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A Wolf In Thrift-Store Clothing

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She tells herself it doesn't really matter.

She's not, like, delusional. She doesn't tell herself it's not a big deal while she's fucking herself with her vibe, or lighting up to quit thinking about her. But she has to tell herself that while she's flirting with her, or leaning into her, because otherwise she'll go crazy, and she's booked past this movie for at least a year.

So maybe it's really not a big deal and that's not just delusion - but either way, the thing with Charlize is a problem.

It's a crush. She's had enough of them to be able to identify them. She's bi and it's never been really an issue, beyond the weird tension she had with Dakota for awhile. But Charlize is older, and so fucking pretty, and she keeps touching Kristen. That, on its own, is enough of an indication that she has no idea. If she did, she wouldn't keep doing what she's doing.

Just put a name to it, Kristen tells herself. Fine. If Charlize knew, she wouldn't keep flirting.

They've been filming for long enough that they have their own little social circles. They're wrapping tomorrow, so in the meantime, Kristen's hanging out with Chris. She's a little tipsy, but he's cool with it. They're watching the Discovery Channel, and Kristen's trying to figure out his non-spank-bank feelings on girl-on-girl without being too obvious.

"Sometimes two women, you know, but what if one of them's older?"

"Are you talking about Charlize?" Chris says.

So, not that subtle, then. "No," Kristen lies.

"I think you should go for it."

"I'm not talking about Charlize."

"Aren't you?"

"She's so much older. She has an Oscar. No, I'm not talking about her."

"Your career's on fire, Kristen. You could do a lot worse. Rob -"

"Rob's a friend," Kristen says sharply, because no one gets to shittalk Rob around her, no matter how much of a shitshow he might be that week.

"I know," Chris says. "I have them too, you know."

She's being kind of selfish, she thinks. "Yeah," she says. "Sorry."

He pats her knee. "She'd go for it."

"Do they train you to just say 'go for it' in Advice for Aussies or something?"

"Come on."

"Okay, fine." She flops back, thinking about it. This would be easier if she'd just smoked a bowl, not done a couple shots and invaded Chris's trailer. She needs to get better at substance abuse.

And also at distracting herself, because her mind is already circling back to Charlize. All Charlize's advice, the way Charlize touches her. Fuck, she wants a piece of that so bad she has no idea if Charlize is actually into her, or just being a good mentor. "I don't know, man."

"If you don't say anything, you don't have a chance," Chris points out.

It's not a bad point, if Kristen could stop being so fucking scared.

She and Charlize grab dinner that night. The wrap party is tomorrow, after Kristen's last scene. Charlize isn't in it - Charlize isn't in 90% of her scenes - but she's going to be there anyway. She buys into that method shit, and beyond that, the cast wants to throw a couple back in the name of the movie. Kristen's not sure how that means she and Charlize are going out to get dinner, but it's not like she's going to argue.

"You have talent," Charlize tells her over sushi. "Real talent, the kind that doesn't come along every day." She stabs the chopsticks at Kristen for emphasis, looking a little too murderous-Ravenna for Kristen's comfort. "Don't just friddle it away on teen movies and shit like that."

"I don't think friddle's a word," Kristen says. "Also, I'm doing fucking On The Road, okay, I have ambition."

"Playing who?" Charlize says like a challenge.

Kristen looks her dead in the eye, sticks out her jaw, and says, "Marylou. The chick who travels with them."

"I know who Marylou is," Charlize says.

Kristen has no idea if she's lying or not, but something compels her to say, "Sixteen. Sex symbol. Edgy shit, even now, like fifty years after the book."

"Sixteen's too young for me," Charlize says, and picks up another piece of sake makimono. Salmon rolls, not even a big deal, nothing fancy or glamorous like Charlize herself almost always looks.

Kristen doesn't ask her if barely twenty-two is also too young. Charlize is thirty-six: it's too young.

After dinner, Charlize says, "Want to hang out in my room?" They're shooting on-location the last day, so they both have trailers. Charlize calls hers her room, like it's not massive, indicative of just how hardcore she's slumming with this movie, no matter what she insists otherwise.

"Sure," Kristen says.

"Change into your pajamas," Charlize says. "We'll have a girls' night."

Since she was sixteen, Kristen's girls' nights have mostly been her getting fucked up with Rob. But she says, "Yeah, sure," as Charlize hails them a cab.

She stares at herself in the mirror once she's in pajamas - underwear, dude's boxers, an old NSYNC shirt, and a bra, because her crush is dumb, but that doesn't make her dumb. She looks hot, in an ears-sticking-out, kind of alternative way. Dakota was into her, she reminds herself, even if the thought makes her feel bad. They didn't do anything, since both of them knew it was a bad idea, but the spark was there.

Kristen honestly doesn't know if the spark's there with Charlize. Charlize and Dakota are more or less equally self-possessed, age difference aside, but Kristen's so into Charlize that she's the exact opposite of objective when it comes to her. Kristen might as well be an alien who doesn't know human customs for all she can judge how Charlize feels about her.

"Don't fuck it up," she tells her reflection, then grabs her bag and walks the short distance to Charlize's trailer.

Charlize opens it before Kristen has a chance to knock. "I hope you like champagne," Charlize says, grabbing Kristen's right wrist in a strong hand and practically dragging her inside.

"I don't turn booze down," Kristen admits, sinking into Charlize's luxurious couch and holding out a hand to accept the massive, bowl-like wine glass of champagne.

Charlize raises her own giant glass and says, "To friendship."

"That's kind of lame," Kristen says. She doesn't clink glasses with Charlize yet. "How about, to fucking killin' it on the red carpet?"

"You listen to too much faux-punk," Charlize says, but she's smirking like she wants to laugh. "Okay, then. To killin' it, here and now and down the road."

They clink glasses and drink. Charlize knocks hers back like it's cheap tequila, so Kristen follows, even though she's more used to drinking cheap tequila than this fancy shit.

"What's your deal, anyway?" Charlize says when they're a bottle in, slumping against the couch. Even her semi-drunken slumps look graceful, Kristen thinks resentfully.

"Huh?" she says when she realizes Charlize has asked a question.

"Your deal," Charlize says. "Your whole…persona." She waves a hand. "What's it about?"

"Nothing, man," Kristen says. "I'm fucking Bella Swan, so I just kind of roll with it."

"Please." Charlize snorts. "I did Mighty Joe Young as a young Hollywood star, I know about industry pressure. You've made more calculated choices than most teen stars your age. So what's your deal? Are you going to be like Ellen Page, hanging up clothes in your glass closet while you fake make out with girls for magazines?"

"Hey," Kristen snaps, sitting bolt upright. She'll leave, she'll fucking leave and she won't come back, she'll -

Suddenly Charlize is grabbing her wrists, in her space. "Hey," she echoes Kristen. It's not that gentle, but when Kristen tries to move, Charlize's grip actually loosens even as she leans in. "Hey," she says again, mouth near Kristen's ear. Kristen can't see her expression, even though she desperately wants to. "I didn't mean it like that, I'm sorry. I'm sorry, okay?" Her thumbs are swiping the insides of Kristen's wrists. "I just was curious, that's all. You're so…I mean, you're obvious to me. Am I obvious to you?"

