Winter in Chi-Town

Chapter- 16


There was nothing quite like waking up in the arms of the one you love. Moreover, for the hundredth time in a week, Charley found it hard to believe that things had turned out the way they had.

Her head was pillowed on Vinnies shoulder, her arm strewn across his waist and his arm around her, holding her as close as possible against him.

Mmm….how did she ever manage to sleep without him in her bed?

Charley trailed her eyes up the length of him, a smile pulling at her lips at his peaceful, boyish expression.

To her, he was a walking contradiction. He was rough around the edges but gentle, invigorating yet exhausting, chauvinistic but empowering and the list went on. With her, he was a million things at once and pulled it off effortlessly.

There was noise in the guestroom, and a moment later, noise downstairs. Probably the guys in from the scoreboard. Though she didn't want to, Charley figured she had better get up, get moving, and play the good hostess.

The moment she shifted her weight off her warm hunk of martian mouse, though, his eyes shot open and his grip on her constricted at her sudden movement.

"Annnnd just where are you goin'?"

Charley relaxed back against him and smiled. "I didn't know you were awake."

"Only the past few minutes."

"I think the guys are here. I should-"

Vinnie encouraged her head back to his shoulder, his thumb caressing her shoulder through the oversized t-shirt she had worn to bed. "Let 'em wait."

Charley laughed. "You say that now but if you were-"

"Yeah, yeah," Vinnie interrupted.

Charley grinned and gave him a squeeze. They were quiet for a moment, Vinnies fingers absently running over her bandaged wrist.

Charley took a breath. "So…with Ben… I know, before, I said I didn't want to know but…what happened to him?" She shifted to lie on her stomach, her upper body resting against Vinnie's chest.

When she peered down at him, his expression was grim.

Vinnie sighed and reached up to tuck stray strands of auburn hair behind her ear.

"I mean… I know you said he-"

"He almost killed you."

"But what-"

"No, I mean he actually almost…"

Charley blinked. Although the experience was only a few days ago, she knew she didn't remember everything. She remembered waking up in Ben's basement; the long hours spent freezing and dreading Ben's imminent return.

"When we got there, I… some of this is a blur to me too, Charley-girl." Vinnie paused and shook his head. "I saw him on you and that was it. I remember Throttle pulling me off the bastard and seeing you lying there…" Vinnie shuddered and tugged her down to him so he could sweep his lips against her cheek and bury his face in her hair. He ran his fingers along the fading bruises around her neck. "You weren't just lying there… and I about lost it. Throttle got you breathing again and we got you the hell outta there."

Charley swallowed hard. She hadn't known how close she was to…. If they hadn't gotten there…

Charley blinked back tears and leaned down to kiss him. She pulled back and smiled.

"My hero," she said, softly. "Did you… the guys…did they…? I mean is Ben…"

Vinnie sighed and shook his head angrily. "No. We left him there, then Modo and Throttle went back and gave him a talkin' to that he's not gonna forget. You don't have to worry about him ever again."

Charley nodded and laid her head back on his chest. His arms came around her and she was enveloped in the thoroughly secure and loved feeling that she hadn't known she was missing. "I know."

Charley sighed.

She asked, she knew and now she could stop wondering.

The day wore on slowly. After breakfast, the trio had spent most of the day introducing Stoker and Harley to all the fun that the snow provided.

Therefore, after the clean up, Charley was left to her own devices.

It took some time to talk herself into it but Charley finally accepted that the mountain of paperwork, tedious and mind numbingly boring as it may be, needed to get done.

Although she'd hate to admit it, she didn't feel up to any real physical work. She was definitely still stiff and achy.

Once most of her receipts were filed and her eyes grew tired from the strain of staring at a computer screen , she called it a day and closed up shop with no intention of doing much of anything until the holidays were over.

It didn't seem likely, but that was the plan, nonetheless.

She hoped introducing Christmas and all its festivities to Stoker and Harley was as much fun as it was with Throttle, Modo, and Vinnies during the first December they'd spent on earth.

