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You're just the part of me I can't let go
"Oh my g-...yes! That's...Jesus...oh God...Charity! Please...please just-"
Vanessa never used to be this vocal in bed, she's pretty sure of that. She could always do a bit of dirty talk to get the party started, and some 'ooohs' and 'aaaahs' in the right places to help things along. But all of that felt a bit forced, if she's honest. Like she did it because that's what she'd seen women do on the telly when a man was grinding away on top of them. Not that she didn't enjoy sex before. She generally did. But sex with Charity Dingle is on a whole other level.
Like right now, Charity is down between her legs doing something with her mouth that Vanessa can't even begin to understand. Charity is a master at keeping Vanessa right on the edge, and that's where she is right now. Every nerve in Vanessa's body is screaming out for release, reaching for that moment of bliss that Charity's dangling in front of her. She pushes her heels into the mattress, trying to press herself closer to Charity's mouth, trying to get a bit more pressure where she needs it. Her insides are molten, skin is on fire, her bloody ears are even ringing with-
Wait. That's not her ears. That's her phone.
"Ch-Charity," she pants, hand flung out to the side, fumbling on the bedside cabinet for the offending item. She grasps it and struggles up onto her other elbow. "Charity...you need to...you need to stop for a minute."
Charity lifts her head, brow creased, mouth glistening. "Eh?"
With a shaking hand, and struggling to control her breathing, Vanessa accepts the call. "Vanessa Woodfield." She listens as the person on the other end describes a very serious sounding situation involving a calf and some barbed wire. Charity catches her eye and raises an eyebrow, before lowering her head again. Vanessa's eyes go wide, and she manages to get her hand down in time to push Charity's forehead away. She shakes her head and frowns when Charity pouts at her. She flings her leg over Charity's head and scrambles to the edge of the bed, bending over the side to pick up her hastily discarded underwear and jeans. "Right, I'll be up as soon as I can. Ten minutes or so." She wedges her phone between her cheek and her shoulder as she starts to dress. "Try and keep the mother calm in the meantime and if you can cut the calf out without damaging it further, all the better. Okay, I'll see you soon. Bye."
She hangs up and turns to apologise to Charity and is surprised to see her also getting dressed, yanking her top over her head. "Wh-what are you doing?"
Charity turns to look over her shoulder and Vanessa's stomach lurches; she's wearing that cold, distant expression that Vanessa hates. "You're leaving, aren't you?"
"Well, yeah, but-"
"Yeah, so there's not much point me hanging around here by myself, is there?" Charity snarls, wiping her mouth with her sleeve.
"I won't be gone all night, Charity," Vanessa says, shimmying into her jeans and doing them up. "And you knew before you came over that I was on call so I don't know where this is all coming from now."
"Maybe I just thought I'd get you to myself for five bloomin' minutes, that's all." Charity says, stomping into her boots. "But no, of course not. That'd be asking too much, wouldn't it?"
"This is my job." Vanessa tells her as she pulls her hair into a ponytail. "We can't all just swan around, pulling the odd pint and blowing off shifts willy-nilly, you know."
Charity spins to face her. "Oh, so just because you've got a job that needs an alphabet after your name, it's more important than mine, is that it?"
"I...have no idea where you got that from what I said, but I don't have time to stand here arguing over nothing with you," Vanessa says, walking around the bed. She moves in to kiss Charity's cheek, but Charity turns her face away before she can make contact. Vanessa can't deny the spike of hurt in her chest at that, but she really doesn't have time to deal with it right now. "Fine. I'll see you later."
"I won't be here when you get back," Charity tells her, arms folded over her chest. "I'm not sitting around like some little lapdog waiting for you."
"Fine," Vanessa snaps, finally losing her temper. "Stay or go. Do what you like. You will anyway. Just lock the door behind you."
She storms out of the bedroom, slamming the door behind her. Lucky Johnny's at Tracy's because if them fighting hadn't woken him, that certainly would have.
