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Pomegranate Seeds

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It started with the sofa.

Depending on who sat down first, the second ended up playing the role of fidget. A lap that could end up full of stockings to mend or a script to be read or a newspaper was instead filled with a head of soft, pettable, brushable hair, and the one being petted would either be reading or listening to the wireless or falling asleep. Peggy never intended to get physically affectionate, but Angie never intended not to, so Peggy found it happening to her almost by accident, and when Angie went to bed early or read her lines to the mirror or while pacing instead, Peggy found that she missed it.

When Angie happened to sit down first, Peggy gave it one curious attempt and discovered that Angie’s gentle hands in her hair were the ultimate ward against tension headaches, and from then on, it was equally as likely for her to be the second one on the sofa as the first.

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Breakfast at five in the morning was the default for both of them. Scones were Mister Jarvis’s contribution, but Angie never made a peep and didn’t make the mistake of calling them biscuits even one time. Clotted cream wasn’t happening, but the jam changed flavors every week, and at first Peggy didn’t notice, but then she did, and the newspaper became less and less likely to appear before nine in the morning as Angie tried to blink and flirt her way through her coffee. She was even chattier at dinner than she was at breakfast, her eyes opening wide every time she related to Peggy the antics of some particular jerk at the diner or a nutty casting director.

When Peggy stopped dropping her eyes to laugh, Angie’s giggling would get louder, until they were echoing off each other and ended up rushing out every door.

It was after a two in the morning snack that Peggy first forgot herself and left a lipstick print on Angie’s freshly washed cheek. She caught Angie lightly touching it from the corner of her eye, and was quietly, smugly pleased at the contrast of red on light pink flush.

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Bedrooms were equally open to different possibilities. Angie’s bed had a brass frame and her window faced north, friendlier to restraint and more consistent light for daytime activities. Peggy’s bed was bigger, and better situated to hear even the most minor of downstairs sounds, and thus better suited to cuddling, midnight snacks, and sleeping together. Goodnight kisses happened in the hallway between, and the way Angie would reach for her nightgown and pull her closer prompted Peggy to cup Angie’s face in her palms and put Angie exactly where she wanted her to be.

The first time Angie reacted to being redirected by nipping at Peggy’s lip, Angie’s eyes opened to Peggy’s eyes blown wide and dark, Peggy’s tongue tracing the path of Angie’s teeth.

“I ain’t getting much sleep tonight, am I, English?” Angie asked, grinning, slow and sly.

“That depends,” Peggy said. “Are you going to keep pressing, or was that a taunt?”

“I guess we’re going to my room, then,” Angie said, pulling Peggy in that direction by her gown. “Took me thirty minutes to pin up my hair.”


 

Peggy found herself grazing her wrists with her fingertips the whole next day at the office and trying not to smile at how eager she was to go home.

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Something about Angie’s pulse points called out to Peggy’s nose and mouth. She would never have pictured English for a nuzzler, but Peggy was, she truly was, she rubbed the tip of her nose into the hollow behind Angie’s ears and sighed, whether or not she’s wearing perfume. She kissed the insides of Angie’s wrists with reverence on her face, her lashes lowered and lips parted, she breathed her in and sighed, and sighed, and sighed.

It made Angie blush, heart fluttering, and knees feeling a little weak. Angie’s fingers curled in just-so, not quite trembling, and her lips pressed together and then parted.

“Why do you keep doing that, English?” Angie asked, watching Peggy nibble the inside of her elbow. It was making Angie’s nipples hard and she didn’t even really understand why.

“You smell delightful,” Peggy mumbled, crimson lips warm against Angie’s skin.

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Angie thought the telephone company being a cover for a spy network was fascinating.

She had so many fantasies, back when Peggy was still lying, mental images of her as one of those supervising operators in roller skates with a clipboard, hovering over the back of other ladies, lightly resting a hand on their shoulders while radiating that air Angie thought she had of calm, reassuring competence.

Angie loved Peggy’s suits, her steady, practical heels, the way her hair curled gently against her neck and framed her face like mahogany around a picture. It was weeks before she realized she’d never actually seen Peggy pick up a phone. When it rang, it was always Mister Jarvis or herself that answered.

Angie cradled the phone between her ear and shoulder as she took notes and asked questions about her latest casting call, and Peggy, knowing Mister Jarvis was likely in his own section of the mansion with his wife, sidled up behind her and rested her chin on Angie’s shoulder, her hand creeping along Angie’s belly until it got swatted and Peggy chuckled.

“You know, English,” Angie said, replacing the telephone in the cradle and giving Peggy a feigned reproachful look. “Every time I’m immobile isn’t really an invitation for your wandering hands.”

“You’re the one who’s given me that impression,” Peggy said archly, kissing the end of Angie’s nose.

