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Some people never get to do, all we got to do
She decides to stop by The Woolpack for a quick drink before going to pick Leo up. It's early enough that it's quiet. Charity is lounging on the bar, reading a newspaper. She looks up at the sound of the door and sighs, heaving herself into an upright position and moving to where Rhona has seated herself.
"G and T?" She sounds even more bored than usual.
Charity grabs a glass and goes to the optics. She's not looking at Rhona when she speaks next. "On your own tonight?" She's clearly trying to sound casual, but Rhona's not fooled. Nor is she taking the bait.
"Yep, all on my lonesome." Rhona accepts the drink and pays, waiting to see if Charity will pursue her line of questioning, but she just slinks back to her newspaper and leaves Rhona in peace to sip her drink. The tranquility doesn't last long, because the door bursts open and Tracy marches in, pouting. Rhona catches Charity twisting her neck to see if anyone is following Tracy, but the door closes and stays closed. Rhona hides a smile.
"Hiya." Tracy plonks down on the stool next to Rhona's and orders a drink.
"Hi. Not working today?"
"Well, I was. But David sent me over here because I was-" She wiggles her fingers in an approximation of airquotes. "-earwigging on Vanessa's big date."
"Date?" Charity's voice cuts in and when they turn to face her, even she looks surprised that she's spoken. It's Charity, so she recovers quickly. "Blimey, she's getting about these days. Which daft bloke is she throwing herself at this week?"
"Oh, it's not a bloke," Tracy tells her, with a tight and entirely fake smile. "It's our accountant Amanda."
Charity's smile freezes. "Oh."
"Yeah, seems like she's really taken your advice to heart, Charity," Rhona chips in, keeping her face straight.
"Well...good for her." Charity sets Tracy's drink on the bar and then seems confused about what to do with her hands for a moment before finally pointing over her shoulder with her thumb. "Well, I've got to go and...yeah "
Rhona hides her smile and turns to Tracy. "So, how's the date going?"
"Yeah...it's...yeah." Tracy smiles and shrugs. "V definitely thinks Amanda's fit. She looked like one of them wolves in the cartoons when she saw her. Eyes almost popped out of her head!"
"That's good," Rhona nods. At least Vanessa's embracing her attraction to women. "That sounds positive. Did it look like they were getting on?"
This time, Tracy's slower to answer, and looks like she's considering her response. "Well, one of the times I was, you know, wiping a table nearby where they were sitting they were talking about, I dunno, income tax or something. Definitely numbers. And then the next time it was gerbils, I think."
Rhona scrunches up her nose. "Doesn't sound very promising."
Tracy waves a dismissive hand as she take a drink, shaking her head as she swallows. "Oh, I'm sure they'll be fine. They were probably just getting warmed up. I dunno what lesbians talk about to get them going, do I?"
"Whatever it is, I don't think it's income tax and gerbils, Trace."
"Well, I'm sure they'll be talking each other's ears off by now. They looked really good together an'all." She gives Rhona a smile and a nod. They sit in silence for a few moments, but Rhona knows it won't last long. Tracy has something she wants to say, and Tracy is not known for keeping things in. So Rhona knows if she waits, she'll get more. And sure enough, Tracy leans in close, lowering her voice. "Do...you think we could move over to a booth?" She glances in the direction Charity took. "Nosy barmaids and all that."
"'Course." They move to a booth far enough away from the bar for Tracy to relax. Rhona watches as she takes a swig of her drink and then leans across the table.
"I'm really hoping that they do hit it off, you know."
"Tracy, I'm sure Vanessa will find someone. It doesn't have to be the first woman she goes on a date with."
"I know that." Tracy rolls her eyes. "It's just " She sighs, her eyes flitting back to the bar before meeting Rhona's. "I'm just a bit worried that if we don't distract her she'll end up falling back in with...you know. Our friendly neighbourhood barmaid."
Rhona tries not to react to having her own thoughts echoed in Tracy's concerned tone. "Oh? What makes you think that?"
Letting out a frustrated sigh, Tracy downs the rest of her drink and shakes her head. "I dunno. It's just... something . Like a feeling I get." Nodding, Rhona tries to hide behind her glass for a moment, but Tracy's eyes go wide and she points an accusatory finger at her. "Oh my God! You think the same!"
Putting her drink down, Rhona sighs, noting that Charity is back behind the bar and that Tracy has forgotten to be quiet. "Keep your voice down," she scolds. "And...okay, yes, maybe I'd had some thoughts in that direction. But neither of us know anything, and it's completely up to Vanessa to choose what she wants to do, and who she wants to date, right?"
"Of course it is," Tracy agrees, although her expression of distaste is hard to miss. "But...I do think it's up to us to help her look at her options."
"What, like Amanda the Accountant, you mean?" Rhona asks, her eyebrow rising.
"Look, she was the best I had at short notice, okay?" Tracy clicks her tongue, her eyes drifting back to the bar. "I mean...there's got to be someone better for her than Charity, right?"
"As I said, that's up to Vanessa." Rhona says, trying to find her vibrating phone in her handbag. She finally locates it. "Oh, speak of the devil. Hi 'Ness."
"Hi." She doesn't need to see Vanessa's face to know that she's not happy.
"So...wine, I take it?"
"Yes, please. Are you at yours?"
"Actually-" She looks at Tracy and raises her eyebrows. "I'm at the pub with Tracy. You should just join us here." Tracy nods vigorously.
"The pub . Rhona I don't-"
"C'mon, 'Ness. You need to come back here at some point. Might as well be when me and your little sis are here for moral support, right?"
Vanessa huffs a bit, but gives in. "Fine. I'm going home to change my shoes then I'll meet you. Make sure there's wine waiting for me."
"Deal. See you in a bit."
Tracy's biting her lip when she hangs up. "She didn't have a good time, then?"
Rhona squeezes Tracy's hand as she's sliding out of the booth to go to the bar. "Doesn't sound that way, Trace. Sorry."
Charity is already standing in front of her when she reaches the bar, which makes Rhona wonder if she's been listening in. "Another round of G and Ts?"
"Nah. Bottle of Soave, please Charity." Rhona gets her purse out while Charity fetches the bottle from the wine cooler and sets it on a tray with two wine glasses. "We need three glasses, thanks."
Charity stretches to grab another glass. "Someone joining you?" Again, she just misses casual.
"Yeah, Vanessa's coming over." Rhona watches her face, but Charity is careful to keep her air of disinterest.
"Oh yeah? The hot date couldn't have been very hot. It's barely six o'clock."
"Well, it was a coffee date, so who knows, eh?" Rhona hands over her card. Just as Charity turns away to take the payment, Rhona catches a glimmer of a smile. She rolls her eyes. They're both as bad as each other.
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