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let it rain (outside, but not in our hearts)

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There’s the heavy-heavy clatter of rain on the window pane, loud like white noise in Charlotte’s head, and right now she and Sasha are the only ones in the house, Sasha curled up against her side on the couch as the TV blares on in the background. Charlotte doesn’t understand why anyone would ever volunteer to go out in this weather, but supposes that she and Sasha are lucky they have girlfriends who would: Bayley insisted they needed some snacks and somehow managed to get Becky to go with her to the store. She supposes that Becky’s used to it, being from Ireland – it’s always rained whenever Charlotte’s been there for the European tours – but Bayley? That, Charlotte really doesn’t get. She puts it down to Bayley’s constant energy and cheer, which is something Charlotte doesn’t always get, either, though she sure is glad to have Bayley here. It would throw them off balance if she wasn’t, Charlotte thinks. With the four of them, they fit.

Becky and Bayley are back soon enough – Charlotte hears the front door open, and then the sound of the two of them talking in the hall – and they’ve both got a bag from the store still in hand when they appear in the lounge sans shoes and coats. Charlotte can’t tell what’s in either of the bags, but they probably bought way more than what’s needed.

“Hi!” Bayley makes her way over first, her greeting and her grin just as bright as ever as she sets the bag in her arms onto the coffee table in front of Charlotte and Sasha. Becky follows, dumping her bag on the table, too.

“Aren’t you two sweet?” Becky teases when she catches sight of how close Charlotte and Sasha are on the couch. Usually, it’s her and Bayley who are the more cuddly ones, while Sasha rolls her eyes and pretends no, she doesn’t want a hug, thanks very much. (These days, they all pretty much see through Sasha’s pretences, but they let her do it all the same. Charlotte understands.)

Bayley decides that she has to react to the two of them, too: she awws and steps closer, trying to join them on the couch, but Sasha stops her from coming any nearer.

“Trust me, I would actually love a hug from you right now, just not while you’re still all wet and cold from the rain out there,” Sasha says. Charlotte has to agree with her.

“I’m afraid I’m gonna have to pass for now, too,” she says, pulling Sasha into her a little more. Bayley and Becky still look soaked to the skin, even though they’d taken off their coats in the hall – that’s how wet it is outside. Sasha, on the other hand, is dry, is warm. “Maybe when you’ve gone and dried off a bit? And the two of us can get the snacks sorted out?”

That’s their cue to head upstairs, and Charlotte bats Sasha on the arm.

“Hey,” she says. “To the kitchen, then?”

Sasha groans, but says, “Fine,” and follows her to the kitchen all the same. They take the bags of food with them, and get most of it sorted out into bowls on a tray on the coffee table. Charlotte knew it: they really don’t need everything Bayley and Becky bought. Not for now, anyway.

They’re re-joined by a thankfully much drier, visibly more huggable looking Becky and Bayley. Becky’s got her dressing gown on over her clothes, but Bayley’s gone all out with fluffy socks that match hers, too, and there’s a soft blanket from the basket at the foot of their bed in her arms. They take the rest of the space on the couch, Bayley sitting on Charlotte’s other side and Becky taking Sasha’s. Bayley drapes the blanket lengthways across the four of them, and Becky picks up the TV remote from the table.

“So,” she says, “what does everybody want to watch?”

“I wanna watch when I beat Charlotte for the title in NXT,” says Sasha, nudging Charlotte in the arm, smirking.

“And I wanna watch when Bayley beat you for it,” Charlotte says, not missing a beat.

“Hey, how about no wrestling for today,” Bayley says, ever the peacemaker.

“Yeah, it’s supposed to be a day off, anyway,” says Becky, and she selects Netflix instead of the Network. “So no wrestling! Again – what does everybody want to watch?”

Bayley and Sasha both shoot out their choices from either side of Charlotte, but Charlotte doesn’t give a suggestion herself yet, reaching out for one of the bowls on the table instead and offering it around. She’ll let them figure it out, though she knows that they’ll probably end up indulging Bayley to start with, anyway – that’s just the way things go.