“Like a cat on a countertop,” Angie complained, wrapping her arms around Peggy’s waist. “And how come you don’t ever answer the phone?”

“The list of people I care to speak to when I’m not at work is very short,” Peggy said. “And the list of people I care to speak to at work is even shorter.”

Angie snorted, sliding her hands down the back of Peggy’s skirt and squeezing her ass. “Yeah, that’s fair enough. How are the girls in the phone company? They treat you okay?”

“They’re lovely,” Peggy said, pressing closer. “What made you think of that?”

“Silly story,” Angie said, shrugging, giving Peggy’s ass another squeeze. “Anyway, can you roller skate?”

Peggy tilted her head to the side in confusion, and Angie laughed.

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Peggy and Mister Jarvis drank tea like water. They were a bit surprised at how quickly Angie adapted to it, the ease with which she accepted the sitting kettle on at all hours of the day and night. She’d sit with her cup, usually drinking absently, when she was working on a script or listening to the wireless or reading a book. Angie was especially partial to it on days when it was rainy out, cold and wet, and she needed to be warmed from the inside out.

“You make excellent coffee,” Peggy said, sipping her tea, “But I never see you drink it anymore.”

“Smells like work,” Angie explained, wrinkling her nose. “I barely taste the stuff. Besides, you two taught me how to make proper tea, now I’ve got a taste for it.”

Peggy nodded. “Perfectly sensible.”

“Do you ever feel yourself starting to get used to it?” Angie asked her, flexing her fingers around her teacup. “Lemon, sugar, milk, coffee, tea, whenever you want it?”

“After rationing? Does feel a bit too good to be true, sometimes,” Peggy agreed, her voice softening. “I don’t miss Army coffee, though. Frightful stuff. The worst chicory you ever had in your life is nothing on it. Rank poison. Like drinking horrible black mud.”

“Wish I had some,” Angie said slyly. “Serve it to some of the jerks think it’s all right to grab my ass.”

“Poison’s too good for them,” Peggy said.

“I’m very selective about who’s allowed,” Angie agreed, winking at her over her teacup.

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Angie had a pair of pale orange hand-sewn knickers with rippling pleats and ruffles that sat scandalously high on her thighs. The edges were trimmed with white lace. The pleats reminded Peggy of madeleines, and she only felt slightly guilty when she asked Mister Jarvis if he knew where to find them.

Her guilt was mostly dissolved at the sight of Angie on her bed, laying on her stomach in those pretty orange knickers, topless, nibbling on them as she contemplated a pattern book and swung her crossed ankles slowly in the air over her naked thighs. She sneakily reached over toward the tray with the cake in her hand to try and sweep up the citrus puree and icing sugar on the plate, and was already tucking it into her mouth before she thought to check if Peggy caught her doing it.

“This is how we get crumbs,” Peggy scolded her mildly, swatting her backside.

“You ain’t worried about crumbs,” Angie retorted. “You only caught me because you were looking at my drawers again.”

Peggy pursed her lips and shrugged, hand lingering on Angie’s thigh, completely devoid of remorse.

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“Is she gone?” Mister Jarvis asked.

Angie lifted the curtain. “Appears to be, yeah. You got ‘em?”

“Yes,” he sighed. “Though at this point it’s beginning to seem cruel.”

“I’ll help,” Angie said, tucking her book into the sofa pillows. “It’s cute, though, kind of. Mostly. A little sad.”

“Yes. Agent Carter’s black thumb is oddly endearing,” Mister Jarvis sighed. “I don’t understand how she’s managed to take out six batches of nominally hardy perennials.”

“I don’t either,” Angie said. “Ain’t peonies supposed to be indestructible? That’s why they’re marriage flowers.”

“Let neither of us speculate on the omen this poses for her love life,” Mister Jarvis sighed. “Grab the trowel, if you would, please? I’ll fetch the water.”

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“There you are,” Angie said, plopping herself down on the couch. “English, I need a dime.”

“A dime?” Peggy blinked at her. “Are you short?”

“A little,” Angie said, tucking her hands into her lap. “Mostly, though, I gotta pay my library fine.”

Peggy reached down beside the sofa for her purse. “How many late books this time?”

“Eight,” Angie said sheepishly. “Still ain’t found my new monologue, needed a music book, patterns, should get two cents back.”

“Keep it,” Peggy said, dropping the dime in Angie’s open hand. “Maybe they’ll let you pay your tab in advance.”

“You’re a doll,” Angie said, kissing her cheek. “First on the list to thank when I get up in front of the Academy.”

“I’ll hold you to that,” Peggy said, smiling as she settled her purse back beside the couch.

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“Peg?”

Peggy’s eyes went wide, her grip on the phone tightening. “Angie?”

“It’s a bad day, English,” Angie said. She sucked in a deep, sniffling breath. “Can you come and get me?”

“Of course, darling,” Peggy said, her back straight. “Where are you?”

