"I like your dad"
Molly lifted her head very cautiously and waited a couple of seconds before crawling up the bed to sit the right way round, she was enormously relieved not to have any significant head rush, not as much as should have had anyway "But I never meant ….. to get slaughtered like that, didn't even notice I was till it was too late" She knew that was a tiny distortion of the truth, but still… "Sorry …"
He sat down and put his arm round her, tucking her comfortably against his side "I know you are, but even so, you should have bloody rung me, Molls, I was ….. getting a tad worried" He tightened his hold and shook her shoulders gently, thinking that was an understatement to beat all previous understatements, he'd been worried sick.
"I know, sorry" She didn't know what else to say and she was sorry, it wasn't a lie.
"Getting pissed on that stuff wasn't your fault, that wine of his can be fucking lethal ….." He snorted as a memory surfaced of a very happy, and exceedingly pissed duo, him and Elvis, outside in the street enthusiastically playing air guitar and singing their hearts out to the unimpressed neighbours at full volume even though Elvis was unfortunately tone deaf. They'd only stopped when an outraged Maggie had come bursting out of the front door and pushed them back inside. It had taken months for her to fully forgive him, even though she'd always lain most of the blame firmly at his father's door "I should know if anyone does"
"If you say so" She sniffed and took a large swig of the water out of the bottle he'd given her, trying desperately to take away the taste of whatever horrible dead furry thing was festering in her mouth "I dunno why I did it …. Well, yeah I do, not that it's any excuse and I know it sounds like I'm sorry for meself, but I 'ave 'ad a bit of a shit day"
"I know you have"
"Do you? Not sure you do" Molly wracked her slightly fuzzy brain cells looking for the right example to make a comparison that would hopefully explain it to him "Do you remember when we was in Brighton?"
"Oh yeah, of course I do, how could I ever forget?" Although she couldn't see his face Molly knew he was smirking at the memory so he definitely wasn't thinking about the same thing she was "Apart from anything else, you tried to fucking cripple me with that pink case that belongs to Bella"
"Not that, I weren't talking about that, and anyway that was you, it was your fault not mine …. Nah, I meant … do you remember when we was in the bar and you were being all broody and miserable 'n I said something … dunno what now, can't remember, something, 'n you looked straight down that posh nose of yours at me" She shook her head "The way you looked at me like that and decided I was dumb when you didn't even know me, didn't know nothing about me"
"I did not"
"Yeah you did … so I decided you were an up yourself posh twat with a stick rammed up your arse"
"You bloody asked for it"
"I know I did, but, come on, be fair, it didn't take me any time at all to find out just how bloody wrong I was, and the more we talked, the more I could see that you were about as far from dumb as it's possible to be" He paused "I thought you were fucking awesome"
"I always thought that was cos you fancied me"
"Well, yes, there was that as well"
Molly gulped down more water, and choked on it slightly so that it dribbled out the corners of her mouth and she had to wipe her chin with her back of her hand "I always thought I'd know straight off, you know, that I'd come out that interview and I'd know cos they'd tell me, that was probably me being bloody dumb, but then I was in there, and the Twat doing all the talking took one look at me and did the same thing you did, I opened me mouth to tell them me name 'n he decided I was dumb and would be better off working in a nail bar or something ….. he never even give me a chance ….. so then I didn't exactly warm to him either"
"Oh fuuuuck ….. you didn't hit him did you?"
"Nah … what do you take me for?" She could hear the rumble of laughter as it vibrated in his chest and began to giggle herself even though it wasn't funny "Nice idea though"
"Would you like me to go and find him and do it for you?"
"Yeah, could you?"
"Of course, remind me and I'll put it on my 'to do' list"
"Ta ….. " She pulled a face and chewed at the corner of her bottom lip "He obviously didn't fancy me like you did ….. mind you, I didn't fancy him either, he was a complete knob"
"I'm bloody glad to hear it" Charles pecked a kiss on the top of her head "And what about the other two?"
"Panel of three, right?" she nodded "That's what panel interviews are all about, it's a consensus thing so that it isn't purely down to one person's opinion, in case that person is a complete arsehole"
"Yeah, I know, but he was so shitty to me that I stopped thinking about them others, and just kept trying to, dunno, make him see he was wrong about me, and that even if I did fuck up at school and even if me record from there isn't the best, I've worked really hard since then to … change all that … but he didn't wanna listen, just ignored me when I tried to explain, took no bloody notice at all. He kept on that he didn't see 'ow I could 'ave done me job properly at the same time as studying, so I must 'ave been sleepin' when I shouldn't 'ave been, when I was being paid to look out for people"
"Stupid little fucker, but hey, the other two will have a say in it as well, it won't all be down to him Molly, so let's wait out on the worrying until we know shall we? And then we can sort it if we need to"
"Of course we" He stroked her hair back from her forehead and kissed the top of her head again as his arm tightened around her shoulders and he pulled her against him "We're a team aren't we?"
