DISCLAIMER: The characters herein are used without permission. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To scotangelina[at]yahoo.com

Vanity bits and bobs
By thegirl20



As mornings go, there's nothing all that special about it. Debbie's dropped by to offer Noah a lift to school since it's raining really hard, so it's a bit more crowded than usual in the Woolpack's back room. Chas is seated at the table with Debbie and Sarah. Noah's in the fourth chair, with Johnny on his lap. They're talking away to each other and Johnny is finding Noah hilarious. Vanessa's seated on the kitchen counter, eating toast and smiling at their antics, while Charity's hanging around the toaster, waiting for it to pop.

"How come I live here and I'm the last to get fed?" Charity grumbles.

"We're guests. We're more important," Debbie says, brandishing her own toast.

"And I can't be late for school," Noah tells her, pretending to be confused about where Johnny's hidden the truck they're playing with.

"I made my own before you even surfaced," Chas puts in. She points around the room. "These all belong to you. You're entitled to make them breakfast once in a while."

Charity lets out a long-suffering sigh and Vanessa laughs.

"Awwww, you can have a bite of mine if you're wasting away," she says, holding out her half eaten slice of toast.

Charity grins and slinks over to where Vanessa's sitting, moving into the space between her legs and taking a bite of the toast. She keeps her eyes locked on Vanessa's as she chews.

"D'you mind?" Debbie says, scrunching up her face. "People are trying to eat here."

"And there's kids present," Noah says, covering Johnny's eyes.

"Oh, shut up, the lot of you," Charity says, turning to face them, but not moving from her place. Vanessa wraps her arms around Charity from behind, resting her chin on her shoulder. "He's seen a lot worse than this, let me tell you!"

"Charity!" Vanessa scolds, shoving the toast back into Charity's mouth in an attempt to shut her up.

"That poor child," Debbie laments, shaking her head. "Emotionally traumatised already."

"My friends' Grannies don't do this stuff," Sarah comments.

"When is it you get too old for all this?" Noah asks. "Is it soon? It must be soon, right?"

In the indignant clamour that follows , Chas takes a moment just to observe them. How at ease they all are with each other. How at home Charity looks wrapped in Vanessa's arms. How Vanessa and Johnny seem to have been the missing pieces that completed Charity's endlessly complicated jigsaw of a life.

She smiles and shakes her head as she gets up to put her cup in the sink."Your toast'll burn," she murmurs, as she passes Charity.

Charity makes no attempt to move from where she is.

Part 6

Return to Emmerdale Fiction

Return to Main Page