“I ain’t really sure,” Angie said. “Hold on, I’ll ask the bartender.”

“Yes, darling. I’ll wait right on the line.”

Peggy got the address, and was halfway there before Mister Jarvis even had time to note she’d taken the keys.


 “What happened?” Peggy asked as Angie got into the car and immediately leaned over to rest her head on Peggy’s shoulder. She was damp from the rain and smelled strongly of scotch, less so of coffee.

“Just a scumbag,” Angie sighed, eyes closed. “I hit him right in the throat, just like you showed me.”

“Do you want me to-”

“No,” Angie said. “No, it’s all right. I’m all right. I’m just glad you came to get me, English. I’m real lucky. I didn’t even know where I was.”

“Any time, darling,” Peggy said, kissing Angie’s hair. “Any time.”

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“They’re all shit,” Peggy sighed. Angie bit her lip to keep from laughing.

Peggy finished her scotch and settled her head back in Angie’s lap, pulling her stocking-clad feet up on to the oversized seat.

“Would you like another, ma’am?” the flight attendant asked.

“Yes, please,” Peggy said, closing her eyes as Angie handed over the glass, the ice clinking.

“I’ll be right back,” the flight attendant promised.

“Shit,” Angie prompted, stroking Peggy’s hair. “Men are shit.”

“Even when they’re not shit at everything, they’re shit at something,” Peggy continued. “Espionage agents, soldiers, scientists- Think they’re all so brilliant, can’t even properly ask for a divorce without sounding like their heads are firmly inserted up their arses.”

“Ought to just put women in charge of everything,” Angie agreed. “We’d sort the world out, wouldn’t we, English?”

“Ought to spend a few centuries with them being expected to fetch things and make coffee. Wear impractical shoes. Have to readjust the damned toilet seat in the dark. Iron our damned blouses. They can’t even properly choose a temperature for the office. It’s always bloody freezing.”

“Drown them in the ocean,” Angie proposed. “Just drown them. We’ll figure something. Always do.”

“Difficult,” Peggy sniffed, squirming around until she could press her face into Angie’s stomach. “I’m bloody difficult. I’ll show him difficult. Right in his damned eye.”

“Sign the papers as soon as you get them and don’t ever look back,” Angie advised. “Don’t even think about it once we land. You’re Peggy fucking Carter. To Hell with him anyway.”

“Damned right. Ought to marry you, next. Show that jerk what for.”

“Why not?” Angie said. “Already know you put your feet on the furniture, never remember to rinse the sink after you brush your teeth, and how your hair clogs up the drain in the bathtub. You ain’t at all bad.”

“I understand how to treat you properly,” Peggy said, reaching for her drink when the flight attendant returned and squinting at it, trying to figure out how to drink a fourth glass of scotch without sitting up. Angie earned herself a smile by dropping in a bent straw. “Chartered airplanes. Foot massages. Clean bedsheets. Hunting down the last half dozen tubes of your shade of lipstick in the known world.”

“You take real good care of me, English,” Angie agreed, smiling at the flight attendant and slipping her a five dollar bill. “Always have.”

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“English,” Angie purred into her phone, leaning back on her chaise lounge, wrapping her arm across her belly. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

“Agent Daisy Cartwright,” Peggy said flatly. “Really, Angela?”

“I’m almost a six figure gal now,” Angie said, her lips curving in an even tighter smirk. “I can make script requests, costuming recommendations, people take my preferences into account.”

“When have you ever seen my operations gear, that’s what I want to know,” Peggy asked. “I know I never showed it to you.”

“I got sources,” Angie said. “Funny guy, big red moustache.”

“Dum Dum,” Peggy said, lifting a hand to her brow. “I might have guessed.”

“You got any complaints about my latest picture, English, I’m waiting to hear them.”

“I ought to get on a plane,” Peggy said, lowering her voice. “Fly out there and give you a piece of my mind. Your accent was-”

“At least as good as your American one,” Angie said. “I only lived with you on and off for what, eight years?”

“It wasn’t incredibly terrible,” Peggy granted. “Though that’s not what made me pick up the phone.”

“Then fill me in, my fair English rose.” The smile was plain in Angie’s voice. “Why are you calling me?”

“You looked very fetching, you know,” Peggy said, biting her lip when Angie laughed softly. “In combat boots.”

“Did I now?” Angie asked. “What did you think of the lipstick, huh? Not quite your shade, but I did my best.”

“If you want to learn to do your own stunts, I could teach you how to throw a punch,” Peggy ventured.

“I know that tone,” Angie said, squinting her eyes. “English, what are you wearing? And where, precisely, is your other hand?”

“Knickers,” Peggy said, suppressing a chuckle.

“Why do I suppose that answers both questions?” Angie sighed. “Want me to do the voice?”

“Please?”

