DISCLAIMER: These characters do not belong to me. They are the property of Warner Brothers and various other people. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To lucy87950[at]aol.com
SPOILER: Up to the end of S1.
'Ned!' Chuck called as she stormed into The Pie Hole with Olive on her heels. 'Ned, I need you to touch me.'
'Stop saying that,' Olive hissed. 'It's not good for my ears.'
Chuck shot her a glance but her focus was more on finding the Pie Maker. His head hesitantly slid around the doorframe. Steaming towards him, she forced him to jump back then eventually put the counter between them.
He chuckled uncomfortably. 'What are you doing?'
'Proving a point,' she said, advancing half way around the counter.
'Uh-huh, we can't do that,' he answered as he moved around to the left. 'We've got very specific reasons for not being able to do that.'
'Wait, wait,' Olive said, 'are you both in on this crazy ruse? I mean, seriously? All this to make a joke?'
Ned threw an outraged glare at Chuck. 'Y-You told her?'
She crossed her arms. 'Of course I told her.'
'Why?' he demanded. 'W-Why would you do that?'
'Because I love her and I'm through keeping this a secret from her. You don't lie to people you supposedly love,' she added pointedly.
Ned cleared his throat. 'Well, we'll come back to that one. But you really shouldn't have '
'You love me?' Olive interrupted with a delighted look on her face.
Chuck momentarily forgot her pursuit of the Pie Maker. She moved back towards the woman in the doorway and brought their bodies painfully close together. 'Of course I love you,' she replied. 'I should've said it before, I guess.'
Olive shook her head. 'Now's perfect.'
'Still here,' Ned said softly.
Breaking away, Chuck glanced at him anxiously. 'I'm sorry. I know there's a difference between knowing about it and seeing it.'
He had his eyes closed. 'Luckily, I'm not seeing anything.'
Chuck stepped away from Olive. 'It's okay; you can open your eyes now.'
After a moment he did. Seeing the distance between them, his shoulders relaxed to their usual level of tense. He picked up his rolling pin and began tossing it from hand to hand. Finally, he asked, 'Does the original point of this conversation still stand?'
'Yes,' Chuck said instantly.
He sighed incredulously. 'You know what happens. You plan to say I love you by dropping dead at her feet? That's a little extreme, don't you think?'
It was extreme and she knew it. The result of one heated argument should never ever be death, even if that death was a realignment of the way things were supposed to be. Casting her eyes down to the floor, she murmured, 'I just wanted her to know the truth, that's all.'
Ned didn't speak for a long minute. Then he sniffed. 'I just want you to be happy, both of you. If you think this'll help then...'
Chuck raised her eyes as he trailed off and reached for the key he kept hidden around his neck. Without a word he opened the room that housed what she knew to be heap upon heap of rotten fruit. The moment the smell met Olive's nose she grimaced.
'What is that?'
Ned shook his head and gestured to Chuck. Taking the hint, she went inside, retrieved a small box of rotten strawberries and returned to place it on the counter. As a last plea, Ned looked seriously at her. 'You do know Olive can't keep a secret to save her life, don't you?'
Chuck held his gaze. 'Sorry, do my aunts know I'm alive yet?'
Olive stood up straighter. 'See? I can keep a secret.'
Ned still looked unconvinced. 'Her secret. Maybe I'm not ready to trust you with mine.'
'Well, it's mine too,' Chuck said softly. 'And I have the right to tell her.'
With a shrug he reached out a finger to touch the closest strawberry. Chuck kept her eyes firmly on Olive's face as the transformation occurred, noting the disbelief then astonishment as the fact she'd been telling the truth finally sank in. Glancing back at the berry, Chuck was in time to see Ned touch it again and it wither under his finger. The sight of that happening never failed to send a shiver down her spine, whether it was a piece of fruit or a fully-grown human.
'You weren't crazy,' Olive murmured. 'And it wasn't a joke.'
'Nope,' Ned said hollowly. 'No joke.'
Chuck tried to catch her eye, tried to see what was going on behind those beautiful eyes of hers, but Olive's gaze was fixed firmly on Ned.
'This is why you never touched. I thought it was weird. Turns out its downright insane.'
Ned was growing more forlorn by the second. 'Go on; go tell it to the papers. Have me lobotomised.'
Chuck wanted to chastise him for the insinuation but she didn't have a chance. Olive abruptly moved from her station beside the door, kissed his cheek then strode out of the kitchen, out of the restaurant actually.
'What does that mean?' Ned questioned.
Smiling to herself, Chuck replied, 'It means you're off the hook. I'd hug you if it wouldn't kill me.'
His expression was rueful. 'I figured.'
After one last grateful look at him she returned to the apartment she and Olive shared. She found her girlfriend gazing wistfully out of the window. Tentatively, she approached her from behind and planted a soft kiss on her ear whilst wrapping her arms around the slender waist. Olive melted back into her arms.
'Are you mad at me?' Chuck whispered.
'For being alive?' Olive retorted. 'No chance.'
Turning slowly, Olive looked deep into her eyes. Chuck gazed back unblinkingly. It was the kind of look she'd always shared with Ned in the past but it never felt this charged. Perhaps, she thought with a splash of wickedness, because she knew what was coming next. Teasing a fingertip around Olive's waistband, she elicited a light moan.
'For a dead girl you're very dexterous,' purred her lover.
Chuck silenced her with a deep kiss. 'It's one of my better talents.'
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