Charlie sat on the ledge of an upstairs window, one foot in the other swinging against the side of the old house they had been waiting in, marking time with the tap of her foot against the old wooden siding. It was a peaceful outlook. Over grown lawns and old trees, the remnants of an old flower bed and vegetables long gone to seed. Everything dusty and old.
Downstairs she could hear the regular tap of footsteps on worn boards. Bass. Pacing the floor below. She swung her leg back into the room and made her way down.
Miles and Rachel were sitting at the table in the kitchen. Her mother was scribbling in her notebook and talking pressingly at Miles. God love him, he was making a valiant effort of looking interested, though she knew he had about a fifteen minute limit on listening to this kind of talk. Miles would rather be swinging a sword and drinking a whisky, anything really except following Rachel's crazy intellect around the houses of nanotech, patriots and Aaron's dead people. All bets would have him desperately wanting to get away.
Bass walked by the kitchen door at the same time Charlie came downstairs. The three of them exchanged looks. Charlie and Bass smiled slightly at Miles who was looking trapped and uneasy. Ducking their smiles away from Rachel, Charlie followed Bass out the back door and into the late hot summer afternoon.
Outside Bass continued to pace and move about the small space they had cleared around the back door. Jumpy and twitchy as ever. A man made of slightly manic bluster – he is no good at calm. He gestured at Charlie with a tip of his shoulder and looked at the kitchen where they could just see Miles sitting talking to Rachel as if trying to calm her.
'He's starting to look desperate.'
'Hmm, better him than me' Charlie agreed. When it came to spending time with Rachel Charlie was firm believer in every man for himself.
She leaned against the side of the house and let herself slide down the wall until she is sitting. Pulling her knees up to her chest and chewing on a strand of hair she allows her eyes to linger on Bass' broad back. He knows she's looking.
The door of the kitchen bursts open and Miles steams out, fanning himself by pulling his shirt away from his body.
Charlie and Bass turn, smiling at him.
'Um... yes' he says ' Not sure how much more of that I can take... Not really my thing...'
The three of them laugh quietly. Guiltily. It's not really any of their thing actually.
“Well, come on the let’s do something' Bass urges.
'Do what Bass?' ask Miles mockingly. He's right. There is really nothing much to do and they are starting to get crazy. Crazier.
Miles thumps against the wall by Charlie and slides down near to her.
Over the long days stuck in this house waiting for information and a signal to move, Charlie has see the thread of friendship between Miles and Bass start to come back. Miles has relaxed a little. Maybe made some room in his life again for his old friend. And Bass. Bass is irreverent, game and quick-witted. He'll say anything for the laugh.
Charlie can see Miles is reluctant to give in to him, but he can't really help it. Bass' wicked humour has been antidote to the dourness of Rachel and Aaron's soul-searching, problem solving intellect and Gene's hollow eyed guilt. She can see Miles thawing. Every day they find some excuse to spend their time together and Charlie is always included. A little band of three. They have hunted and cooked food, sharpened weapons, searched through the house and grounds and volunteered to do unnecessary late night watches. In one of his restless wandering Bass found an old dart board and darts in the attic and for a few days they played an increasingly complicated byzantine game of darts, arguing loudly about the rules, cursing each other with loud accusations of cheating until the day before Charlie had stormed off vowing loudly to never play darts with 'fucking cheating Miles' ever again. Bass laughing weakly as she brushed past him, clutching his aching stomach. None of them having laughed properly for so long their muscles are unused to it. It is a strange truce that has developed between them. It relies solely on them being able to stay focussed on the present. It has become important to them all.
Bass slides down the wall next to Charlie. Close to her and right in her space really and he smiles that terrible wide smile. The look on his face saying he is bored, looking for trouble. Try as she might she can't help smiling back. His eyes dip to her mouth. He is bored. Bass at his most unpredictable.
He looks right at her and the casts his eye beyond her where Miles is sitting a couple of yards away, keeping a distracted eye on the door to the kitchen. Miles is talking about nothing much, talking for the sake of talking, something Charlie has noticed he does when he lets his guard down with Bass. Usually so taciturn, Miles chattering away has been surprise to say the least.
Bass has positioned himself so close to Charlie that the long hard length of his thigh is now pressed against hers. She sends him a 'what are you doing?' look and glances towards Miles. But Miles is.... well... miles away. She could strip naked and run round the house and he would barely look up.
Bass looks down at her breasts. Running a thorough eye over them, her nipples harden traitorously. She can see his eyes flicker with interest. Braless today because she has taken advantage of the hot weather to wash everything she owns.
Charlie crosses her arms across her chest to cover her hard nipples poking through the threadbare tank she is wearing, forcing the tops of her boobs to push up, almost spilling out the top of her shirt. Bass splutters a little and presses his thigh closer to hers. Charlie looks at him, questions in her eyes. He clears his throat but says nothing, instead crossing his arms and leaning in towards his knees so his left hand is resting incredibly close to the soft curve of her left breast.
Stretching the last inch to touching her he flicks his eyes, nodding at Miles, pretending to listen.. Truthfully neither Bass or Charlie have heard a word he has said.
She leans forward, shaking her hair forward over her shoulder and down her front shielding them from Miles eyes with the sweep of her long hair. Even if Miles were to all of a sudden stop rambling on and pay attention to them he wouldn't see much. Bass is surprised. The last thing he expected was Charlie to join in so easily... the boredom must be getting to her too. It was true that they were neither of them much good at staying still.
Charlie shifts slightly closer, answering a question that Miles has had to ask twice. She leans closer still, giving Bass access to her nipple. He reaches in circling her nipple, rolling it as it plumps and firms between his finger and thumb. Letting go earns him an annoyed little 'humph' from Charlie. He palms the whole of her breast, testing the weight of it in his hand, watching a delicious little shiver travel down Charlie's body followed by her squirming slightly against her suddenly too tight jeans. He scrapes his nail against the soft bud and she feels the ache all the way to her fingers.
Miles has stopped talking. Looking up they see him looking expectantly at them both and Bass quickly removes his hand.
'Christ... haven’t you two been listening to a word I have been saying?' Miles looks offended.
'No' says Bass, unrepentant. 'Not a word'.
Miles pushes up from the wall and walks off, muttering discontent. Over his shoulder he says
'Fuck, between Rachel rabbiting on about the nanotech in the kitchen and you two out here it has just been a great day for conversation' Miles says. He looks at them, disappointed. In the kitchen Aaron and Rachel are talking about dinner and Gene wanders past an open window.
Charlie and Bass say nothing as Miles walks off. When Charlie finally gather the courage up to look at Bass he is watching her and smiling that wide open smile again.
“Soooooooooooo' he says drawing out the word for an age and watching the play of emotions across her face, counting the freckles on her nose. Eleven.
Charlie says nothing. She just blows the hair out of her face. Looking ahead.
'It seems like you might just be as bored as I am..... Charlotte.' drawing out her name as well. Making it last forever.
She looks at him, weighing it all up.
'Bored?' she asks.
He leans in. Whispers hot breath into her neck. 'Maybe bored is the wrong word...'
She turns at looks at him. They are very close, eyes tangled together.
'I'm not feeling bored at all. Not right now' She says.
'Later... we could?' He says, asks.
'Yes.. we could..'
Yes?' he is all surprise.