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one foot in and one foot back

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Kristen sits in her car, in Charlize's driveway, wearing Charlize's flip-flops and Rob's boxers that he left at her place, like, three years ago, and wonders what the fuck she's doing.

On-set hookups are supposed to stay on-set. Unless they morph into unholy alliances designed to preserve sanity and provide coverage for their actual lives, like her and Rob. She should call him. He still has most of her Vonnegut and she has his copy of Fight Club. And his boxers.

The point is, she shouldn't be in Charlize's driveway, because this is the kind of behavior she swore she was not going to indulge in. They hooked up. They had amazing sex. She broke two vibrators trying to live up to that sex between filming and the press tour. They hooked up some more. Now they should be done.

She's sitting in Charlize's driveway. Wearing Charlize's shoes, because she wore them home after the last time she came over. Because she comes over here regularly. Even though they're done filming and promoting. Which she is not supposed to do.

She puts her head down on the steering wheel. "Fuck."

Chris told her this would happen. He said she was smitten. She's going to kill Chris. Beat him to death with a fucking hammer, for the irony.

Her phone buzzes against her thigh, and after a minute she looks at it.

Are you going to sit out there all day or are you going to come in? the text message asks, under the totally not discreet contact "C." Jackson's up from his nap and we're going to have graham crackers.

Jackson gumming at graham crackers is seriously fucking cute. Kristen shoves the phone in her pocket and goes inside.

**

Charlize gives her a glass of apple juice, too. It's not in a sippy cup, thank God, but Charlize's little smile when she hands it over says it might have been. "Glad you decided to come in."

"I was waiting for a song to finish." That sounds defensive and stupid. Awesome. Jackson holds his arms out to her and she scoops him up, settling him on her hip. "Hey, little J."

He fists his hands in her tank top and mouths at her arm, staring up at her with wide eyes. He's heavy, and she kind of wants to put him down again already, but he likes her and Charlize gets a kick out of Kristen holding him. And he's quieter this way. "What have you guys been up to today?"

"Not much." Charlize wearing this silky teal robe that floats around her as she moves around the kitchen. She's like some kind of fucking flawless domestic goddess and Kristen can't even fucking deal with it. She looks down at Jackson, instead, who has given up on mouthing her arm and is resting his chin on her right tit instead, staring off into space. "Nice quiet day."

"Awesome."

"What about you?"

She slept until eleven-thirty, watched two episodes of Storage Wars, and then drove over here against her own better judgment because she missed the way Charlize's stupid sheets smell. And her hair. Her hair smells fucking amazing. "Pretty quiet, too."

Charlize smiles at her and brings the box of graham crackers over, which makes Jackson spasm in Kristen's arm and wave his hands at the table. She puts him back in his high chair and gratefully moves around the table to sit on the opposite side. "Any plans for the rest of the day...?"

"Nope." Charlize breaks a cracker in half and holds it to Jackson's mouth. His eyes just about roll back in his head as he grabs at it and starts gumming away. It's disgusting and awful and adorable. Kristen hates herself for being mesmerized by it. "You?"

She's supposed to go to the gym and run five million miles or something. "Nope."

"You want to hang out, then?"

"I guess. You know. If that's cool."

Charlize laughs softly, and Kristen looks away from her to drink her juice. She's pretty sure Charlize totally has her number--okay, she knows Charlize does, she fucking told her so the first night of press, when Kristen crawled back into her bed like a fucking puppy--and it drives her absolutely fucking crazy.

"It's cool. We'll have fun. We can go sit by the pool, maybe. Let Jackson splash around."

"You're still doing the baby aquarobics stuff?" She still can't say that with a straight face. Her cheek twitches and she has to bite her tongue really hard.

"Oh yeah. He loves it." Charlize feeds Jackson another cracker and studies Kristen with a thoughtful eye. "I've got some new samples from Dior, too, if you want to try on some dresses."

"I don't have any press coming up."

"You can also wear them just for fun."

Kristen totally believes that Charlize sometimes lounges around her house in Dior and Lanvin. She makes a face and eats her own crackers, washing them down with the juice and feeling about as stupidly content as Jackson looks. It's a clenchy heat in the pit of her stomach, but in a different place than being turned on.