"Your Dad said you love me"
"Did he now? Lovely … and why did he do that?"
"Not sure, think it might have been cos he was a bit pissed …. and I said I'd let you down"
"You didn't let me down, you haven't let anyone down"
"Felt like it, felt like I'd ruined everything, that things would be all different and I didn't want things to change, didn't want to be on me own without you and I was afraid that that was what was gonna happen"
"Why would you think that?" He paused and took a deep breath, shaking his head "Things change all the time Molly, but not between us, never between us, I love you and I've been telling you that for … two years, so I'm surprised that it came as news to you. What? Suddenly my dad says it and it's all different …. suddenly you believe it, is that what you're trying to say?"
"Nah ….. well, yeah … I s'pose … a bit, sorry" Molly tried to tilt her chin up far enough to be able to look at his face but couldn't "I've always believed it, you know, when we was together … but then after I'd think about it, 'n I've always known you're a bit out of my league"
"What? What the fuck are you talking about? League, what league? …"
"That I'm quite good enough, not really, not like …. well, there's lots I can't do, like cook 'n drive 'n that, and I don't talk posh but I thought that if people saw I was maybe a bit clever then none of them things would matter as much …"
"Listen very carefully you, are you listening? I. Don't. Fucking. Care, not about any of that stuff, it doesn't matter if you can't cook, I can't either, or if you can't drive, none of it matters, you can learn to do any of that stuff ….if you want to that is" He took a deep breath "That weekend in Brighton, you were right, I was … fucking miserable and … lonely, and then you walked into my life and changed all that, I thought the army was all I needed .. or wanted in my life ….. until I met you" He shook his head slowly from side to side and then smiled "I fell in love with you the minute you gave me that condom and told me they'd be able to see my dick from outer space or was it the Nasa Space Station …?" He started sniggering at the memory.
"I never …" She paused "Did I? Anyhow we was robbed, it didn't glow, only the wrapper"
"Don't think I noticed" He laughed "I just wanted you so badly"
"Oh yeah, but then come to think of it, I was already in love with you by then, ever since you told me your hobbies were gardening and cooking …. "
"I lied … "
"I know … but that didn't stop me falling in love with you …. And I've been in love with you ever since"
Molly tried again to see the expression on his face before she said anything else, but couldn't.
"That night in that bar, you know, when you and me was sitting together all squashed up on that sofa, listening to the Sunglass Superdick being a …. dick … I kept wondering what it would be like to kiss you, and wishing the rest of them would just kindly piss off so I could find out"
"I'm surprised you have to ask" He kissed the top of her head again "You didn't want to kiss me next day though when we went running, as I remember it you were bloody mad at me"
"Nah I wasn't …. Yeah I was … but I bloody didn't wanna kiss you cos I was too busy trying not to die"
"God, I love you, I love you when you're so bloody independent, and I love you when you try and make people believe you're tough as old boots, like you did to me that day, when underneath IK know just how soft centred you are … and sometimes, like that day, just how completely bloody silly…"
"Oi, who you calling silly?"
"You .. but I did say not always, just sometimes" Charles lifted her onto his lap "And you're also very beautiful all the time and ….."
"You're not too shabby looking yourself"
"Shut up and find your own compliments …. Now, where was I? … Oh yep, you're bloody gorgeous and incredibly sexy … and you're very clever and very funny and ever since that weekend whenever you're not with me I can't sleep because I can't stop thinking about you"
"Don't always get much sleep when I am with you either, do you?" Molly giggled and squirmed about on his lap enjoying the effect she was having as his eyes darkened satisfactorily and her shit day from hell started to fade away, everything was beginning to feel right.
"Very true.. now bloody sit still, you're distracting me and we need to talk"
"Let's start with how much I love you because of how you're not going to insist on me getting down on one knee, you're going to be very considerate of my war wounds"
"What would you wanna do that for?" Molly stopped giggling, the conversation suddenly felt as if it had taken a turn and become serious "Why are you talking about going down on one knee, well for what exactly? SHIT ….. You're not gonna ask me to marry you or something, are you?"
"Nope, wasn't going to ask if you wanted the 'or something' but yup, I was asking you if you'd like to get married"
"Are you serious? What me, get married to you?"
"No not really, just couldn't think of anything else to talk about … of course I'm serious and of course to me, I'm not going to ask you if you'd like to get married to someone else am I?"
"Molly, ever since the night we walked along the sea-front in Brighton I've wanted to make you happy, look after you, I thought you knew that"
"I'm just not sure what I'm s'posed to say"
"What, you're not sure?"
