If life was a romantic film, mused Kate, playing with a strand of Osgood’s hair as she watched and waited for her lover start to rouse, it would be sunlight through the curtains illuminating the room, rather than the soft glow of Kate’s bedside light which they’d failed to turn off when they’d finally conceded that sleep was unavoidable. When she’d first woken, she’d found the lamplight irritating as it meant the room was just bright enough for a still half asleep Kate to properly wake. Once fully awake, she made the mistake of glancing at the clock, discovering that she’d woken just after 8. It took longer than she’d care to admit to work out that, based on a snatched memory of seeing the clock when she was still definitely awake and very, very distracted, she’d probably had no more than 5 hours of sleep. But since this was her life, and not a romantic film, it was not a surprise that she had failed to take the opportunity to have a ‘proper’ lie-in before needing to get up and face the morning and her children. Actually, now she thought about it, she had no idea what the last film she’d seen was (Osgood would know), but she was fairly certain that few film scripts would have let her have both the lie-in and Osgood, with the majority of scripts probably giving her the lie-in and not Osgood. And she’d never actually found lie-ins all that satisfying, whereas her girlfriend...
It was on this happy conclusion that had seen Kate stop her inner grumbling about no longer being asleep and instead start revelling in being awake and with the benefit of enough light to properly take in her surroundings, starting (like the mother she was), with a quick check that yes, the bedroom door was still firmly shut, the rest of the house sounded quiet and was probably still asleep and there was laundry to do…
“Huh?” Blinking, Osgood looked sleepily across the pillow at Kate, wondering what had woken her.
“Oh…” Mortified that she’d woken her up, Kate dropped the strand of Osgood’s hair she’d been idly toying with and started to try to move away from her slowly waking lover, “...sorry! Didn’t mean to wake you… go back to sleep…” only to be thwarted by Osgood gently tightening her hold on her waist, keeping her close enough to further reinforce her point by tangling their legs together.
“No thank you,” declined Osgood, politeness being an instinctive behaviour even when half asleep, before further emphasising her desire to stay awake and keep Kate in bed with her by rolling slightly onto her back. Based on how entwined their legs now were, this meant Kate had little option but to roll with her. As a result, she was soon held close against Osgood, almost on top of her girlfriend who was becoming more alert by the moment and in a position to have a proper conversation, “good morning.”
“Hello.” Kate decided, since she clearly wasn’t going anywhere, that the best way to express her guilt at waking Osgood up was with a kiss, although it ended rather sooner than she would have liked as her girlfriend pulled gently back from her, prompting her to ask “What’s wrong?”
“Out with it.”
“Out with what?” asked Kate, confused.
“Whatever it is you’re thinking about, problem shared and all that,” requested Osgood patiently, her face showing genuine interest in whatever it was that was preoccupying Kate and resulting in a ‘nice but not quite’ kiss, which wasn’t exactly what she’d had in mind as the way to start Christmas Day.
“Umm…” Kate knew better than to try and wriggle (either literally or metaphorically) out of her girlfriend’s clutches at this point, “...laundry and the contents of pockets.”
“Ah. I imagine the uniform goes back to the Tower next time you go in?” guessed Osgood, remembering something Max had said about Kate refusing to wash khaki.
“But I put the non-uniform washables in the hamper…” Osgood’s speech was interrupted by a yawn, giving Kate the opportunity to mentally translate that rather formal phrasing (especially considering they were lying in bed together) and worked out her girlfriend meant she’d put Kate’s knickers and bra in the laundry bin, “...and the contents of your pockets on your bedside table, apart from the beret which is on the dresser, so your phone’s alright,” she finished, thinking that was probably what was bothering Kate.
“Thanks, but that wasn’t what I was worried about washing…”
“Your glasses are there too.”
“Thank you,” Kate smiled when, instinctively pausing, Osgood didn’t interrupt her, enabling her to continue her explanation, “...but it was actually your Christmas present I didn’t want to wash.”
“My Christmas present? But the only other thing in your pockets was a small leather notebook…”
“Which was my father’s,” began Kate, trying to reach out blindly to pick it up from where she’d just remembered spotting it resting on the bedside table, next to her glasses, “and I’d very much like to give to you,” she finished quietly, finally having to shift away from Osgood so that she could turn and look for the notebook. This momentary separation enabled both women to discreetly retrieve deadening arms from under their partner and quickly coax circulation back into tingling hands, before Kate turned back and shyly passed the notebook over to a bemused Osgood.
“I can’t take this…” protested Osgood, her eyes wide even as she automatically accepted the small notebook Kate was offering her, “...it was your father’s…” she added, nevertheless reaching for her glasses which had somehow managed to end up in their usual spot on her bedside table, despite her inattention when Kate had taken them off her.
“You’re not taking it, I’m giving it to you…” amended Kate gently, smiling in reassurance and what she hoped was encouragement, “...and as you’ll see from the first entry, in many ways, that one’s always been yours…”
“I don’t understand…” however, even as she spoke, Osgood had carefully opened the notebook which had evidently been used by the late Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart to record some of the thoughts that made up his personal journal. “...this is…” Not sure what ‘this’ was, she looked again at Kate who, despite lying with her head on the edge of Osgood’s pillow, suddenly felt too far away.
“Something I would like you to have,” repeated Kate, smiling in encouragement but also reaching across and draping her right arm and leg loosely over Osgood’s body under the covers without moving her head or disturbing the soft, warm cocoon their once more entwined bodies were creating under the duvet. With Kate no longer feeling far away, and seeing her nod in encouragement to keep going, Osgood repositioned her glasses, turned the page to what was the first entry and, self-consciously clearing her throat, began quietly reading aloud.