She leans back, lets go of Kristen's wrists, and looks at her with her head cocked. Kristen stares at the point where Charlize's knees dig into the couch, unsure about what to say.

"I don't know," she finally manages. "What am I supposed to be seeing?"

Charlize's lips twist. It's way too bitter to be a smile, but it could maybe be a smile's "just my roommate, I swear" cousin. That's a drunk thought, Kristen knows, as she stares at Charlize's lips. "Nothing," Charlize says. "I'm going to get us more champagne." She stands up, not wavering at all.

Kristen's on pins and needles the rest of the night, but nothing fucking happens. Charlize leans in a few times, but she falls asleep with her body angled away from Kristen. It's the easy doze of someone who's passed out drunk many, many times, and Kristen leaves her to it, tumbling to the floor and grabbing a blanket so she doesn't freeze to death.

She wakes up shivering anyway. Charlize is poking her with her foot. "Rise and shine, sweetcheeks," Charlize says. "We need to get some aspirin in you, or makeup will kill me. I might be old enough to be your mother, but I'm still too young to die."

Her voice is so cheerful, Kristen wants to stab her in the eye. Also - "You're not old," Kristen mumbles, rubbing a hand over her face. "You'd've been fourteen when you had me if you were my mom."

"Some people have 'em that young." Charlize kneels down and shoves a glass of water and some aspirin at Kristen. "Drink. Swallow. Become human again, face of the movie."

"You're in all the ads," Kristen says, but she obeys and then lets Charlize haul her to her feet.

Charlize is already dressed, in a slinky red dress that looks fancier than anything Kristen owns. Probably because it's on Charlize, she thinks. "I gotta go back and get dressed."

"They'll just redress you," Charlize says, but she doesn't object when Kristen leaves.

Kristen's absolutely positive that if she told Chris about this, Chris would laugh his ass off. Good thing she's not going to tell him, she thinks as she drags a brush through her hair. When she looks reasonably close to someone who didn't get hammered on expensive champagne last night, she goes off to let makeup do their damage.

The scene is just one where she walks through the woods. It's kind of anti-climactic, really, but when Rupert calls cut, everyone surrounds her like she's just delivered a Meryl-caliber performance. "Whoa, whoa," she says, laughing. "So we're all going to get hammered at the wrap party, right?"

"We've rented the convention room and everything," Rupert says. Kristen grins up at him, but then she has to look away, because Charlize is grabbing her with a, "We'll see you later, Rupert," and dragging her over to Chris and Sam.

"Celebrate!" Charlize says, throwing her arm around Kristen's shoulder. Kristen laughs, because when she met Charlize she was so fucking intimidated, and now Charlize is just her, a super hot woman who Kristen is awkward around despite her best efforts.

"We might never see each other again," Charlize is saying, squeezing Kristen's shoulders.

But Chris just laughs and says, "Come on, there's the press tour."

From the way he's looking between Kristen and Charlize, Kristen can guess what he's thinking, and it makes her want to punch him. Last night really sealed the deal, there - nothing's going to happen.

Charlize says, "Good point," and steals Sam's water.

"Let's go to the convention hall," Sam suggests. "They should already have the booze out, and we're the stars."

"Come with us," Kristen says to Miriam, one of the aides.

Chris throws out an arm. "Yes, come on, come on," he says. And just like that, the set's draining of all the non-essentials, everyone more than ready to get drunk early.

Hours later, Kristen's drunk off her ass along with everyone else. Rupert's being kind of creepy at a sound editor, so Kristen wanders off, leaving the convention center for the bathroom - easy to find, since they're in a hotel and all. She's almost made it down the hallway when someone backs her into one of the pointless alcoves all hotels have.

She leans against the wall next to the vending machine, blinking up at Charlize. "The laundry room's right there," Kristen points out when Charlize doesn't say anything. "We could, I don't know, get some ice. I have to pee."

"I just wanted to say," Charlize says, running a finger around Kristen's jaw and up behind her ear, "that you are so fucking talented, and this was a great experience. They threw money at me, obviously, but seriously. it's been awesome."

"You heard Chris, we're going to be living in each other's pockets doing press," Kristen says. "Come on, Charlize, I have to pee."

"I know, I know," Charlize says. She's running her fingers through Kristen's hair now. Is this normal? Is Charlize just a touchy drunk? Kristen has no fucking clue, and no idea how to figure it out.

It falls to Kristen to untangle herself, but she can't bring herself to push Charlize away. "Seriously," she says, hearing her voice go whiny and kind of hating herself for it.

Charlize blinks at her, pupils blown wide. She's so fucking beautiful, Kristen thinks helplessly.

"Okay," Charlize says in a low voice. She steps away, and before Kristen can think better of it, she leaves, heading for the bathroom.

Whatever that was, it can't happen again. Kristen's going to screw her head back on straight and not do something stupid like kiss her coworker. Former coworker. Whatever, it's a bad idea and Kristen isn't going to turn into some Lindsay Lohan trainwreck for everyone to look at.

She stays in the bathroom for a long time before she comes back out. By then, Charlize is hanging all over Chris and laughing at some joke Anne the makeup department head is telling. That's good, Kristen tells herself, and snags another glass of wine. That's awesome. Kristen couldn't be happier.

They get their press schedules the next day. Three months' downtime, then touring to support the movie. She, Charlize, and Chris will be living in each others' pockets, to the point where Chris sends her a smug text gloating about how he'll get his own hotel room. Kristen and Charlize will be side-by-side in smaller rooms, because the movie's budget isn't that big and there's no reason why they should have massive suites.

Kristen kind of wants to do something really dramatic to protest all this, but she doesn't. She goes back home, to LA, and calls Rob as soon as she gets home.

"Are you around?"

"Am I around where, kid?"

Rob picked up the habit of calling her "kid" somewhere. Kristen's not sure where. It's annoying.

"LA," she says. "I just got back, and I'm crawling out of my fucking skin. I figured we could hang."

"Sure," he says. "I'm in San Fran. I can fly down."

Only total douches call it San Fran, so Rob definitely qualifies. "Great," she says. "Look me up when you get here." She hangs up on him before he can ask her what's up.

He shows up two days later. She's spent most of that time fucking around, looking at the script for On The Road and letting her publicist prep her for the last Twilight movie. "Hey," he says, kissing her on the cheek. "You look good, kid."

"So do you, jackoff," Kristen says. She watches him hoist the bag he took out of the taxi. "What, you think you're staying at my place?"

"Is there anywhere better to stay?" Rob pushes past her, going into her house. He knows it well, from them kind of dating and fucking for awhile, and it's not like she's changed it much. She notices that he sticks his shit in the guest room, though. So that's something that's changed.