She had a few ideas that would be new to the trio as well.


The furry crew had left for the sledding hills earlier this afternoon. When she went inside the house was surprisingly quiet. Maybe she'd have enough time to get a shower before the mice came home.

Charley made it up to her room and pulled off her sweater. She paused when she glanced up into the mirror and saw Vinnie fast asleep on her bed. A much better distraction than checking her bruised appearance. It was a bit of a surprise; she hadn't heard anyone come home.

Yet there he was.

He was adorable when he slept. One of the only times he truly looked relaxed and peaceful.

The naughty part of her psyche that hadn't been allowed out to play in an awfully long time sent out a spark.

Charley quietly crossed over to the bed and ducked to brush a kiss across his cheek. "Vinnie…" she whispered.

Nothing.

She smiled and crawled onto the bed, casting a leg astride him. She leaned forward, peppering soft kisses across his face. "Vinnie….you got a warm and half naked girl in your lap….you really want to miss out on this?"

He stirred when her wandering kisses took a path down his throat. He stretched beneath her and his warm hands found her thighs, his eyes blinking open.

Charley grinned, dipping to nibble at his neck again. "Finally."

"Charley…" the moan that tumbled through his lips had a warm tingle rushing up her spine. "Gods, sweetheart, what are you doing?"

Charley sat up, the way she pressed intimately against him wrangled another moan from the mouse. "What's it look like?" she asked with an innocent tone.

"Where is everybody?"

Charley smirked down at him. "Does it matter?"

Vinnie blinked, then grinned. He reached up to tangle his fingers through her hair and pulled her down to him so he could claim her lips.

"Nope," he mumbled against her lips.

His hands glided over the smooth skin of her back, pausing to tickle her sides and chuckling into her mouth when she giggled against him and nipped at his lips.

She'd never get over the feel of his lips moving against hers. The way he worshiped her with his mouth, warm tongue caressing hers, the way he moaned into her, the way his hands ran over her skin, leaving goose bumps in their wake. The way he made her feel cherished with little moments like these.

On first meeting, he'd seemed so one-dimensional. Now, truly knowing him, there wasn't anything further than the truth.

This was the kind of kiss that would be so easy to get lost, and honestly, the first of its kind in the past eventful days.

But, as if on cue, a clear but distant boom broke them apart.

She should've predicted this sort of interruption but she pouted anyway.

There was a rustle of movement downstairs and soon Modos voice floated up the stairs.

"Hey, Vin! You up there? Time to saddle up, bro!"

Charley sighed and Vinnie shot her an apologetic smile. "10-4, Modo!" he shouted towards the door.

"Can I-"

Vinnies eyes widened. "No, not a chance. I…" He paused and shook his head. "Not gonna chance anything, sweetheart. Let us hero types handle this." He sat up, arms sliding around her waist. "Not that you're not one hell of a woman, sweetheart. And, by the way, if you ever feel the need to dress in that skin tight leather and prove anything…"

Charley rolled her eyes good naturedly, leaning in to give a brief yet passionate kiss.

"Go," Charley said, sliding off his lap so he could climb to his feet. "Wreck havoc. Save the world. Do your thing."

Her mouse sent her a smirk and leaned over, sweeping her into another kiss. "Love you, babe."

Charley smiled at that. "Love you, too. Be careful, please."

Vinnie paused in the doorway to flash his trademark grin. "Hey, this is me," he said and sent her a wink before heading downstairs.

"Exactly! Be careful!" Charley yelled after him.

"Don't forget what I said about the leather!"

"Goodbye, Vincent!"

Once she heard bikes heading off she flopped back onto her bed with an exasperated sigh.

She never thought she'd be the pursuer in their relationship, but here she was, all but throwing herself at her macho mouse only for him to back off with the fear of causing her healing body further discomfort. Or in this instance, they were interrupted.

Hopefully they'd get some time for themselves soon.

