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Vanity bits and bobs
By thegirl20



Having called the Vets and coaxed Pearl to tell her Vanessa's whereabouts, Charity Dingle finds herself driving up an endless dirt track full of potholes and puddles. Not for the first time, she asks herself when she became the type of person who thinks to bring someone a flask of soup just because it's a bit parky outside. She rolls her eyes. She knows the answer to that question; when she allowed Vanessa bloody Woodfield to inveigle her way into her heart, that's when.

Spying the familiar blue Beetle parked by one of the barns, she draws to a halt beside it. Just at that, Vanessa comes out of the barn door, dressed in those ridiculous green overalls that she somehow manages to make look sexy. Charity leans down and grabs the flask she brought, just as Vanessa catches sight of her car and grins.

The wind is strong and she has to fight with the car door to get out, but finally manages it as Vanessa arrives beside her.

"To what do I owe this unexpected pleasure?" Vanessa asks, briefly going up on her toes to press a kiss to Charity's cheek. "Everything okay?"

"Everything's fine, except the smell up here." Charity's nose wrinkles. She thrusts the flask at Vanessa. "Marlon had made that soup you like and I thought you might like some, you know, on account of it being brass monkeys."

Vanessa's smile is enough to chase away the cold that's seeping into her bones from standing in a gale force wind. "You-" Vanessa points at Charity. "-are a lifesaver. I was literally just thinking of nipping back into the village to get something warm to eat, but I'm way behind with this worming and that would've put me even further behind." She tilts her head. "Thank you."

Charity rolls her eyes. "Whatever. It's nothing exciting. S'just soup." When Vanessa continues just to stand and look at her with a dopey smile on her face, Charity pulls her scarf tighter around her and nods to the barn. "D'you think we could maybe get in out of this wind, babe?"

"Oh! 'Course," Vanessa says, linking her arm through Charity's. "C'mon."

They're almost at the barn door when Vanessa freezes, pulling Charity to a stop with her. Charity turns to look at her. "What's wrong?"

Vanessa's whole face scrunches up. "Uh, on second thought, maybe a barn isn't the most hygienic place to have lunch? Let's sit in one of the cars, eh? Yeah." She tries to tug Charity back the way they'd come.

"Don't be daft, I'm only staying a minute," she says. "I just don't want my head blown off in the meantime." She tries to pull Vanessa to the barn, but she won't budge. Charity frowns, slipping her arm out of Vanessa's hold. "What've you got in here that you don't want me to see, eh?" She walks backwards to the door, eyes wide. "Will I find Northam with his kecks around his ankles?"

"Oh, Charity, as if!" Vanessa's nose wrinkles in distaste. "He's seventy if he's a day."

Reaching the door, Charity yanks it open and hears Vanessa's sigh and then her footsteps, indicating that she's following. The barn is warm and not all that much more smelly than the outside. Some of the cows in the nearest pen shift and moo at her arrival, but soon quieten down. But it's one cow in particular that catches her attention. It's in a pen all on its own, lying down in the straw. She approaches it slowly.

"Vanessa...is that-" On the cow's head is a bright pink bra, one of the cups is covering an eye, the other is cut out to let it see. She turns back to find Vanessa biting her lip. She points to the cow. "Is that my favourite bra?"

Vanessa hugs the flask to her chest, eyebrows tilted in concern. "Look, don't go mad. I had to improvise earlier when Destiny got hurt and that was in the glove compartment of my car from when we-" Vanessa flushes a deep red. "You know...that day we-"

"I know what day you're talking about!" Charity almost bellows, frightening some of the animals. She points back at the injured cow. "You didn't have any bandages in that massive bag you lug around with you? My very expensive bra was the only thing that would work?"

"It just...it was the right size and I-"

"The right size?" Charity plants her hands on her hips. "Well. Now I don't need to bother getting measured, eh? I'll just tell the shop assistant that I need a cow-sized bra, shall I?"

Vanessa rolls her eyes, finally opening the flask and pouring a cupful. "You're overreacting. You've got dozens of bras and you look amazing in all of them." She hands the cup of soup to Charity, who accepts it without thinking. She looks down at it, confused, before looking back at Vanessa.

"I brought this for you," she says, unsettled at having the wind taken out of her rant by Vanessa's compliment and now her generosity.

Holding up the flask itself, Vanessa smiles. "I'll swig it straight from here. Your hands have gone blue so I thought holding that might warm them up."

Charity's heart melts a little and she wiggles her eyebrows. "I could think of better ways to w-" She frowns at herself. "No. We're not doing the cute flirting thing. I'm still annoyed about the bra." She sticks her bottom lip out.

Vanessa sighs and rolls her eyes again, walking over to stand beside Charity. "I'll buy you a new one. I'll buy you two new ones. Deal?"

Making a show of thinking about it, Charity finally smiles. "That sounds fair." She slips her arm through Vanessa's again, and they both sip their soup in silence. Something about their conversation hasn't been sitting well with Charity and it pops back into her head.

"Wait. Did you say that cow was called Destiny?" she asks and she feels Vanessa tense up a little.


"So, not only has she ended up wearing my favourite bra," she begins, narrowing her eyes at the cow in question. "She's also the one that kicked you in the head and nearly killed you?"

"She didn't mean it," Vanessa says, squeezing Charity's arm and looking up at her with big, imploring eyes. "And the bra thing's hardly her fault, is it?"

"Hmmm," Charity remains unconvinced. "I hate that bloody cow."

Part 7

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