"Chris Hemsworth called me the other day," Rob says, plopping down on Kristen's couch. He sits lengthwise, so she curls up in the armchair. Rob dangles an ankle over the back of the couch and regards her with hooded eyes.

"Texted you, you mean," Kristen says. "What, are you going to start calling computers typewriters next?"

"Texted me," Rob says. "Fine, yes, he texted me, mentioning you and a certain hot, blonde, older Oscar-winning actress."

"Me and Meryl?" Kristen says, feigning shock.

"Very funny, kid. What's up?"

Kristen shrugs. "Nothing."

"Didn't sound like nothing."

"None of your business then, Christ." Kristen grabs her remote and turns on the TV. The living room is one long rectangle, with big doors leading out to a deck and a hallway to the right of the TV. It's kind of tunnel-like, actually, but it means when she turns to look at the TV, Rob's not even in her line of sight anymore.

"Come on, if you're getting a piece of that you should definitely tell me. Is she going to be your date to all the premieres?"

"She also stars in it, you know."

Out of the corner of her eye, she sees Rob flap a hand. "Beside the point."

"I really don't want to talk about it," Kristen says. She knows she's whining, but she can't help it. This is ridiculous.

"Just make sure you don't get crabs," Rob says. "And that she doesn't damage your self-esteem too much, you know, with those legs and -"

Kristen tosses a pillow in his vague direction and turns the volume up on the TV.

She knows tabloid assholes get a couple pictures of him entering and leaving her place, but it's not a big deal. He leaves after a couple weeks, and then it's just her again. Only, obviously she has shit to do - nutritionist appointments, conditioning stuff, interviews. All the usual garbage leading up to a movie premiere. It helps pass the time, and it's not until she's flying into Heathrow for the UK premiere that she realizes she's nervous as hell and wishes the three months were more like three years. It's a fucking fourth of the year, and she's still not over it, still can't deal with, well. Everything.

Especially not Charlize, who says, "Kristen!", and grabs her, kissing her on the cheek. "So good of you to make it!"

Kristen does something she kind of hates about herself and defaults to surliness. "What, like this is a dinner party? Come on."

Charlize just does what she always does and laughs. "Come on," she says. "We have to get ready. Your stylist sent your stuff to your room, I saw them bringing it in."

The hotel is the kind of swanky Kristen's still not really used to. The limo's picking them up at seven, which gives Kristen three hours with her stylist and no time to hang out and talk to Charlize.

Honestly, Kristen's okay with that. Her crush is stupid.

She's not sure what she's expecting on the red carpet. She's not that close to Sam, but she and Chris got to be decent friends, and Charlize is - like a live wire, Jesus. As it turns out, she works the red carpet like a pro, and Kristen's pretty much just trailing in her wake, laughing when Charlize flirts with her. It makes her feel stupid, but she gives back as much as she can, because this is the job. Also, the other alternative is just completely shutting down, and Kristen doesn't want that, no matter how bad an idea this whole thing is.

So they do the interviews and walk the red carpet, and it…it is what it is. Kristen doesn't really remember everything she says, but that's normal. It's not until she gets back to the hotel, hours and hours later, that she realizes Chris has left her and Charlize to walk up together, despite his hotel room being down the hall from each of theirs.

"How does he pull that disappearing act?" Charlize says, looking around exaggeratedly.

"You know how," Kristen says. There aren't any cameras, so she doesn't have to pretend.

She's expecting Charlize to be weird, or maybe to brush it off, but when Charlize looks at her, there's this weird heat to it. "Yeah," Charlize says. She doesn't step forward, but she does catch Kristen's wrist. "I do."

Kristen wants to say something, she really does. But the words catch in her throat.

"Want to come back to my room?" Charlize says. "I have champagne."

"You and your champagne," Kristen says. She wants to wince then, because she sounds like a fucking kid, or at the very least a teenage virgin. Bella Swan, something in the back of her mind says.

But if Charlize has a problem with it, she doesn't show it. "Damn right," she says. "Come on." Still holding Kristen's wrist, she tugs her down the hall.

The hotel has robes, both fluffy terry ones and long fake silk ones. Charlize puts on a fake silk one; Kristen puts on a terry one, her dress in a messy pool on the floor. She should hang it up, she thinks, but she doesn't; she just takes the champagne Charlize hands her and lets Charlize pull her over to the couch.

"To a successful premiere season," Charlize says, lifting her glass.

"Not that I'm good at them," Kristen says, but she lifts her glass too.

Charlize tosses her champagne back and pours herself another glass before saying, "What are you talking about?"

"You know." Kristen shrugs. "Everyone always tells me to smile. I do smile."

"You're a little sullen. Hey, come on, don't glare at me." Charlize taps Kristen's nose. "It's cute."

Kristen doesn't know how to reply to that. She isn't really sure how serious Charlize is. So she smiles a little and looks down, hoping she's not actually blushing.

Charlize's nose tap turns into Charlize cupping her cheek, though, and then Kristen feels like she has to look up. Charlize is looking back at her, expression serious.

"You're not drunk," Charlize says quietly.

Kristen snorts in disbelief. "I've had one sip of champagne."

Charlize nods. Her expression is unreadable even as it changes when she says, "Well, then," and puts her champagne on the end table, leaning in and kissing Kristen.

She moves so slowly that Kristen knows what she's going to do way before she does it. She should probably move away, since lesbian co-star hookups are just not a good idea. But Charlize flirted all night and she's so hot and no, there's no way Kristen's going to move, not when she can just sit here and let Charlize do all the work of beginning the kiss.

And then they're kissing, and wow. It's just a kiss. There's no real excuse for the way it makes Kristen shiver, or how her head spins when Charlize leans in and angles her head just so, stroking Kristen's cheek and letting her other hand settle heavily on Kristen's shoulder. The terry is really thick, but Kristen can still feel Charlize's fingers. Then it occurs to her that she's allowed to touch, too, and so she reaches up, Charlize's robe slipping against her fingers and baring one shoulder.

Kristen's eyes are shut, but that doesn't stop her from opening her mouth a little, pushing for the kiss to be deeper and digging her fingers into Charlize's shoulder. For a second she has the panicked worry that she made it weird somehow, but then Charlize groans and tangles a hand in Kristen's hair, tugging tightly - and yeah, this is what Kristen wants.

"Fuck," Charlize breathes when they pull away. She plucks at Kristen's robe, then says, "If you -"

"Go for it," Kristen says before either of them has to stumble around some kind of explanation. It is what it is; it's not like Kristen has expectations.

"Bed," Charlize says. "Now." She pulls Kristen to it, pushing her towards the mattress at the same time she tugs the tie on her robe and steps out of it.

She's just wearing underwear, only Kristen thinks maybe that's not the right word; it's the kind of fancy silk lingerie Kristen herself only wears on special occasions. Like tonight, actually, she thinks as Charlize gets on the bed and pushes Kristen's robe off.