Was wishing that life would settle enough for them to get back to enjoying their newfound relationship too much to ask?

The house settled into an empty quiet.

Motorcycles could be heard speeding out into the distance.

Stupid mice with their stupid hero work…

Well, it looked like she and Harley were on their own for the evening.

Maybe Harley was up for some online shopping and a movie. Dig out a few Christmas movies or something fabulously 80s, John Hughes flick.

Ferris Buller, no matter what planet you grew up on, would always translate.

Once Charley showered and changed into sweats, she made her way downstairs and found the chestnut furred mouse in the living room.

"Drinks and a movie?" Charley suggested.

Harley nodded. "Sounds good to me."

Charley grinned and padded to the kitchen. Let the boys have their fun, she and Harley would have a fun evening of their own.

"You callin' the plays, gramps?" Vinnie asked as they closed in on Limburger tower. It wasn't clear as to what was going on but it looked like something was going down and fun was to be had by all. Well, those covered in fur, anyway.

Stokers low growl was heard even over the hum of the engines. "Watch it, punk." He chuckled a moment later. "I have a few new moves to try."

"Moves?" Modo asked.

Stoker nodded from Throttles bike. "Yep. Gotta do something to pass the time on these boring missions Carbine had been sendin' me on.. And with what Charley has done to your bikes? You three are just the mice to pull 'em off."

Vinnies eyes flashed with excitement as his mentor relayed his new maneuvers. Too bad this was no place for ladies. By the sound of Stokers new moves, Vinnie was sure Charley would be impressed.

He grinned inwardly. Looks like she might need a personal demonstration later.

Charley giggled and all but dropped the glass in her hand. She and Harley had just finished off the bottle of wine Charley had dug out of the kitchen closet.

They were definitely feeling good.

"Wait, " Charley said. "so, did you know the guys when they were little?"

Harley shook her head. "Naw. I met them later; after they joined the freedom fighters and…stuff." She usually wasn't so much of a lightweight but, it had been quite a long time since she'd had anything resembling alcohol.

Charley pouted. "Aww. I was hoping for some good and embarrassing stories of the little guys. " Charley paused, then her eyes lit up. "That means you probably haven't seen Vinnies baby picture."

Harley stopped and shot the human a skeptical look. Ok…she may be tipsy but….huh? "Um…what?"

Charley scrambled off the couch, stumbling in her drunken haze and ended up in a heap on the floor. This sent both girls into laughter.

She'd probably be feeling it later, but Charley drew herself up and brushed hair from her eyes. "Ok, I totality meant to do that."

Harley laughed again and shook her head. "Yeah, right."

Charley smiled and shrugged. "Anyway- baby picture. I'll be right back!"

By the time the mechanic returned, Harley was fighting off the need to sleep.

"Ok…" Charley said, plopping down on the sofa cushion next to the mouse and waving a brown wallet. "This is totally gonna make your night. "

"Vinnie gave you his wallet?"

Charley shook her head. "Nope. Stole this weeks ago. Well, I just wanted the picture but it was easier just to steal the whole thing." She rolled her eyes. "I don't even know why he has this thing, anyway. Its not like he has a job and carries around cash or anything. Oh! Here it is."

Harley took the picture, Charley's eyes dancing in anticipation and giggled as if she was seeing the portrait for the very first time.

One glance was enough. The picture was older than Harley expected. Looking at the fat little Vinnie shaped baby, in addition to Charley's already uncontrollable laugher and lots of booze, Harley was soon laughing so hard her sides hurt.

"Honey! We're home!" Vinnie had sing-songed when he pushed the door open from the garage. There was laughter coming from the living room but neither girl even reacted to the guys filing back inside the house.

"What, no heros welcome?" Stoker called, stopping behind the couch.

Apparently, the girls hadn't heard the guys arrival home, and sudden appearance of Stoker took Charley by surprise, causing her to yelp, spill a bit of her drink and erupted into another fit of giggles.