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“You’ve been staring since you got in,” Peggy said. “Have you missed me that much?”

“Come here,” Angie said, putting down her teacup. “I didn’t fly all the way here from Los Angeles to not touch you.”

“God, I missed this,” Peggy sighed, resting her cheek on Angie’s thigh. “Now, what’s given you that desperately restrained expression?”

“Your hair,” Angie sighed, gently parting it with her fingers and combing them through, along Peggy’s cheek. “Mm, English. You’ve always been a looker, but I can’t take the silver, I’m dying.”

“Get a few divorces,” Peggy advised, closing her eyes and nuzzling into Angie’s touch. “That’s been my secret.”

“Oh, I’ve got them,” Angie said, her lower lip curving outward. “The roots anyway. But they keep making me dye them. Can’t go silver on the screen, can I?”

“I suppose not,” Peggy agreed. “Give me a kiss, will you? There have to be some sort of positives about being freshly jilted, haven’t there?”

“Thought you’d never ask,” Angie said, grinning as she leaned down to oblige.

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Angie leaned over Peggy’s stomach, kissing along the top of her skirt slip.

“You know you’re perfect, don’t you, English?”

“What are you doing down there?” Peggy asked.

“Aside from admiring the view?” Angie smiled and nudged the hem out of the way to press a kiss into the hollow of Peggy’s navel. “The perfect ratio of your waist to your hips to your glorious thighs.”

“Mhm,” Peggy put her book down and slid her fingers into Angie’s hair, winding it around her fist. “Is this what you’re after?”

Angie’s breath caught, and then she laughed. “Mm, easy, English. Maybe after dark. I’m not twenty something anymore, it’s a little early in the day for me.”

Peggy gently detangled her fist from Angie’s hair and stroked out the mussing she’d made of it. “Sorry, darling. Carry on, then.”

“I want to be one of the belts you wear with those smart skirts of yours,” Angie sighed, grinning. “Just hang right around here all day.”

“You’re a little conspicuous,” Peggy said, caressing the back of Angie’s neck, grinning back at her. “People will talk.”

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“English,” Angie sat up on her pillows and frowned her disapproval. “What on earth is all this?”

“Scones,” Peggy explained. “Crepes. A bit of an omelet, having realized I’ve never cooked for you and you might have been under the misapprehension that I don’t know how.”

“I ain’t even mad about it anymore,” Angie said. “Honestly, I think you’re angrier than I am.”

“Naturally,” Peggy said, sniffing. “Angela Martinelli is the premiere genre film star of our time.”

“It ain’t our time anymore, is the thing,” Angie sighed. “I’m starting to wrinkle at the edges. Nobody wants an old lady actress. Name me one.”

“You’re not even fifty!” Peggy snarled, stomping her foot, which made Angie snort with laughter all over again.

“Get your knickers untwisted, English. Come sit with me, eat this breakfast in bed my best girl whipped up. I can’t eat all this. I’m an actress. I gotta watch my figure,” Angie said. “That’s all I’m good for, right? Not my talent or wealth of experience or- I sound like you. Let me shove this scone full of jam and butter into my mouth so I can forget the ignorance of the casting agencies and not be mad anymore.”

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“You don’t worry about it at all, do you?” Peggy asked, stroking Angie’s hair. “You never really have.”

“English, secrets are your job,” Angie said. “And I’ve always known you were real, real good at your job. If I’m going to be anyone’s secret, I like to think I merit the best.”

“If a time comes when it doesn’t have to be a secret,” Peggy traced Angie’s jaw with her fingertips. “Would you go out in the sunlight with me?”

“Why Director Carter,” Angie grinned at her. “I’d be delighted. I’d even wear one of those scandalous French swimsuits with the seashells on my tits.”

“You would not,” Peggy grumbled, lightly poking her in the nose. “You never had any tan lines.”

“That’s true,” Angie admitted. “Ever gotten your nipples sunburnt, English? I don’t recommend it.”

Peggy rolled her eyes and tugged Angie closer to get at her mouth.

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It’s the bite of the stockings that gets her revved up.

Stockings are not something she ever had enough of to consider this at any point in time, but that’s okay, because her new doll’s got ‘em and can get ‘em and doesn’t even blink when that’s what she asks for: to be tied to the headboard with a pair of silks or nylons and treated any old which way, as long as she can’t yell and can’t wiggle too much, because her uniforms are short sleeved and her wrists are bare and bruises are a dead giveaway that something’s gone awry.

She likes to do it the night before an audition, especially, because getting wrung out makes her delivery flawless, takes out all her jittery energy and leaves her smooth and polished.

She pays her back with her flawless, short manicure and her knowledge of lubricants of every kind, how she already knows that natural toys go with olive oil and when it’s appropriate to use Vaseline, because why would a pretty English dame know? It ain’t like she’s the kinky one, though she’s taking to it like a duck to water.