"Nice," Charlize says. The underwear is dark blue and lacy; Charlize runs her fingers over the tops of the bra cups, one nail snagging on the lace.

"Are we here to talk about my underwear, or are you going to do something about it?" Kristen says.

Charlize laughs. "One thing at a time," she says, and tugs Kristen in until she's leaning against the headboard and Kristen's straddling her. Then she kisses Kristen, tangling her fingers in Kristen's hair again.

It feels so good like this, despite the fact that she's never been the type to enjoy being this - open - for someone. Charlize splays a hand on her back, encouraging Kristen to move against her as they kiss.

Kristen's not surprised when Charlize makes it messy. She drags her mouth down Kristen's jaw. She wiped off most of her lipstick, but Kristen will probably still have stains, and fuck, why is that hot? Charlize kisses her neck, worrying the skin enough for Kristen to really feel it, but not enough for her to have a hickey. All Kristen can really do is hold on, touching Charlize's shoulders, her arms, covering her hand on Kristen's shoulder and touching her hair.

"Fuck, Charlize," Kristen says. Her hand is still in Charlize's hair, so she uses it to tug until they're kissing again and Kristen can get a hand between them to touch the red silk of Charlize's bra, skimming over her nipples through the fabric.

Charlize actually shudders, like she's the relatively inexperienced one. When she says, "Lean back," though, there's really no question about whether or not she's done this before.

Kristen obeys, and Charlize looks at her. Really looks, the kind of looking that makes Kristen feel awkward even after years in front of cameras. She has to fight the urge to cover herself up defensively, until Charlize shakes her head and says, "Sorry, I need you naked."

She kisses Kristen again as she reaches around and unhooks Kristen's bra with one hand. Kristen moves her arms, trying to help, and they break apart as Charlize tosses Kristen's bra aside. For a second Kristen almost falls backwards, but then Charlize grabs her and maneuvers them with surprising strength, until Kristen's sinking into the hotel pillows and looking up at Charlize.

The remnants of Charlize's eye makeup are smudged enough that Kristen can really buy her playing the evil queen. Slowly, Charlize lowers her head, kissing Kristen's collarbone as one hand comes up to play with Kristen's nipple.

She shivers and then moans as the feeling hits her. Charlize smiles against her skin, then licks the nipple she's not playing with. She does it slowly, circling Kristen's nipple, then moves on to the underside of her breasts, her stomach.

Just when Kristen thinks, maybe, Charlize circles back up again. And this time, fuck - this time she flicks her tongue and sucks, and it's a move that Kristen always thought looked better in porn, but is really working for her now, better than it's worked with anyone else before.

She's so wet. She can feel how wet she is, and yet Charlize is just playing with her tits, still in her red lingerie, pushing Kristen's legs far apart with one hand on her thigh, but not touching any closer than that. It's better than it has any right to be, and yet all Kristen can think is that she wants more.

She's making noise, too, she realizes dimly. Charlize is touching her all over, proprietary hands on her hips and ribs and legs, and Kristen's basically writhing and moaning like a porn star.

Finally, Charlize says, "You're going to have to ask me for it."

Fuck, that's an image. "Do it," Kristen says. She spreads her legs wider, then thinks better of it and rolls to the side, taking her own underwear off. "Come on, Charlize, please. Just touch me."

"Better," Charlize says. She doesn't even sound winded, just lazily pleased, like teasing Kristen is all she wants out of this. She braces one hand on Kristen's thigh, then slides it up slowly, slowly, until she's just brushing Kristen's cunt.

She knew she was wet, but it's different knowing it and actually feeling someone touch her. Charlize makes a pleased noise as she spreads it around; apparently she doesn't care about being messy, because she shallowly presses two fingers in, then moves them up, circling Kristen's clit.

She's sensitive; she's always been sensitive. But Charlize seems to know exactly what to do. She presses down lightly on Kristen's clit, barely more than a tease, then slips her middle finger inside of Kristen, flicking her clit back and forth.

"How do you like it?" Charlize says, like they're talking about what kind of soda to get at McDonald's.

Kristen makes herself shrug. She can do nonchalant, she thinks, even with someone's hand in her. "However," she says. "I'm not picky."

"I could make you picky," Charlize says. Before Kristen can ask what the fuck that's supposed to mean, Charlize is kissing her and sliding her finger further inside, crooking it and thrusting in time with the motion of her thumb on Kristen's clit.

Fuck, that feels good - good enough that Kristen loses the thread quickly, moving with Charlize and fucking herself on Charlize's hand, until she comes with Charlize biting her shoulder. It's not until Charlize sits back on her heels that Kristen realizes she hasn't done anything to her, which is just…not acceptable, not when Charlize is towering over her and is definitely the hottest person Kristen's ever slept with. "Come here," Kristen says, tugging her down. She kisses Charlize, reaching back - with both hands - to unhook Charlize's bra. Charlize helps her get it off, and goes with it when Kristen gives up on finesse and just sticks her hand in Charlize's underwear.

Fuck, she's wet. She has to have been really into fingering Kristen, and somehow that's what makes Kristen arch up against Charlize, ready to go again in spite of herself. Not that that's her biggest concern right now, when she's rubbing Charlize's clit and Charlize is thrusting against her, moving so fluidly Kristen honestly isn't even sure she's a real goddamn person.

Charlize comes just as attractively as she does everything else, muffling short, sharp noises in Kristen's throat, then mouthing at it as she slows her hips down. Kristen pulls her hand out and shoots Charlize a questioning look, wondering - but Charlize shakes her head. "Normally only once," she says. "But you…"

She trails a hand down Kristen's body, so slowly that Kristen wants to smack her. She stops wanting that when Charlize touches her cunt again, though. She does it lightly, picking up on how sensitive Kristen is, and Kristen gives up on self-consciousness long enough to let Charlize make her come again.

She kind of figures things will be weird after. They usually are, with people she's slept with, Rob being pretty much the only exception. But Charlize just lies with her for awhile, and they kiss lazily, until finally Charlize slaps her ass and says, "Early wakeup call tomorrow. We'd better go to bed."

They're flying out tomorrow, to get ready for the US premiere. Kristen nods and gets up, awkwardly collecting her underwear. She tucks it into the pocket of her robe, making sure the robe is belted tightly for her quick run to her own room. "Bye," she says - then she sees her dress. "Um."

"Just go," Charlize says. "I'll hang the dress up, you can collect it in the morning."

She says it nicely, like she realizes how weird Kristen feels about this. Kristen nods. "Yeah, thanks," she says, and makes her escape before she can do any more damage.

She stares at the ceiling for awhile before she manages to fall asleep, wondering what the fuck she's doing. The ceiling, since it's a fucking ceiling, doesn't have any answers for her.