Harley had looked half asleep but awoke just enough to join Charley in the uncontrolled laughter.

Modo quirked a brow and grinned. "You girls have a fun night?"

Stoker laughed and pointed to the almost empty bottle of wine on the coffee table. "Looks like a real fun night to me."

Harley got herself together first and briefly forced her eyes open. "So we had a few drinks? Who are you? My father?"

Charley seemingly found that comment one of the funniest things she'd ever heard and soon both girls were laughing again.

Charley sat her almost empty glass on the table when Vinnie came into the room.

"Yikes…" Vinnie blinked. "Are you two… you guys are drunk, aren't you?"

Charley giggled again and pulled herself to her feet. "Just a little." She flashed him a grin and in a few stumbling steps, she about leapt into Vinnies arms. His arms came around her automatically.

Before he could say a word, Charley wrapped her legs around his waist, took his face in her hands and kissed him deeply.

"What took you so long?" she asked when she pulled back, peppering kisses across his cheek and jaw.

"Charley…." Vinnie started before Charley claimed his lips again, this time arching her body against his and moaning against his lips.

"Uh- can we keep this PG, please?" Stoker replied with a smirk.

"I mi….ma…ummm….missed you…" Charley slurred, ignoring the elder mouse completely.

"Naturally." Vinnie couldn't help but laugh. "Oookk….I think someone has had too much to drink."

Charley pouted. "Have not. I've had just enough to….uh…." She blinked, shrugged, then seemed content to rest at her mouses shoulder.

"We only had like…." Harley trailed off. The brown mouse looked puzzled for a moment before slumping back into the couch with a shrug. She either forgot what she had wanted to say or no longer found it important. Her eyes suddenly heavy, she yawned and snuggled back into the cushions of the couch.

"…yeah." Vinnie said with a smirk. "I'm putting Charley to bed." Vinnie turned to cart his girl off to bed when he spotted his baby picture laying on the coffee table. "Hey! Whats that doing there?!"

To Vinnies horror, Stoker was suddenly rounding the couch and swiping the picture off the table. One look and he was gone. Laughing, pointing, shaking his head and grinning at the irritated look on the white mouses face. "Oh gods…I need copies of this."

"No you don't!" Vinnie shouted.

"But I think I do, fatty."

Vinnie growled, shifting Charley slightly, and snatched the picture back from Stoker, wasting no time shoving in his back pocket. "Did you take that?" he asked the woman in his arms.

Charley giggled again and tightened her grip on the mouse. "Mmm…maybe?"

"So not cool."

Charley smirked and preened against him, her thighs tightening their grip around his waist. "Wanna make it up to you…Vinnie…I want…umm…..bed?"

Vinnie was grateful for the diversion. He scowled at Stoker, who merely grinned, and turned, heading for the stairs. "Yeah…bed. I'm takin' Charley to bed."

Stoker chuckled and nodded to Modo. "I think you better help the other lush." He motioned to Harley who at the moment, looked asleep already. "Throttles still talking to his ol' lady. I'll tell him we're on our own for dinner."

Modo nodded and crossed around the couch, kneeling at Harley's side.

"Harley…"

After a few moments of gentle prodding, the brown mouse blinked and was able to focus on the man at her side.

"Modo? Are you….where…?" She blinked, then graced him with a sly grin. "Hey there, cutie."

Modo wasn't sure whether to blush or laugh and in the end, it was a little of both. "I'm gonna to help you to bed."

"Bed, eh? What, you tryin' to sedushh… um…seduce…" Harley trailed off, her eyes blinking heavily. "Not that I would mind, ya know… I haven't….its been….um…"She made a move to shift closer to him and when she swayed and almost slipped off the couch, his good arm was around her to keep her from sliding to the floor.

Modo raised a brow once it was clear Harley wasn't going to continue her thought. Instead, she simply dazzled him with a bright, albeit crooked smile and Modo had to duck his head to hide his grin.

She was too adorable for words and he had to resist from caressing her soft cheek.