“Tom Osgood was unusually cheerful today, even for him. Actually caught him whistling while he worked on something, didn’t understand what, but no doubt it will be extremely useful. Turns out, Mrs Osgood...Becky... is pregnant, and the Sergeant could not be happier. Tried telling him that it was not the done thing, to go round telling people about the baby until after it had got a bit bigger (damned if I could remember what Fiona had told me when she was pregnant with Kate)...” Osgood paused and went to double check the date of the entry, doing some mental arithmetic even though she instinctively knew the answer already. Eyes wide, she looked at her girlfriend. “Is this? That is…”
“It’s one of my father’s journals, it starts the day your father found out your mother was pregnant with you, and ends up being mostly about you actually… your father was rather proud, right from the very beginning…” Kate tucked a strand of hair behind Osgood’s ear, “...justifiably so…” she waited, lower lip nervously caught between her teeth, wondering what her girlfriend’s reaction would be, all her earlier confidence in giving her the journal rapidly disappearing.
“It’s incredible… and you’re not giving it to me,” corrected Osgood, returning the gesture and running her fingertip over Kate’s worried forehead and lifting errant blonde strands out of her eyes, “...you’re sharing it with me.”
“No buts...we’re both in this journal…”
“So’s the Doctor…” added Kate, feeling relieved that it sounded like Osgood appreciated the little battered notebook but still confused since she was also in the process of putting it down on the bedside table.
“All of which helps make it a wonderful present to look at, properly, later…” confirmed Osgood, removing her glasses and putting them on top of the notebook.
“Oh?” Kate wasn’t completely clear on what was happening, but did at least draw some confidence from the fact that she wasn’t being pushed away (the opposite in fact) and she thought she recognised the look on her girlfriend’s face as one of overall contentment rather than distress.
“...later, when you’re not in bed with me.” At first hear, Osgood’s words sounded a little harsh, so decisively did she declare that Kate’s presence was not helpful, but Kate remained relaxed and calm, knowing from experience that her girlfriend was planning aloud, and the plan wasn’t complete yet. “And when we have nowhere else we need to be for a bit…” Osgood paused, a frown on her face as she reviewed what she said, knowing she hadn’t quite got her thoughts in order. “I mean, right now, we’re together, in bed and...” Osgood trailed off again, still frustrated that she wasn’t matching her thoughts to sufficiently precise words.
“Ah.” Having a reasonably good hunch about what her girlfriend was trying to say, Kate was momentarily surprised when she felt herself relaxing slightly, which was invariably the first indication she had about how nervous and tense she’d got, “Since It’s not yet 9… and the boys will probably oversleep…” only to tense again when she saw and felt Osgood tense. “What’s the matter?”
“New rule needed…” said Osgood finally, after shaking her head briefly, as if trying to shake off an ill-fitting hat.
“Rule?” Kate was lost, and potentially needing an emergency head-clearing coffee if they found any more tangents to go wandering down.
“Yes, relationship rule,” clarified Osgood, shifting rapidly but carefully so she was now comfortably balanced over Kate, their legs entwined and Osgood easily bracing herself with her arms either side of Kate’s body, keeping their lips tantalisingly apart.
“Ok…” Notebook forgotten, right now Kate was probably going to agree to anything Osgood suggested, especially if it expedited various bits of her girlfriend moving the relevant fraction of an inch that would see their body contact shift from ‘comfortably cosy’ to ‘intimately close’.
“Concentrate…” teased Osgood, knowing where Kate’s mind had wandered, before, on seeing her girlfriend’s attention focussed, saying with total seriousness, “...no matter how sweet, wonderful and marvellous the reason for talking about them, we are not talking about our parents or your sons when we have time to be awake and naked in bed. My brain can’t cope.”
“Ah?” Osgood blinked, not sure how to interpret Kate’s response.
“Ah, but can I point out it’s your father who keeps ringing…”
“And you’re the one who usually answers!”
“It’s a… distracting ringtone, and I don’t know how to silence your phone without answering it.”
“I’ll teach you how to silence it, change the ringtone and turn off the sound,” bargained Osgood, immediately willing to sacrifice the ‘Dad’s Army’ theme tune that had been her father’s unique ringtone for the last few years as well as make certain her phone never audibly rang if it meant her girlfriend never started talking on the phone to her father when she was in the middle of trying to make Kate forget how to form words...
“Thank you. And I definitely don’t plan to voluntarily think about my children...” murmured Kate, running her hands gently down Osgood’s exposed back in loving reassurance, the duvet having disappeared when Osgood had moved on top of her.
“Thank you…” They both knew that, were anything to happen, despite both boys being in their twenties, it wouldn’t matter what Kate was doing, her sons would be her first priority.
“Ok?” asked Kate, her hands starting to make longer, firmer sweeping strokes up and down Osgood’s warm, silky smooth back, thumbs trailing lightly over the curves of hips, ribs and breasts.
“Mmm…” Osgood shifted once again, responding to the gentle pressure Kate was exerting on her back and starting to settle more of her weight onto her girlfriend, “...almost.”
“Almost?” If it weren’t for the wonderful feeling of her lover sinking down into her arms, Kate would be frustrated at how long it was taking for Osgood’s lips to get within kissing range.
“Happy Christmas Kate…”
“Happy Christmas Os…”