 

Kristen's not sure if it'll happen again. That question is dispelled pretty quickly, though. They fly back to the US in the morning, and then Kristen and Charlize have to do the Late Late show before flying to California for the premier the next day. Makeup gets them ready, and Craig stops by to say hi. It's fun, easy; Chris is going on Conan, so they'll be promoting all over the place, and Kristen actually looks pretty great for once. Charlize looks stunning, of course; Kristen doesn't even realize she's staring until Charlize catches her eye and winks.

Kristen flushes all over. Fuck, she shouldn't be so into this.

Craig's a funny guy, and Kristen hangs back and lets Charlize do most of the talking - and flirting, again. Kristen's catching on to how it's a marketing thing, but she still laughs nervously more than she really wants to.

They don't have any time to rest; they're flying to LA overnight. They get to the airport quickly, Kristen trading her dress for jeans and the usual "movie star at an airport" hoodie. She's expecting a low-key flight, so she's weirded out when Charlize plops down next to her in first class and whispers, "Ever joined the mile-high club?"

"Yes," Kristen whispers back, because Rob had been that kind of douche. Charlize looks surprised, but she recovers quickly. "Get some sleep, then," she says, leaning back in her seat. "You're going to need it."

Kristen thumps her head back against her own seat and closes her eyes, putting her headphones in. She absolutely isn't going to panic. That would be stupid. This is just…a thing, sure, but it's not a thing, and anyway, even if Charlize does want a repeat performance, it's not like they're going to date or something.

They get to LA just before seven East Coast time. "Come back to my place," Charlize says as they grab their bags.

Kristen glances to the side. Their handlers are hanging around, obviously, but Kristen trusts hers. She'll send them home for the night and carry her own bags, and they won't care.

"Okay," she says.

"Great." Charlize beams at her. "Let's get a taxi and send the muscle home, then."

Kristen half expects to get fingered in the taxi, not so much because she wants it as because whatever this game Charlize is playing is, she's obviously up for it. But Charlize stays on her side of the taxi, keeping her eyes to the front studiously enough that Kristen thinks maybe she was imagining the flirting earlier, and it really was a one-time thing.

That idea lasts long enough for them to get the bags inside. Then Charlize backs Kristen against the front door and whispers in her ear, "I'm going to eat you out."

"Okay, yeah," Kristen says, because it's not like she's going to turn Charlize down.

"Good," Charlize says, dragging her lips over Kristen's cheek and then kissing her. She presses Kristen against the door hard, fingers digging into Kristen's hips. Kristen feels overwhelmed, like she's drowning a little. But right now she can't imagine wanting to feel any other way.

"Shouldn't we go to bed?" she manages to say as Charlize mouths at her throat. She's wet and wants friction fucking yesterday, but she can't imagine Charlize just dropping to her knees right here and…oh God.

Charlize laughs, then nips at Kristen's shoulder. "Maybe," she says. She slides a hand under Kristen's shirt, palm warm against her stomach as she slides her hand up to cup Kristen's tits through her bra. "Or maybe I'll get you off right here."

"Fuck," Kristen manages. "Come on, just -"

"I could go down on my knees," Charlize says. She reaches down and flips open Kristen's fly, slipping a hand inside. "You'd like to see that, wouldn't you?"

"Stop fucking talking," Kristen says. She grabs Charlize and kisses her, arching her hips so she's fucking Charlize's hand.

"Fuck, okay," Charlize says. She pulls away, fixing Kristen with a stare. "Upstairs," she says. "Now."

When they get to the bed, Charlize pushes Kristen down roughly, straddling her and pulling her shirt off. Kristen manages to get her bra off, then says, "You too, come on," breaking away from Charlize long enough to unzip Charlize's pants.

"Not yet," Charlize says. She bats Kristen's hands away, then tugs Kristen's pants down. "Keep the bra on," she says. "I like it." She smirks up at Kristen, then takes off Kristen's underwear, too.

Kristen's shivering when Charlize pushes her legs apart. Charlize runs a hand over the outside of Kristen's thigh, saying, "Hey, come on," and kissing Kristen's knee.

"Just do it," Kristen says. She's trying for annoyed, but falls short.

"Because it's fun," Charlize says, and settles between Kristen's legs. She watches Kristen's face as she slowly, slowly runs a finger over Kristen's cunt.

"Come on," Kristen says. She knows she's whining, but she can't help it. "Just -"

Charlize ducks her head and licks Kristen's clit, slipping a finger inside of her.

"Oh, fuck," Kristen says. Her head thumps back against the mattress and she gasps for air, but Charlize doesn't let up. She tongues Kristen's clit and curls her fingers, smiling when Kristen thrusts her hips sharply.

After that, Kristen loses it a little. She's tense and sweating, her head spinning, more turned on than she's been in - a long time. Charlize brings her to the edge over and over, never quite letting her come, until Kristen's saying, "Please, please," over and over because it's all she can think.

Then Charlize sucks on her clit, hard, and hits her G-spot. After that, it's over. Kristen comes, moaning, one hand curling in Charlize's hair. Charlize lets up, but only to kiss Kristen frantically and slip her own hand between them to get herself off.

"Wait," Kristen manages. She covers Charlize's hand with her own. Charlize is wet and she moves frantically, like she's a fucking teenager.

"Fuck," Charlize says. Kristen presses down on her clit and moves her hand frantically, never varying her motion until Charlize goes stiff against her, gasping.

They lie together afterwards, Charlize curled around Kristen. Almost possessively, Kristen thinks, then locks down on the thought. There's no point to it.

"Why are we doing this?" Kristen says before she can cover her mouth and not say something that stupid.

Charlize shifts next to her. Kristen glances over, trying to be subtle about it; Charlize has stiffened and is looking away from Kristen.

"Why not?" she says finally, studiedly casual.

"I don't know," Kristen says. "You could fuck anyone."

"Yeah, but we're going to be traveling together. It's convenient."

That's a really good argument for not doing it, Kristen thinks, but maybe Charlize is just really good at being cool and not fucking things up with people she spends a lot of time with. "Sure," Kristen says. She aims for casual and falls short, so she buries her embarrassment by sitting up and adding, "I should probably go, huh."

"You don't have to." Charlize looks at her. "I don't get nearly as many paparazzi people as you do, and we can just tell everyone we had a sleepover."

When she says "sleepover", she drops her eyes and looks Kristen up and down. Kristen's still naked. It's a weird feeling.

"I guess," Kristen says. "I don't have to be back at my place till two or so."

"Hair and makeup," Charlize says. "Always fun." She rolls toward Kristen, all the tension dropping away as she cups Kristen's face in her hand. It mirrors what she did a couple days ago. Kristen tries to hold her gaze, but Charlize's eyes are intense and Kristen doesn't handle intense shit very well. She ends up looking away.

"Fuck," Charlize says quietly, and then she's kissing Kristen, pressing her into the bed.

They fuck again, and this time Kristen eats Charlize out. She starts trying to forget how making Charlize come makes her feel right away, because she doesn't need that shit. This is casual. She's keeping it casual.

She goes home after, walk-of-shaming it at barely eight. She slept on the plane, but now she sleeps again, taking a catnap before waking up so she can shower before her stylist arrives.