True to her word, Charity's gone when Vanessa returns a few hours later, exhausted and annoyed that they'd fought over something so stupid. They've been together coming on nine months. It's not like Charity's not used to her getting called out at all hours of the morning by now. Vanessa clatters around the bedroom, banging things down and tossing her clothes any which way before collapsing into bed. She turns to face the wall so that she's not looking at the empty other side.
Sleep doesn't come quickly and she finds herself going over the events of the evening in her mind, trying to figure out where Charity's petulant outburst came from. Okay, it was fairly rude of her to answer her phone in the middle of them having sex. But, again, Charity knew she was on call. She sighs, turning over in the bed. After a few seconds of trying to resist, she pulls Charity's pillow over and buries her face in it, inhaling the mixture of shampoo and perfume it holds. And if a few tears leak out, then at least the pillow's there to absorb them.
She spends the whole of the next morning waiting for a text from Charity, or a knock at the door. It's not like this is the first time they've argued. It's not even the first time one of them has walked out. And usually they're back to normal by lunchtime the next day. Charity usually forgoes an apology, and jumps straight back into flirty, friendly texts. But this morning, there's nothing.
Part of Vanessa wants to text her, or go to the pub and see her. But another part of her, the stubborn part, refuses to be the one to make the first move. Vanessa did absolutely nothing wrong, and she can't be the one doing the running all the time. It's unfair of Charity to expect her to be. So she leaves it.
And she hears nothing from Charity for the whole day.
The following morning, she's upset enough to tell herself that if she's heard nothing by lunchtime, then she'll go to the pub. This whole thing is ridiculous, but she's not going to throw away the best relationship she's ever had over some petty argument that she doesn't even understand. She goes to make herself a cup of tea, only to discover that she's completely out of milk. Not even a drop left in the container that she, for some reason, decided to put back in the fridge yesterday.
Sighing, she trudges over and gets herself ready to go outside. There's been an early cold snap this year, so she pulls on a hat and scarf along with her jacket and then heads out into the morning, shivering as soon as the air hits her cheeks. She steps up her pace as she crosses the street to the shop, eager to be in the warmth again.
Tracy's behind the counter when she gets there and she receives a smile in greeting, which she half-heartedly returns, causing Tracy to tilt her head in sympathy. Grabbing a container of milk, she makes her way over to her sister.
"Still no word, then?" Tracy asks, ringing up the milk. She'd told Tracy about the fight the previous day. And Rhona. Neither of them could fathom why Charity had gotten so upset.
"Not a peep," Vanessa confirms, lifting her eyebrows and setting her lips in a thin line.
"Bloody hell," Tracy says, frowning. "You, uh...you're not just gonna, you know, let it go on like this, are you?"
Vanessa heaves a sigh. "No. I'm gonna go over and see her at lunchtime if I've heard nothing."
Relief floods Tracy's face and she nods rapidly. "Good. 'Cause, I know she's in the wrong, like, but it's mad to let something like this come between the two of you." She leans her elbows on the counter. "And it does sound like maybe she was just gonna miss you or whatever."
"Miss getting her leg over, more like," Vanessa mutters and then scowls. "Tracy, I know you and Charity have that weird friends-not friends type thing going on, but you are legally obliged to be on my side in these situations."
"I am!" Tracy says, putting her hands up. "I totally am, V! I just, you know, don't want to see you miserable. Which you would be if you weren't with Charity."
"Well, am I wrong?" Tracy challenges.
Vanessa rolls her eyes. "No," she concedes, wrinkling her nose at her sister. "Stop making sense, you." She picks up her milk and starts heading to the door.
"Doesn't happen very often," Tracy calls after her, making her smile as she heads back out into the cold. She turns to head back across to Tug Ghyll, but her breath is stolen from her lungs. Charity's standing not five feet away, looking absolutely stunning in the cold morning light. The earmuffs Vanessa bought her months ago are perched on her head, only making her more adorable in Vanessa's eyes. Her chest aches at the loss of a whole day in this woman's company, when she could have been in her arms.