"Of course I'm sure I wanna marry you" Molly could no longer stop the laughter that was bubbling up in her chest "Just keep expecting you to say 'sorry that was my idea of a piss-take' or something, so I s'pose I was giving you time to think about it a bit more, and anyway what if I want you to get down on one knee and ask me properly"
"Never mind that, which bit of this is funny, it's not funny, so why are finding it so fucking hilarious? Is it the marrying me bit or the getting down on one knee?"
"Never mind about war wounds, at your age you'll have to be careful, you might have trouble getting up again …. Nah, nah, I'm sorry, sorry I didn't mean it, honestly, I were just messing .. and you know I don't think you're old … and none of this is funny, it's … just I can't 'elp laughing cos I'm dead happy … and you don't 'ave to get down on one knee, I promise"
…. yet given up hope that you'd all have had enough to drink by the time I got up that you'd laugh at my jokes, and there'd still be some of you who didn't know that it was down to me organizing a weekend away that these two even met in the first place. A weekend away in Brighton, and I know what you're all thinking, but you can stop that right now, I can assure you these were not those sort of weekends away and that they were separate, just a coincidence that we'd picked the same hotel"
He paused to allow the dutiful laugh to die away.
"Molly here was on a hen night with her friend Phoebe"
He inclined his head in Phoebe's direction and grinned at her as he gave her a small wave of acknowledgement, apparently oblivious to the fact that she was almost purple with embarrassment. Phoebe was on a knife edge of anxiety that he might say something, anything that would lead to disclosures in front of friends and in fact in front of anyone who knew her, especially her husband.
"And I'd dragged a reluctant Charlie here along to a small reunion, and dragged is the right word, he was kicking and screaming every inch of the way, and only changed his mind later when for some reason I've never quite been able to work out, this beautiful girl here picked his ugly mug" He patted Charles on the shoulder "when she could have had well, the pick of the crop"
He stopped short of pointing at himself even if his inference was clear.
"It was obvious to the rest of us how things were going when Charlie here insisted we had to trace which particular nightclub she was in out of the odd five hundred or so that are on the seafront, so that he could see her safely back to the hotel …. But it would have been tragic if he hadn't been able to find the right one because as anyone can see from just looking at them today, they are made for each other… although saying that I'm still not sure what a girl like that who is not only very beautiful but clever enough to be training to be a Doctor sees in him " He smirked as Charles shook his head "Charlie and I have known each other for more years than we care to admit and I have never seen him as happy as he has been since he met Molly, and especially as happy as he is today, not even when he was blind drunk when we were wet behind the ears and learning to be baby officers…..
Molly switched off listening to Elvis as he carried on with tales of exploits at Sandhurst and thought, not for the first time, how much he loved the sound of his own voice and being the centre of attention; and how much she wished he would shut up. She knew Charles had had to ask him, it was a sort of foregone conclusion that Superdick would be best man, but she was a tiny bit concerned that he was going on a bit and Dave had already tried to set up some drinking game with the lads, a game that the Corporal had put the kybosh on before it had even really got going, but as usual her dad badly needed a minder.
She caught Belinda's eye and they both winced, so it was obvious that she'd been thinking along the same lines, probably about both of them, Dave …. and bloody Elvis. All her mum had said when Charlie and her had told her they were getting married was that they would have very beautiful babies, so that Charles had put his head back and roared, had said it was an interesting idea so that she'd kicked him, hard, she could well do without her mum and Nan going on about it every time she spoke to them. It was all she needed when sometimes her biological clock was ticking so loud it was in danger of deafening her, but she had to finish her training and qualify, so she could get a job near where he was stationed first. She was fed up with snatching the odd few hours and days here and there in her bedsit in Bristol, or of being together in Bath and trying to keep their hands off one another with his mum and dad around. Getting a home to share all the time, not just some of the time, was all she really wanted.
….. and finally I'd like you all to join with me in wishing the very beautiful Molly and the not so beautiful Charlie a very long and happy life together…."
Molly heard Charlie's tiny embarrassed mutter that he didn't know how many times he had to tell him it was Charles and not Charlie, and that 2 Section were never going to let it go, Elvis didn't seem to hear, or if he did, he took no notice.
"And for those of us who haven't yet been lucky enough to find our own soulmate, as Charlie calls her, well we can but dream that one day we'll all be as lucky as he is today….."
He held his glass up in the air towards them and waited for everyone to stand up and look in their direction ….
"Ladies and Gentlemen, a toast, the Bride and Groom"
I hope you'll be very happy"
A/N: Thank you to everyone who stayed with me from the chance meeting to the wedding, and I hope you enjoyed this last chapter. I don't know whether to be excited or nervous about S3 - but am keeping everything crossed for a lot more CJ this time.
To all the lovely people who've mentioned it in all sorts of ways over the past little while, it hopefully won't be long now until my next visit to The Barn is ready to go xx