The red carpet is great, really. It's awesome. So what if Charlize talks her up and she, Charlize, and Chris end up goofing off together in front of tons of photographers? Chris is right there, and that covers for a lot. No one knows that she and Charlize are sleeping together. There's no reason for anyone to know, Kristen reasons, and that's the end of it: no one knows.

After, they have the night off before they go back to New York for some more press stuff. Kristen's pretty sure Charlize is going to stay in New York for awhile; Kristen herself is probably going to stay home, maybe call Rob and make him help her figure out what the fuck she's doing with her life.

But as they're climbing into the limo they're sharing with Chris and Sam, Charlize grabs her and whispers, so quickly Kristen's not sure she even heard it, "Come home with me again."

"I can't," Kristen tells her when they get in the limo. Sam throws her a curious look; Kristen shrugs. Chris looks like nothing's out of the ordinary, the bastard.

"Sure you can," Charlize says. She shoots Sam a look, like she's daring him to ask what's going on. Sam shrugs and settles back, apparently content to ignore them.

When the limo stops at Charlize's, Charlize looks at Kristen. Really looks, hard and expressionless, before she says, "Dare you," and steps out of the limo.

"Fuck," Kristen tells Chris and Sam. Then, stupidly, she follows.

Chris and Sam won't talk, she thinks giddily as she walks up Charlize's path. There's no reason for them to, and anyway, they're all friends. Just not all friends she sleeps with, like apparently she is with Charlize.

"I knew you would," Charlize says, locking the door behind them. She tosses her bag on the ground and toes her shoes off. Those she's more careful with, and she shimmies out of her dress and hangs it like it's made of diamonds. Which, actually, isn't that far from the truth.

"Don't want any couture designers mad at me," she explains with a smirk. "Here, let me help you with yours."

Kristen doesn't actually need help, but Charlize's hands are strong and warm, and Kristen's not stupid enough to lie to herself about how much she loves feeling like this. She lets Charlize undress her, hands guiding the dress down Kristen's shoulders and over her hips. She gets a reprieve when Charlize goes to hang the dress up, but then Charlize is coming back to her, mostly naked. Somehow, the effect isn't even ruined by the boob tape or the ridiculous makeup she's wearing.

"Let's go get cleaned up," Charlize says, brushing past Kristen to go up the stairs.

Kristen watches her ass in her green lingerie for a second before blinking and following.

They shower - not together, obviously. Kristen takes the guest room, then goes back to Charlize's room in a towel. She doesn't have enough of a rack to really keep the towel up, so she's sort of awkwardly holding it when Charlize comes out of the bathroom.

She's beautiful. Maybe, Kristen thinks, even more without all the makeup.

"Come here," Charlize says.

Kristen's tempted to say no, just to - who knows. Fuck with Charlize, maybe. But that would be stupid, and Kristen does actually want to get laid. So she walks over, letting Charlize take her hand on her towel and pull it away, so that the towel falls off.

Then Kristen's naked, which: awkward. But Kristen's into it, even when she shivers. Judging by the way Charlize smiles, eyes going from Kristen's head to toes and then back again, she's into it too.

"You look good," Charlize says.

She sounds all…warm and approving. Kristen looks away. "Yeah, so do you," she says tonelessly.

"Kristen," Charlize says. "Kristen."

Kristen looks at her. Charlize smiles, full of mischief. "You're blushing," Charlize says, and kisses her.

"I'm not," Kristen says. But she is. She can feel it.

"You are." Charlize pulls her in and kisses her again, the kind of long and slow kiss that makes Kristen's knees weak in spite of herself. Charlize smirks a little, like she knows what Kristen's thinking, and pulls her over to the bed.

They quit talking after that.

 

Kristen could probably list, right off the bat, all the reasons it's stupid. But she keeps sleeping with Charlize anyway. She knows, she knows this is like taking her bong out to the backyard and figuring the paparazzi will just be somewhere else that day. Even fucking Rob all those times wasn't this stupid. Charlize is a real envelope-pusher, too, flirting with her in interviews and then dragging her to her hotel room, or her house, or wherever. Kristen can't figure out what the point of it is for her, if it's some kind of ego trip or what. She seems to like making Kristen come over and over, but it's not like she stops Kristen from responding, or anything. Kristen just - doesn't get it.

She should talk to Charlize about it, probably. But when she thinks about it, curling her lashes in the bathroom one day, she can't help but laugh. Yeah, sure. A conversation about their feelings. That'll go over well.

The night before their press tour's officially over, Chris has a party in his room. An actual, honest-to-God party, with so much booze Kristen is honestly shitfaced halfway through the night. She has the awesome experience of sobering up while Chris gets louder and louder, until finally he's so drunk he goes from laughing and yelling to passed out.

"My room," Charlize whispers in her ear. "Come on."

Kristen, because she's still pretty drunk, let's Charlize pull her to her feet and out the door. She thinks maybe Charlize wasn't that quiet, though, judging by the look Sam gives them.

It doesn't matter, though, because Charlize pins her to the door as soon as they're inside, kissing her hard. Kristen's not going to be outdone, though. She feels weird, desperate and needy in a way she's pretty sure she shouldn't, considering that they're just buddy-fucking or whatever.

And the thing is, Charlize lets her. Charlize lets her hold Charlize's wrists, kiss her and bite at her lip. Charlize lets her push a leg between Charlize's, guide Charlize's hips until she's riding Kristen's leg and making sounds that are almost as needy as Kristen feels.

Fuck, she thinks drunkenly. Fuck, she is so far gone.

"Bed," Charlize says. She's shaking and staring at Kristen. "Come on, Kristen, bed. Now."

 

Charlize falls asleep almost right away, after they fuck. She's like that when she drinks, Kristen knows. Normally it's cute, but right now, Kristen is so fucking glad for it, because it means Kristen can sneak back to her room quickly.

They have a deal, even though they've never really talked about it. They don't follow each other afterwards. They part ways and that's it, until it happens again. So when Kristen sneaks out, that's it, she's done. She doesn't need to worry about Charlize waking up and asking her what's going on or whatever.

She's done, she thinks again. The press tour's over. They're flying home tomorrow, so they'll be together, but who cares? She's done.

Charlize doesn't say anything the next day. Sure, she's more distant than she's been since their first day on set, but that's pretty much what Kristen expects. There's no reason, anyway, to expect anything else. They fly home, and take separate taxis back to their places. And that's it.

Which is why Kristen winces when Rob calls her and, after she says hey in a totally normal voice, says, "Oh, for fuck's sake. You fucking sap."

"Fuck you," Kristen says. "What?"

"You're pining."

"No, I'm not."

"You are. Like a damn Victorian heroine. You're wasting away, I bet."

"Come on, man."

"You are. You look so thin, Are you not even eating? Does she distract you from -"

Kristen hangs up. Then she thinks better of it and texts, ur a jackass.

u only call when u want to sulk, is Rob's response.