Wait…what?

Modo frowned, not knowing where these thoughts were coming from. Sure, he had always thought Harley was beautiful but… the way her eyes sparkled every time she met his gaze had his insides doing flips and drops that he hadn't felt in god knows how long.

Modo shook his head and climbed to his feet, bringing her along with him. He didn't trust her to climb the stairs on her own, so the moment she swayed against him he carefully took her up into his arms. The way his stomach dipped when she wound herself around him and rested at his shoulder was both invigorating and terrifying at the same time.

The grey mouse glanced down into Harleys peaceful face and sighed.

There was time to sort all this out later. Right now, he wanted to get Harley to her bed.

Vinnie lowered Charley to her feet once they were in her bedroom.

Charley dropped kisses along his neck and over his shoulder, her hands beginning to tug persistently at his belt. "Have I …um…thanked you for the rescue, handsome?"

"Which rescue, exactly?" Vinnie asked, trying his best to not answer the thrust of her hips with one of his own.

"Mmm…" Charley murmured, her hand wasting no time sliding down between them to caress the growing hardness that pressed into her belly. "Does it matter?"

Vinnie pulled back, reluctantly, his hands there at her hips to steady her as no longer having him against her caused her to lose some of her balance.

"Charley, sweetheart-"

She cut him off with another kiss. Her hands renewed their fight with his belt, all the while feathering light kisses down his throat. "Shhh… I wanna play. And it feels like someone wants out…"

Vinnie bit back a moan when her hot little hand managed to dip into his pants and circled his erection. Damn his betraying body. Gods, she was making it hard to play the gentleman. And although his body screamed out its protest, he grasped her wrist, tugging her away. "Whoa, there, sweetheart."

He silently commended himself when he tucked himself back into his pants and quickly re-buttoned his fly.

Charley pouted. "You don't want me?"

"Not want..?" Vinnie shook his head. "Trust me, doll. I always want you, but…"

"It sure does feel like you want…"

"Trust me doll, thing has a mind of its own when you're around. But…"

"But…?" Charley blinked and swayed, Vinnies hands falling to her hips to steady her again. "I want…I wanted….is it just me or is the room spinning?"

Vinnie chuckled and maneuvered her to her bed. "Think it might just be you, sweetheart."

Charley flopped back and rubbed her eyes. "I'm drunk, aren't I?"

Vinnie laughed at that and grabbed one of the t-shirts Charley usually slept in. He reached down and pulled his girls boots off, then stripped her of her remaining clothing. "Just a little. But its alright, sweetheart. Vinnies here and hes gonna take care of everything."

Charley smiled and hummed at that, letting him draw her up so he could slip the nightshirt over her head.

"Maybe I should take a shower first." Charley mumbled and attempted to climb out of bed. Once she started to wobbly pull herself up, a yelp tore through her lips.

Charley whimpered and pressed her hand to her sore ribcage. "Ow!"

Vinnie was back at her side immediately, with the same worrisome expression that had haunted his handsome features since her stint in Bens basement. "Are you alright? See, sweetheart? You need to be in bed. I don't care how much to try and tell me that you're fine Charley…" He helped her back to bed and carefully brushed her hair from her brow, checking the healing gash over her temple. "I know we're both trying to forget what happened but… it did. It happened and you're still… You need to relax, sweetheart." He pulled back to shoot her his patented smile. "For me?"

Charley blinked dazedly but smiled then stretched and snuggled into the pillows.

Vinnie exhaled with relief and was able to draw the blankets up over her lithe form.

Thankfully, she gave in and closed her eyes, her body visibly relaxing.

Vinnie sighed and grinned inwardly. He was actually proud of himself. Even though his body ached for hers, he managed to do the gentlemanly thing. And when the mischievous child within told him to at least snap a few hilarious, and no doubt embarrassing, pictures of his girl in her inebriated state, he, the adult, had done the grown up thing and helped Charley to bed.

That called for a nice cold congratulatory root beer.