"More dresses for me," Charlize says cheerfully. Kristen can tell she really isn't annoyed, because Charlize has some kind of fucking non-passive-aggressive superpower. Kristen has, like, the opposite superpower, where she can make people uncomfortable enough to do what she wants them to do by sitting and staring at them for a while. And writing a large check.

Charlize scoops up Jackson and kisses the top of his head. "You can give me a pedicure instead," she says brightly, carrying him out of the room. "We're doing a diaper change, meet you poolside in ten."

**

Kristen doesn't keep a suit at Charlize's house, for the obvious reason that she is not supposed to be here, and the fence around Charlize's pool could keep out a herd of dinosaurs, so the poolside lounging dress code is topless and Rob's boxers.

She stretches out on her stomach on one of the lounge chairs and lets the sun hammer at her back, watching over the tops of her sunglasses as Charlize and Jackson aquarobic back and forth across the pool. Jackson gets to wear little rubber pants and ride in a floaty device. That seems like cheating.

Charlize is wearing a white swimsuit that goes all see-through over her nipples. Kristen mostly stares at those and thinks about how if Jackson falls asleep again after swimming, she can paint Charlize's nails and then eat her out here on the patio.

If Jackson stays awake it's all fucked. Kristen can't have sex with the baby watching. It's creepy. She won't have sex with dogs watching, either. Or cats. Cats are the creepiest of all. (She explained this all to Charlize one night during filming when they were half in the bag on terrible cheap wine they had no excuse for drinking. Charlize laughed a lot and tangled her fingers in Kristen's hair and told her she was beautifully earnest and sparklingly self-conscious and they ended up fucking each other in Kristen's room with the TV turned up loudly so Chris wouldn't overhear from next door.)

Rob didn't think it was creepy, but Rob's opinions on creepy are not to be taken seriously. She rests her forehead against her arm, shielding her face from the light and just listening to the water splashing, Charlize baby-talking, Jackson giggling. Very cute. Very nice.

This is not her life, but she doesn't want to go home. She doesn't know what to do with that.

**

Jackson doesn't fall asleep. He gets overheated and fussy and they all end up sitting in the living room and watching some terrifying cartoon while he calms down. Kristen slumps in the armchair and texts with Rob and Dakota. Neither of them are in town, which sucks. Except not really, because if she had an excuse to leave, she probably would, and then she'd feel like a bitch.

"Hey."

She looks up and realizes the TV is off, Jackson's nowhere to be seen, and Charlize is standing by her chair with her tired, pretty smile, the one where she isn't reflexively holding her chin at a good angle for cameras, the one where all those little lines feather at the corners of her eyes.

"Did J go to bed?" she asks stupidly, still holding on to her phone, her eyes kind of stuck on how Charlize's hair is shoved back behind her ears in messy uneven bunches.

"Yeah. Poor little guy. We had a busy day yesterday, I should've realized he needed more of a break today." Charlize sighs and shrugs dropping down onto the couch. "I guess I'm still not very good at this mom thing."

That's an awkward hint for reassurance. Kristen doesn't really have any to give. She can't even take care of a plant, and she's tried. "You're fine."

Charlize flashes her a quick, close-lipped smile, and Kristen's pretty sure that's her reading Kristen's mind all over again. Predictable. "I'm new. I'll get better, with any luck."

"Sure." She sets her phone on the table and sits up. "You still want your nails done?"

"No. But you should come over here and sit with me."

Kristen ducks her head and grins. "You want to cuddle."

"I do, but I know how you feel about that word." Charlize sticks her tongue out at her. "I'm accommodating your preferences, brat."

"And then you insult me."

"Give me a spanking later. Right now come here."

She keeps dropping those hints about spanking. At some point Kristen's going to take her up on it. She moves over to the couch and makes a face at her, biting down on her lip to keep from saying anything stupid.

"You're such a doll," Charlize says, cupping Kristen's face in her hands, and Kristen doesn't really know how she means that, or how to feel about it, but then Charlize is kissing her and maybe she just doesn't want to care.