He might have a point. Not that Kristen really wants to think about that right now. fuck off, she texts back.

A minute later, her phone rings.

"I really meant it," she says.

"Sure you did," he says. "So, tell me all about your tragic affair."

"It wasn't an affair. And it wasn't tragic. Isn't tragic. Fuck."

"Sure," he says. "Also, taking meth is just a day in the park, when you think about it."

She grits her teeth. "Come on, Rob."

"Okay," he says. "Well, anyway, you wouldn't believe what mum sent me."

He talks her ear off for almost an hour. She's never been so happy that he's the kind of douchebag who actually likes talking on the phone. When they hang up, she actually feels a lot better. Less insane about Charlize, anyway. She can move on. She's moved on from Rob, and shit, they're friends now. She's probably not really going to talk to Charlize anymore, so in theory, moving on should be even easier. Right? Right.

"Right," she says out loud, and goes to grab her bong.

 

A week passes, and nothing happens. Nothing at all. She spends half the time on her toes, expecting a text or at least some kind of explanation - but nothing, fucking nothing, happens. Charlize doesn't call her or text her, and Kristen spends most of the week locked in her house, getting increasingly gross. Kind of like Rob, actually, only not as dramatic because no one's as dramatic as Rob. By the end of it, she's pretty much done with feeling sorry for herself. She decides she's going to go grocery shopping, and she dresses up enough that no one will talk about how she's obviously sinking into depression and hauls ass to Whole Foods.

So that's how, when she's buying organic apple cider and some chicken, she gets the call from Ben, her manager, reminding her about the E! interview with Charlize in three days.

"Fuck," she says, loudly enough that even the other people in Whole Foods do that not-quite-looking-at-her thing.

"Is there a problem?"

"No - shit, no, everything's fine. Is this at my house?"

"Charlize's. Do you need me to send their prep questions over?"

"Just email them," Kristen says. "Look, Ben, I gotta go, I'm busy." She hangs up before he can protest.

She does get emailed the questions. They're all fluff, most of them really boring. Kristen should be able to blow through the interview no problem, and then she'll leave Charlize's and not fucking go back. It'll be easy, she tells herself.

It's not a very convincing party line, but it's the one that's keeping her sane.

She dresses up and then dresses up some more for the interview. Okay, so she's wearing jeans, but she does her makeup really carefully and actually washes her hair. It's kind of involved, for her. She wants a fucking award, or something.

Charlize answers the door when she rings the bell. "Kristen, hey."

Charlize looks calmer than Kristen thinks she's ever been in her entire life. Damn it. "Hey," Kristen makes herself say. "Is the guy here yet?"

"James? No, but he should be soon." Charlize blinks at her, then takes a quick step away from the door. "Come on. Of course, come in."

"Thanks," Kristen says, and walks inside. She feels so awkward, like she doesn't fit in her skin. It's ridiculous. She's twenty-two, she doesn't need this. "So," she says. "Um. How are you?"

"Good, I'm good." Charlize is playing with her bracelet, arms crossed awkwardly over her chest. She blinks at Kristen for a second, then says, "Water?"

"Yeah, sure," Kristen says. "Um, I'll go sit down."

Okay, she thinks as she walks out into the living room, maybe Charlize isn't calm. Somehow, that's even less reassuring.

She sits down on the couch and tries not to think about how she's fucked Charlize in her house, about how she's seen Charlize wandering around naked. It doesn't work, though. She's failing at not thinking about fingerfucking Charlize when Charlize comes back with two glasses of water.

"Last interview," Charlize says. "And then you're due to film On The Road, right?"

Kristen nods. "Yeah, filming's already started. I go there next Saturday."

"Five days."

It's a pointless comment, and Kristen doesn't know why Charlize says it. "Yep," Kristen says in response.

They sit there in silence. It's one of the most awkward things Kristen's ever done.

Finally, though, the doorbell rings. Charlize leaps to her feet and goes out into the foyer without saying anything else to Kristen. When she comes back, she's making jokes with James the E! reporter, laughing at his jokes, and is generally bubbly and warm and awesome.

Kristen does her best to smile and not act like an antisocial weirdo for the duration of the interview. But unlike Charlize, she's not a perfect actress when there's no director. She's realizing just now what she should have realized before: Charlize is just a really good liar.

They wrap up the interview in just over an hour. It's a long time for an interview, objectively, but it's still short enough that Kristen is seriously second-guessing her hardcore getting ready to go today. Charlize doesn't even blink when James says, "And that's a wrap, ladies. Thanks for your time."

"Have a good trip back out," Charlize says. "Here, I'll walk you out."

"I have to get going too," Kristen blurts out. She hops to her feet. "Yeah, I have to - go." She slips her shoes on and grabs her purse.

When she looks up, Charlize is smiling at her. It's a fake smile, Kristen's pretty sure. "Text me for sure," Charlize says.

For the benefit of James, since they were just talking up their newfound friendship. "Totally," Kristen says, and smiles, just as fake as Charlize.

Charlize walks her and James out together. Kristen doesn't look back, just gets into her car and drives away.

She gets blitzed that night. She has an old bottle of whiskey that someone gave her at some party, she really doesn't know who or when. It's been sitting around gathering dust, but now she grabs a two-liter of Diet Coke and gets hammered on it, the kind of mini-bender that would make her nutritionist cry.

She watches interviews with Charlize on YouTube, then smacks herself for being pathetic and goes outside to smoke, then comes back inside because she's just staring at the sky and thinking about fucking Charlize, then drinks some more, then lies on her couch and absolutely, positively, does not cry, but instead presses her face into a pillow so she can deny she's even tearing up. It's fucking pathetic, from start to finish, but in a way it feels good. Because this thing with Charlize, it was actually a thing, and now it's over for sure. The nails are in the fucking coffin. And it sucks, because Kristen really never intended to have a massive thing for her fucking older coworker, or to have a massive thing turn into sleeping together. For weeks, really.

She falls asleep drunk off her ass at three in the morning, and wakes up still drunk at ten. She pukes, then showers, then pukes again, then orders three plates of hashbrowns to be delivered. By two, she's feeling more human. Her head doesn't even hurt, thanks to the value-size ibuprofen bottle she keeps around.

She's thinking about calling up some friends to hang around three. That's when her doorbell rings.

She almost doesn't answer it, her brain suggesting anything from Ben to missionaries. But then, it's not like her address is public knowledge. so finally she tucks her hair behind her ears and goes to answer.

Charlize is standing there, hand raised to knock on the door.

Who even knocks anymore, Kristen thinks, staring at Charlize.

"Kristen," Charlize says. She says it quickly, then recovers, smiling at Kristen. "Can I come in?"

"Um," Kristen says. She takes a step back, though, and Charlize takes that as an invitation. She walks in, then turns to look at Kristen.

Kristen closes the door carefully. "We need to talk," Charlize says.

"Okay?" She means it to sound a lot more assertive than it does.

