It’s late. Too late to still be in bed with the owner of her local pub, anyway.
She had shot a look at Charity as she got up to leave. She turned to hug Tracy, looking at the other woman over her shoulder. Charity gave her one single nod, signaling she would be at the back door of the pub after closing, waiting for her.
“I was thinking of going into town to meet a few friends.”
Tracy pulled away from her, with a puzzled expression on her face. “But Rhona is on call, isn’t she?”
“I do have other friends, Tracy, thank you.”
Tracy walked past her, laughing, “ Whatever, Ness. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do, yeah?”
She let out a deep breath, pulled on her jacket, and walked out the door, shooting one last look at Charity.
Now though, she’s laying beside her with a hand on her chest, slowly moving her thumb back and forth. The realization of what comes next lingering between them.
“Time for my great escape,” Vanessa sighed, sitting up. “Do you think Chas and Paddy have gone to bed?”
Since that night in the cellar, she had ended up in Charity’s bed a handful of times. Not often enough if she’s honest. Always in her bed, though. It’s too risky to be at Vanessa’s. People would talk if they saw the two women standing close together, laughing on the doorstep of Tug Ghyll, struggling to keep their hands to themselves. It’s common knowledge what happened with Rhona, but as far as the village and her friends and family knew, that was a flook. A one-time thing. That it was something to never be talked about again. And it wasn’t.
Charity turned to face the wall, pulling the covers to her chest. “I think so,” she said flatly.
Charity made it very clear to Vanessa that this was just a bit of fun at the start. Just two single women who liked each other, but Vanessa could tell that it bothered her now. Having to keep this a secret.
Dropping her head in her hands, she whispered, “I wish it didn’t have to be this way, you know? She turned her head to glance at Charity, gently placing a hand on her shoulder. “It doesn’t make me feel good sneaking around, keeping us a secret.”
Charity sat up then, letting out a deep sigh as she brought her knees to her chest, still looking away from Vanessa.
Vanessa thought she was going to speak, but the silence only continued. She stood up, dressing quickly with her back to the other woman. Turning slowly, she crawled onto the bed, leaning down to drop a kiss to Charity’s shoulder, one last invitation for her to say something, anything.
She got up, heading for the door when she heard the covers rustle behind her, putting a stop to her movements.
“I’ll walk you down.”
She turned to see Charity grabbing her robe from where it was draped over the chair, wrapping it around her body, slowly walking over to Vanessa. She stood in front of her for a moment before placing a small kiss on her lips.
“It doesn’t make me feel good, either,” she whispered against her lips.
Definitely more than just a bit of fun. Too much effort went into keeping it a secret for it to not mean more to her now.
Reaching for Vanessa’s hands, Charity looked up at her then. “There has to be a way we can spend more time together,” she inhaled, pausing for a second before looking down at their hands. “I actually like talking to you, surprisingly,” she smiled, “but before I know it, you’re already leaving and I’m here, alone, wondering when I’ll get to see you again.”
A door opens somewhere down the hallway, Charity’s grip on Vanessa’s hands tightens. Both of them stay where they are, still, until they hear an exaggerated yawn and a door closing.
“I really should go, Charity,” she whispered, leaning in to kiss her cheek, “We’ll find a way, though.”
“You’re smart, you’ll think of something.”