks. I'm being a nuisance, aren't I?'
'Don't even think it,' Chrissie warned. 'If you were, I'd chuck you out right now. You know that. Right, is there anything you want? Have you eaten?'
'I think I just want to go to bed,' she answered. 'Is that okay?'
'Course.' Chrissie indicated for her to follow her as she went to the spare bedroom. Opening the door, she stopped to fumble with the crabby light-switch then felt Mo walk right into her. Turning slightly, she could see her friend's outline less a few inches away, she could feel her breath in her face. Fighting back her first impulse she began to move backwards until she realised she was against the wall. Since Mo was now the one with the deciding power she had to wait.
A few seconds passed when neither moved. Taking Mo's lack of movement as something of a green light, Chrissie threw her lips against the other woman's, worried for an instant as they remained rigid then became inwardly triumphant as she felt a response. From then she took control, guiding Mo onto the bed through the darkness as she had so innocently earlier in the evening. Checking to make sure it was what her employee really wanted (and receiving a hungry look for her trouble), she removed both constricting blouses, throwing them onto the floor with the discarded nightclothes.
The memory of the previous night flooded back before she'd even had chance to think about opening her eyes. She recalled Chrissie's lips on hers and the feel of their skin together and the way they'd seemed to fit perfectly with each other. Mostly, she remembered the happiness she'd felt as she'd drifted to sleep.
Slowly, of course, the rest of the evening came back to her. Kat and Alfie, in bed together, staring at her as if she was the wrong-doer. She'd been so broken, getting out of there was the only thing on her mind and she'd run into one person she wouldn't have expected to make it all better but had. And, opening her eyes, she found Chrissie still there. Thankfully. 'Morning.'
Her boss looked nervous, despite the fact her hand was already resting on Mo's shoulder. 'Morning. Are you feeling alright?'
'Yeah.' Seeing the less than reassured look, she continued, 'I haven't felt better in a while.'
'Well, you know, I've been thinking,' Chrissie said, glancing away. 'If you wanted to forget this ever happened, that's okay. I don't mind. As you're happy.'
The idea was a shock to the system. 'Is that what you want?'
'No. But I thought...'
Mo cut her off with a kiss. 'Is that answer enough?'
A smile appeared on Chrissie's face. 'I think so, yeah.'
'Good.' Slowly, Mo sat up, surveying the mess of clothes on the floor now visible by the light filtering through the curtains. 'I better go before Sharon and Dennis wake up.'
'Oh, them. They're making my life a misery.'
'You look gorgeous when you pout,' Mo observed as she reached down for the dressing gown Chrissie was supposed to have given her last night. 'But I need to get home anyway so...'
'What are you going to do?' Chrissie propped herself up on an elbow.
'Oh, I think I'll start by apologising to Kat for what happened yesterday. It was a misunderstanding, nothing to do with her and Alfie.'
'Mo, are you sure? I thought you...'
'No,' she said quickly. 'He's not worth it, right?'
'Right,' Chrissie agreed. 'Well, are you coming back or..?'
'I've got a shift at eleven, remember? I've got to go explain to Billy why I suddenly trusted him with Freddie overnight.'
'I forgot about Freddie,' the pub owner admitted sheepishly.
'I think I did too, a little anyway.' Mo grinned. 'I suppose he'll understand when he's older. You can't turn down a beautiful woman.'
Chrissie leaned across to kiss her shoulder. 'My sentiments exactly.'
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