"Now," Charlize says. "Which way is your living room, this way?"

"That's the kitchen," Kristen calls after Charlize as she takes off down the hall.

"That works too," Charlize tosses over her shoulder. Kristen grits her teeth and hurries to follow her.

Charlize sits down at the kitchen table. She's pressing her hands together kind of hard; Kristen watches them shake a little, then looks away.

"We have to stop this," Charlize says when Kristen sits down across from her.

The light coming in through the kitchen window looks really good on Charlize. She looks professionally lit, all gold highlights in her hair and dreamboat eyes. And lips, Kristen thinks, and looks away.

"We have to stop this," Charlize says again. "It's not professional."

"We're not working together anymore," Kristen points out.

"That's beside the point," Charlize says. "It was unprofessional to start out with, and really, I blame myself. I'm older, and -"

"Could you just stop?" Kristen hears herself say.

To her surprise, Charlize does, blinking. "Kristen?"

Fuck it, Kristen thinks. She hates risk, she hates not knowing what's going on - but even more than that, she hates this bullshit Charlize is trying to pull, like she wasn't right with Kristen. "We both did it," Kristen says. "We fucked, okay, and we did it together, and it was awesome. So fine, it's over now, but you don't have to show up and lecture me. I know we made mistakes, okay, I was there."

"Kristen," Charlize says. She leans forward, expression all open and concerned.

Kristen can't take it. She hops to her feet. "Fuck you," she manages to say. "You're the one who kept flirting, grabbing me and acting all weird, and now you're talking shit about professionalism? I know professionalism, Charlize, that's not - fuck you."

Charlize stands, too, and Kristen suddenly remembers that Charlize hates other people having the upper hand more than she hates almost anything else. "That's what I'm trying to say," Charlize says. "It was unwise of us to -"

"Then why'd you do it?"

Charlize's mouth works soundlessly for a second before she says, "Excuse me?"

"If it's so stupid and unprofessional, if I'm just some massive mistake of yours, why'd you do it?"

Charlize stares at her, and stares, and stares. "You're not a mistake," Charlize says finally. "I just wanted to close things out."

"Bullshit," Kristen says. "You showed up here to attack me. I want to know why."

Charlize shakes her head. "You're young," she says. "You -"

"Shut the fuck up about how young I am, like you didn't fuck me over and fucking over."

And finally, finally, Charlize cracks. "Then what do you want me to say, Kristen, because this is the most ridiculous, stupid thing I've ever -"

"That!" Kristen yells. "That, okay, whatever you did it for, just fucking tell me!"

"Because I wanted to." She yells it, then takes a step back like she's surprised herself. When she speaks again, it's with a half-smile Kristen's pretty sure isn't fake, for once. And she's quieter. "I wanted to, okay? I don't actually do that many things I want to, not without consulting my people, measuring the pros and cons - you're in the business. You know how it is."

Kristen does, which is the only reason she doesn't tell Charlize to go fuck herself.

"But I wanted this," Charlize says. "I wanted you. More than I want most things, or people, or anything."

Kristen can't talk. She seriously can't. She can't think of words to say that will make any of this make sense.

"I like you," Charlize says. "I wasn't really lying in the interviews." She shrugs, an easy, fluid movement. "You're so young, and I don't…I should've stopped myself. But I didn't."

"That's stupid," Kristen finally manages to say.

"Excuse me?"

"Come on," Kristen says. "I'm not, like, jailbait. You didn't have to - break it off, over and over."

"You're the one who snuck out."

It's a good enough point that Kristen nods stiffly. "Fine," she says. "So we both fucked up. But it doesn't have to be over. I mean. It was good, right? And with someone who gets it and isn't weird about time away and everything, it could be cool."

Charlize makes a face. "You think that, because you're so young that you don't -"

"No," Kristen says. "C'mon, don't talk down to me. I'm not saying we're going to live happily ever after, okay, I'm just saying it makes more sense to try than freak out about what a mistake it was just because we never bothered to figure out what the fuck we were doing."

Charlize doesn't say anything for so long that Kristen's ready to take a flying leap for the doorway and, she doesn't even know, hide in the bathroom until Charlize leaves. But then Charlize says, "That's actually a good point."

"I know," Kristen says. It comes out more sarcastic than she meant it, but she doesn't really feel sorry about it.

"Okay," Charlize says. Then she adds, distantly, "Explaining my twenty-two-year-old girlfriend is going to take some work."

"I give great head," Kristen says recklessly. "It'll be worth it." She takes a step forward, then another one, until she's boxing Charlize in against the table.

"Hey," she says when Charlize doesn't look at her. "Come on, Charlize. It's just me."

Charlize does look at her, and - oh. Kristen maybe should've thought about how maybe Charlize was freaked out, too.

"We'll figure it out," Kristen says, leaning up and curling a hand around the back of Charlize's neck, pulling her down.

"If it ends badly, I'm only going to say I told you so," Charlize says when they pull apart.

"Sure, okay," Kristen says, and kisses Charlize again.

This time, they fuck in Kristen's bed. And for the first time since they started this, Kristen doesn't feel like she's hiding something. She fingers Charlize and she doesn't have to hide how much she loves it, how into it she is when Charlize comes against her hand, panting and cursing. She lets Charlize spread her out and kiss her everywhere, eat her out for what feels like hours - and after, Kristen curls up with Charlize and doesn't feel the slightest pressure for either of them to leave.

"That was good," Kristen says. "Hey, you should use a vibrator next time."

Charlize laughs a little. "Aren't you leaving soon?"

"Yeah," Kristen says. "But not for a couple days."

"Good point." Charlize has been drawing patterns on Kristen's arm, but now she shifts so that she can prop herself up on her elbows and kiss Kristen. "Maybe I'll just tell everyone you're my midlife crisis."

Kristen frowns. "Am I?"

Charlize laughs. Fuck, she's beautiful, Kristen thinks. "No," Charlize says. "That movie might have been, though."

Kristen surprises both of them by laughing, and laughing, and laughing. "Yeah, maybe," she says, and kisses Charlize again.

 

Two weeks later, she calls Rob. "Don't say anything," she says.

"How's the set?"

"Fine."

"I heard from -"

"I said don't say anything."

"Sure," Rob says. "Anyway, how's muff-diving going?"

She groans. "Come on."

"Carpet-munching? Bumping -"

"I'll hang up on you."

He laughs. "But really," he says. "Good job, and all that."

"Thanks."

"And if you ever decide your love life needs spicing up -"

"We'll get someone with a bigger dick," Kristen says.

"I'm sure you will." Rob pauses for a second, humming a little. "But," he finally says, "you are happy, aren't you?"

"Sure," Kristen says. "I mean, obviously."

"Good," Rob says. "I'm glad."

"Me too," Kristen says. She thinks about the last time she saw Charlize - over Skype, making fun of Kristen for her PB&J habit, and then…well. Other stuff. She smiles at the memory. "I really am."