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You don't have to go home (But you can't stay here)
When Vanessa was a student, she was pretty famous for her ability to drink copious amounts and then be bright as a button the following day. Rhona used to hate her for it. However, at some point, age has stripped her of the ability to bounce back quite as quickly. So she's pretty sure today is going to be a write off, given that she has no idea how much she drank and no idea how she got home. The dull pounding in her head is gradually building its way to a crescendo and she's going to need some painkillers soon. The thought of moving, though, is not a pleasant one because the contents of her stomach are already lurching uncomfortably.
A quick assessment of her situation tells her that she's wearing a pair of pyjama bottoms and a t-shirt, so she managed to get changed, at least. And she's in her own bed. Both are positive signs after a night on the piss.
A snort and a string of unintelligible muttering comes from behind her and her heart starts to speed up, a smile spreading over dry lips. Taking a chance, she opens her eyes and then immediately shuts them again against the light from the window. She slowly turns herself over, trying not to make whatever's in her stomach slosh around too much, and opens her eyes again. This time, the sight awaiting her is much more pleasant than blinding sunshine.
Charity's lying facing her, hair wild and strewn all over the pillow, snoring gently every few breaths. Vanessa's throat tightens with emotion. Even though she was likely a drunk, emotional wreck, Charity stayed. She reaches over, gently shifting some of Charity's hair out of her face. She traces the line of her cheekbone with her finger, along underneath her eye and down her jaw to her chin. Part of her wants to just lie and look at Charity sleeping, but another part of her wants to look into those eyes.
"So," Charity mumbles, making Vanessa jump. "Not only did you keep me up half the night with your drunken rambling, but now you're waking me up at the crack of dawn by poking me in the face?"
"Sorry," Vanessa says, her voice containing a little more gravel than usual. She pokes Charity's nose, causing her eyes to open and a hand to swipe at Vanessa's, pushing it away from her face.
"You don't sound near sorry enough." Charity rubs her eyes. "Time's it anyway?"
"Dunno." Vanessa flings her left arm out towards Charity. "The sun's too bright and my eyes are too blurry."
Charity picks up her arm and twists her wrist to see her watch, letting out a groan before she drops it back to the bed. "It's not even seven. On a bloody Saturday."
"I don't feel great," Vanessa says, inching closer to Charity until she can cuddle up to her, wrapping both arms around one of Charity's.
"I'm not surprised, cupcake. You drank enough to floor a rugby team," Charity says, shaking her arm loose and wrapping it around Vanessa's shoulders instead, urging her closer. Vanessa shifts and lays her head on Charity's shoulder, feeling the nausea in her stomach recede just slightly. She hums in contentment and closes her eyes. "There's water and a couple of aspirin for you by the bed there."
Vanessa smiles at the way Charity drops that in, so casually, as if it's not the most thoughtful thing in the whole world. She slides her hand over Charity's belly to her opposite hip, pulling her closer. "Thank you. I'll get them in a sec." A vague memory prods the back of her mind and she frowns, lifting her head to look down at Charity. "Did I...was I yelling about something last night?" Her eyes grow wide. "I wasn't yelling at you, was I?"
Grinning, Charity shakes her head. "I managed to escape your wrath, somehow," she says, before widening her eyes. "And I'm glad of that because you're bloody terrifying when you get going."
Vanessa shakes her. "Who was I yelling at?" She tries to remember but the night is just a series of snippets; flashes of faces and words that don't fit together.
"Paddy, mostly." Charity yawns, twisting her neck from side to side and grimacing. She reaches up to sweep Vanessa's hair aside. "Your dad got it in the neck at one point an'all."
"My dad? Why was I yelling at my dad?" She's not bothered about Paddy.
"Oh, he made the mistake of saying you were pretty. You went on a rant about how that wasn't going to get you a job." Charity smiles. "It was about then that Chas strongly suggested I get you out of her sight."
Vanessa sighs and collapses back down onto Charity's shoulder, rubbing her cheek against it. "Well, I'm glad I never yelled at you."
"No. I was treated to the comedy and tragedy portions of the evening." Charity's nails scratch lightly at her scalp and she can't decide if it's nice or if it's making her head hurt more. "For example, for the whole walk here you decided you were gonna do an impersonation of Bernice. Which was a, terrible and b, for no purpose that I could work out."
"Oh God," Vanessa groans. "I can't even imagine."
"Probably best if you don't, to be honest," Charity says. "You kept trying to get me to 'do Moira' as well. What's that all about, eh? Got a thing for Scottish birds, have you?"
Vanessa slaps her stomach lightly in reproach. "I just think you're funny when you do it."
"Aye, aye. So ye say," Charity says, in her 'Moira' voice and Vanessa smiles. "Anyway, once I'd managed to get you through the door, you turned to me with them big watery Disney princess eyes and told me I should dump you and find a better girlfriend. Which resulted in ten minutes of you crying and begging me not to leave you for Tracy."
Vanessa rolls over so she's facing away from Charity, covering her face with her hands. "Oh God. I am so sorry."
"You don't really worry about that kind of thing, do you?" Charity asks, sliding closer behind her and laying a hand on her her waist. "I mean, you don't think I'm looking over your shoulder for some younger, fitter model or anything?"
Frowning, Vanessa whips her head around to pin Charity with her eyes. "Fitter? You think Tracy's fitter than me?"
Charity rolls her eyes. "No, babe, I don't. But that's what you were saying last night." She launches into a parody of Vanessa's accent. "'Well she's single now, i'n't she? And she's younger and fitter with no stretch marks. And the two of you have sooooo much in common.'"
