“You love him, don’t you?”
Charlotte snapped back into reality, coughing just slightly on her drink and turning to look at James. “I’m sorry? What?”
James gestured with his drink towards Stephen, where Charlotte had been subconsciously staring. “You love him, don’t you? Might as well not try to deny it. I can see it all over your face.” James smirked and took another swig of his beer.
“I don’t know what you talking about,” Charlotte tried, but she had to admit it was pretty weak, even for her. James raised an eyebrow, and Charlotte muttered, “Oh, shut up.” And took another long swing of her own drink. “Just—keep your theories to yourself, okay?”
James tapped the side of his nose and smiled. “Don’t you worry, little angel, I’ll only do what I think is best for you. Now, if you’ll excuse me.” And James made a bee line straight for Stephen. Charlotte groaned to herself, downed the rest of her drink, and turned and left the main room of the party. Charlotte checked in a couple of different dressing rooms and green rooms until she found one that didn’t have half-drunk adults groping at each other like teenagers. When she was finally, blissfully, alone, Charlotte sank down onto the little couch in the dressing room and said quietly to herself “Well, you’ve gone and fucked that up, haven’t you?” Before dropping her hands over her eyes and sitting in dark silence.
It was less than ten minutes later when she head “Charlie? Charlie, are you in there?” It was Stephen. Of course it was Stephen. It couldn’t possibly be anyone else.
Charlotte took a steadying breath, and sat up. “Yeah, Steve, I’m here.” The words were barely out of her mouth when Stephen stuck his smiling head around the door jam. Charlotte stood up to match him, although she was a good six inches shorter than him, and was never going to actually be able to match him.
“So, I have a quick question for you.” He reached out and tucked a piece of hair behind Charlotte’s ear.
“What could that be?”
“Well, is what James just told me true? Or is he having a good at my expense?
“Well, I guess that would be depending on precisely what James told you.”
“Well, he said that he’s pretty sure you have some kind of crush on me.” Charlotte tried to read Stephen’s expression, but it was perfectly neutral, and absolutely no help at all.
With a sigh, she decided to just be honest. What was the worst that could happen? Well, he could tear her heart out and stomp on the pieces, but—well, there would be worse things in the world.
“Yeah, S. I’ve got some kind of crush on you.” His face cracked into a wide grin, which made Charlotte’s knees go weak against her will.
“That’s very, very good.” Stephen slipped his arm carefully around Charlotte’s waist, and she let herself be pulled in close, “Because I have some kind of crush on you.” He didn’t kiss her, but he didn’t need to. He just held her close for a moment, and then stepped away. “So, dinner. Tomorrow night, yes?”
“Yes. That’s wonderful.”
“Excellent. I’ll leave you to do the little excited skip that I know you want to do but don’t want me to see.”
Stephen slipped out of the room just as quickly as he came in. Charlotte smiled, and in spite of herself, did an excited little skip. She had a date with Stephen, and that was great.