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Catherine Earnshaw [userpic]
Being Friendly - Charlotte/Terri
by Catherine Earnshaw (giantessmess)
at April 25th, 2006 (01:40 pm)

Title: Being Friendly
Author: giantessmess
Fandom: All Saints
Pairing: Charlotte Beaumont/Terri Sullivan
Rating: PG
Words: 1,329
Disclaimer: Characters are property of Channel Seven/Southern Star. No profit is being made.
Spoilers/Info: Set in series 8, post-miscarriage. For givemethegun, who wanted Charlotte/Terri

You’re good at watching people.

Terri’s hard to read, but only because she makes it so easy to talk to her. You often wonder if she’s hiding something. Then you realise she’s just bottled up all the parts of her that leave her open to idiots intent on hurting her. Like Mitch. Let’s face it, the guy caused her a decent amount of pain when he was alive. Love is pain. And then what did he do? He died, right when things seemed to be settling. He died and left her with what? Pneumonia. Agoraphobia. Flings with ED residents, and all the years she still had to endure with those bottled-up emotions.

People assume a lot of things about you, but being alone is not only something you’ve gotten used to – you like your own space. You like your flat, your two dogs and the clean surfaces that nobody else disturbs.

That’s something you and Terri have in common, you’re both better off alone. Her, because of her undying love for a dead man. You, because when have you ever been happy in a relationship? And no, Vincent doesn’t count. Towards the end, it was like being married to your brother.

“You need to stop giving me all these Friday night shifts.”

Terri looks up from her roster sheet. She has an amused curl to her lip.

“You’ve never complained before,” she says.

“Well, I’d like one occasionally, thanks.”

She smiles and shakes her head. “Is this your way of telling me your lovelife’s picking up?”

You raise an eyebrow. “Jesus, are you picking on me?”

“You want a Friday night off?” Her tone of voice doesn’t give away the amusement in her eyes.

“It’s just a night, Terri!”

She’s enjoying your discomfort too much. Smiling, she nods and makes a note on the sheet in front of her.

“Is she anyone I know?” she looks up at you.

“I just want the time to myself,” you insist.

She shakes her head “I’d like to meet her, when you’re up for showing her off to your friends.” She pauses. “You do consider me a friend, right?”

“Terri, listen…” You realise you’re clenching your hands, unconsciously.

“Charlotte?” She’s trying hard not to smile, like she doesn’t need your reply to know the answer.

“I’m not seeing anyone, ok? I haven’t since all that crap after Addy.” you exhale. “Now, can you just give me the damn night off?”

She sighs, and puts on a mask of seriousness.

“Honestly Charlotte, all you had to do was ask.”

***

You think Terri’s trying to hit on you. No, just the thought of it is bloody stupid. Too stupid even for you to consider.

But she gives you the Fridays off. She smiles at you – no, flirts. She flirts and says, “Pity you’re not going somewhere special.”

Your mouth is wide open. “And who says I’m not?”

“Charlotte.” She’s teasing you. Her eyes stray a little too suggestively.

“Maybe,” you swallow. “Maybe you could come with me, sometime.”

She looks a little rattled, as if she hadn’t expected you to take her bait.

“Well…” she swallows.

“Look,” you jump in quickly. “I was kidding. Really, I didn’t-”

“I’d love to.”

“What?”

Terri’s expression doesn’t waver, but she also doesn’t look like she’s talking about the same thing you are.

“Let’s make it a Saturday, though,” she flicks through the rosters, not meeting your eye. “Here, next week. I’ll give us both the night off.”

“Saturday.”

“Well, I can’t get us both a Friday until…” she studies the page. “No, it’s a while off.”

“Terri?”

“And I’ll book the place…The one I have in mind? Quite impressive, it has these little pastries...”

“Terri.”

She still isn’t looking at you.

“Terri, do you ….do really you wanna do this?”

She looks at you incredulously. “Do I really want to have dinner with you on a Saturday?”