"Jesus. Sorry." Vanessa closes her eyes again, her headache starting to thud harder. "I...I think all this stuff with my job is, you know, just making me a bit-"
"Ridiculous?" Charity suggests. "Mental?"
"Insecure," Vanessa finishes.
"Yeah, I'm getting that," Charity says with a half smile. "But I don't know how many more ways I can tell you that I'm-"
"Going nowhere." Vanessa nods, unable to stop herself from smiling. "I know. And you don't have to keep telling me. I...I do believe you. Yesterday was just…"
"Yeah, I know." Charity nods and urges Vanessa closer, wrapping both arms around her when she scoots over.
Vanessa sighs into the fabric covering Charity's shoulder, trying to focus on the present rather than the past.
"What are you wearing, by the way?" she mumbles.
A laugh rumbles through Charity's chest. "Well, currently I am wearing a t-shirt that is a size 3XL and says 'Ain't no party like an S Club Party' on it." She pokes Vanessa in the side, reminding her that her stomach still isn't great. "Why does this garment exist and why is it in your drawer?"
"I bought it at a concert years ago," Vanessa says, lifting her head to try and get a look at Charity in the abomination of an item of clothing. "I was drunk and asked for the wrong size."
Charity tilts her head in question. "Weren't you a bit old to be going to S Club 7 concerts?"
Plucking at the t-shirt, Vanessa shrugs. "I was a student. It was ironic. Or something. I can't remember." She drops her head back to the pillow and groans. Everything still hurts. She moves closer to Charity again, because touching her seems to be the only thing that soothes her.
"Questionable taste in music aside," Charity begins, and there's a shift in her voice that tells Vanessa there's something more serious coming. "Are we done with the getting plastered every night thing?" She gently pushes some of Vanessa's hair behind her ear. "Because, yeah, it's understandable, babe. But you're not gonna find a solution to your job problem at the bottom of one of those many wine bottles Chas'll have to chuck in the recycling this morning. And, if you're not careful, the wine'll become part of the problem, yeah?"
Turning her head, Vanessa places a chaste kiss on Charity's shoulder before pulling back to look in her eyes. "I appreciate the intervention," she says, holding up a hand when Charity goes to interject. "No, seriously, I do appreciate the concern. And I will stop getting plastered, I promise." She winces. "If only to avoid the hangovers."
"I did tell you twenty minutes ago that there's two aspirin not three feet away from you."
"Yeah, I'll get them in a minute," Vanessa says. "I'm just warm and comfy. And glad you stayed over, even when I was a total drunken mess."
"S'how we got started, wasn't it?" Charity says. "You being a drunken mess?"
Vanessa smiles. "True."
"And I...you know. I feel partly responsible for you being a drunken mess." Her eyes drop to the duvet, and she toys with a loose thread on the seam. "This whole thing with the drugs and that. I...I distracted you that day. If I hadn't coaxed you int-"
"And if I hadn't come over to the pub instead of going straight to the farm," Vanessa interrupts, shaking her head. "Or if I hadn't opened my bag. Or if I'd left the bag in the car. Or if I'd noticed there were two other people in the room. There are a million 'ifs' and none of them will change anything." She covers Charity's hand, squeezing her fingers. "I'm a big girl, Charity. I could've said no."
Charity purses her lips and lowers her eyebrows. "Could you, though?"
A laugh bursts out of Vanessa's mouth and she shoves Charity's shoulder. "Yes, actually." She pauses to consider that. "Well, sometimes. When you're being a smug cow, for instance. Like right now."
"Oh, I'm not offering anything right now," Charity is quick to tell her. "Your mouth must be like the bottom of a budgie's cage."
Vanessa smacks lips, her tongue sticking briefly to the roof of her mouth. "Yeah, that's pretty accurate, to be fair."
Charity nods, lifting a hand to Vanessa's face and brushing her fingers over her cheek so gently that it makes Vanessa's chest clench. "Well then, how about you pop those aspirin and then go and have a shower and brush your teeth, eh? You might feel a bit more human." She smiles. "And when you've done that, I'll give you a right good snog, and then I'll take you to Bob's and get you a fry up."
Vanessa wrinkles her nose. "Only some of those things sound appealing right now."
"I won't press you on which ones," Charity says, leaning down and placing a soft, long kiss on her cheek. "Now, I'm gonna get up and make us a brew. And I want you to try not to swoon when you see me in this sexy outfit, right?"
Laughing, Vanessa shakes her head. "I'll try and control myself."
Charity raises her eyebrows and throws back the covers, sitting up and winking at Vanessa over her shoulder before standing. The t-shirt comes to mid-thigh and is completely shapeless, hanging off one shoulder. She starts to walk, swinging her hips in an exaggerated fashion like a catwalk model. It's amongst the sexiest things Vanessa's ever seen and, despite the hangover, she can feel her body stir and react.
"Charity," she calls after her, turning onto her front and leaning on her elbows. Charity stops in the doorway and turns to face her, waiting. "If I promise to brush my teeth first, will you join me in the shower?"
Rolling her eyes, Charity can't quite hide her smile. "Oh, go on then. You've twisted my arm."
Vanessa smiles, slowly shuffling to the edge of the bed. She takes the couple of aspirin and a swig of water, which is vaguely warm from sitting out all night. She looks back at Charity, still lounging in the doorway. She loves this woman. And one day soon, she'll tell her that.
One day very soon.
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