They stand in silence for a long moment, just looking at one another. Then Charity presses her lips together and shakes her head.
"Ness, I'm so sorry."
The whispered words are barely out of her mouth before Vanessa has crossed the distance between them and pulled her into a kiss. Her hands go to Charity's cheeks, fingertips brushing against the soft fur of the earmuffs as their mouths move together in familiar synchronicity. She idly wonders where the milk is that she was holding a second before, but quickly discards the thought.
Charity's arms are tight around her waist so that even when the kiss ends, they are pressed close together, breathing the same air. Charity's eyes are bright, her smile still tentative and Vanessa can't help placing another kiss on her lips, longing to coax out that really bright smile she adores.
"I was heading in here to buy you some flowers and then I was gonna come over," Charity says. "I-I should've come over yesterday-"
"Yeah, you should've," Vanessa confirms.
"I wasn't sure you'd want to see me," Charity confesses in a whisper. "After I'd been such a cow."
Vanessa sighs, urging Charity's face down to her own so their foreheads are resting together. "Right, first of all, and for future reference, if we fight, I don't need flowers. Or chocolates. Or anything else but you, okay? You and me, talking about whatever it is we fought about. That's all."
"Noted," Charity says, with a soft chuckle. "That'll save me a few quid."
"Secondly," Vanessa continues, ignoring Charity's interruption. "I will always want to see you. Even when you're annoying the shit out of me, there's nobody else I want to be with."
"Babe," Charity whines, though her voice is rougher than usual. "Stop being so nice to me."
Vanessa sighs and kisses Charity again, just a chaste brush of lips. "So, are you going to let me in on why we were fighting in the first place?"
Charity shakes her head. "I'd just...it hadn't been a great day. Debbie was supposed to have lunch with me but got caught up in some stupid thing at Moira's and cancelled on me. And Noah was on another of his play dates with Joe." She wrinkles her face in distaste. "And I was feeling...a bit put out, I s'pose." She sighs and her eyes drop. "And usually you're the person I can rely on to not make me feel like I'm coming second to anything else, so when you got called away I just...overreacted. A bit."
"A bit, yeah," Vanessa says with a smile, which soon fades. "And you do know that I didn't choose anything over you, yeah? I have a job, which comes with responsibilities, which you are well aware of."
"I know," Charity rushes to say. "I know you do." She shrugs. "Like I said...that day it just got to me, that's all."
Vanessa slips her arms around Charity's waist, tugging her closer. "Right. So, next time you feel that way, tell me, okay?" She nods until Charity nods with her. "And maybe we'll be able to avoid all this avoiding each other nonsense."
She feels most of the tension leave Charity's body at that, and she sags against her, their noses brushing. "Good. Because I haven't half missed you," Charity whispers.
"I've missed you too, you daft mare," Vanessa murmurs in return, closing her eyes and squeezing Charity tighter.
"I think your milk's beyond saving by the way," Charity says. Vanessa pulls back to look at her in confusion and then turns to follow Charity's line of sight. The milk she'd come over to buy is lying on the ground, slowly leaking out of a puncture in the container where she'd obviously just let it fall.
She turns back to Charity with a bright smile, sliding her hand down her arm and linking their gloved fingers. "Bugger it. It was only for tea anyway. I can think of other ways to get warm." She starts to walk, pulling Charity with her.
"What about after?" Charity asks, some of her usual humour back in her voice. "You know I like a good strong brew after."
"Then you'll take it black and be grateful," Vanessa tells her with a cheeky wink over her shoulder.
She's pulled to a halt and turns to find Charity looking at her with a fondness that makes her chest feel too small for her heart.
"I am, babe," Charity says, eyes shining with honesty that's not always easy for her. "Eternally grateful."
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