“Dinner.” You wish you don’t have that heavy feeling in your chest, as you clarify the obvious. “ Dinner, with a friend.”

“That’s right.” She leans towards you a little. “You do consider me a friend?”

It’s a bloody broken record.

“Yeah – yes.” This is so frustrating. “Terri, of course I value your friendship.” You let the last word hang in the air.

“Good,” she says with a slight smirk, as if she’s enjoying a joke she won’t let you in on. You find your eyes lingering on the way she bites her lip. Then she shoots you a look.

“Don’t you have patients to see to, Charlotte?”

“Yeah.” You study her suspiciously. “Right.”

She doesn’t meet your eye.

***

Terri picks you up at your flat. It’s all a bit strange, actually – you open the door and there she is, fresh lipstick, and a gorgeous little dress. You can’t settle your eyes anywhere decent.

“Ready?” She tilts her head to meet your eyes.

“Uh…yeah.” You shake your head and smile. “I can’t see myself fitting in at whatever place you’ve picked.”

“You’re ravishing,” she teases. “Let’s just go.”

All through dinner she teases and flirts. Or you imagine she does. But you can’t get over the fact that this is Terri Sullivan. This is you and Terri, and the idea that this is any kind of date is just too surreal.

“The food can’t be that bad,” she nods at you, at the way you’ve been picking at your plate all night.

“No, it’s…great.” You smile uncomfortably, eyes unable to settle. “I’m not all that hungry, somehow.”

Terri shakes her head, smiling to herself again.

“Terri?” She only smiles again. “What’s so amusing?”

“You.” She shrugs at your immediate confusion. “Charlotte, there’s no need to be nervous.”

“Nervous? I’m not nervous.”

“Good, because this is just dinner.”

“Between friends.”

She smiles. “You do consider me a friend, don’t you?”

You feel like throttling her. “For the last time, yes.”

“Because sometimes I wonder, you know.”

You shake your head. “For godssake Terri, I don’t get how you’re uncertain about this. You're gorgeous, and funny, and amazing. I adore you, alright?”

She curls her lip in a triumphant smile. “I adore you, too.” It’s like all the air has left the room. She looks at you, a little shyly now. “But I don’t think of you as a friend, exactly.”

Your heart starts beating much too fast.

“Oh.” Oh.

She looks suddenly worried. “Maybe I should apologise. I didn’t mean to freak you out.”

“No…you didn’t.” It’s amazing that you’re shocked by this. She’d given you so many hints.

“Because I’m not, well…gay.”

“Well, great.”

“At least that’s what I thought.” Terri is speaking much too quickly. “But you turn up at work, looking so...well, it’s the way…and those singlets…” Then she blushes. “I’m sorry.”

“Sorry? No, don’t be sorry.”

“But I am sorry. And you’re right,” she lets out a breath. “We’re friends.”

“I don’t think of you as a friend at all,” you blurt out. Then you immediately regret it. “God, you know…what I mean.”

“No, I don’t actually.” She says, sounding amused.

You kick yourself for being anything but suave. “Maybe we should…we could date.”

“Isn’t that what this is?” Terri teases. You let out an abrupt laugh.

“You’re unbelievable.”

“Why thank you.”

“Will you? Date me, I mean.”

She lets out a laugh, taking hold of your hand. “I’ve expended way too much energy trying to ascertain if you actually…if you were even attracted to me.”

You lean forward and capture her lips in a kiss, arms shaking as they support you.

“Do you have any Fridays free?” you say, feeling brave.

She stares at you appreciatively, letting out a breath. “I just might.”

---
end

Comments

Posted by: Catherine Earnshaw (giantessmess)
Posted at: April 26th, 2006 04:10 am (UTC)
alex/olivia - by aleatory_6

I'm so glad you liked it. I wasn't sure, because it was a bit happyfluffy.

anyway, definitely not a fic in a day ;p This one was more like a month and a bit. I write out the whole draft usually, then let it sit for a while before going over it with an editing comb (..ha, and even then - *fixes typos*)
Hope your dinner wasn't too burnt ;)

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