It was a Tuesday night and insomniac Olive Snook once again found herself lying awake in bed. Her eyes burned from the lack of sleep, and her back ached from the countless hours she'd spent tossing and turning, but her wandering mind was much to busy to allow her to sleep.
It had been a month since Chuck had moved in, and she seemed to be settling in just fine. Olive, however, found the change to be just a little more exhausting than she'd imagined it would be. Perhaps because the secret she was keeping from Chuck had begun to become harder and harder to keep. It was like some harsh burden had settled on Olive's slight shoulders and had begun to bear a hole in her tender heart.
As if triggered by the thought, Olive's chest began to ache, and she held her breath for a long moment, hoping the pain would eventually go away, until a gentle knock at her door startled her into inhaling deeply. Only to have the wind knocked out of her again when the door opened and Chuck poked her head inside the darkened room. Olive sat up quickly, pulling the blankets up around her, but it did nothing to stop the chill that ran down her spine at the sight of Chuck, all disheveled from sleep, as cute and sweet as Olive had ever seen her
"Hey, there," Chuck said, her voice slightly raspy from sleep. "I figured I'd find you awake. D'you want some hot chocolate?"
Before Olive could answer, Chuck nudged the door open more with her hip and made her way over to the bed. She handed a thick, heavy mug to the blonde and sat down next to her, tucking her legs under herself.
"Thanks," was all Olive could manage to murmur as she took the proffered mug and held it securely between her hands to warm them.
Chuck's fingers brushing Olive's hair from her face startled the blonde back to reality after a few long moments of silence. Olive wasn't even quite aware that she had spaced out on her friend.
"Hey, you okay?" Chuck asked softly, her hands lingering on Olive's face a little longer than was entirely necessary.
It was then that Olive forgot to breathe again. She tightened her tiny fingers around her mug and forced herself to look anywhere but into Chuck's eyes, shimmering and seemingly all-knowing even in the darkness. Her chest had begun to ache again, too, and it took all Olive had not to cry.
"Olive? Sweetie, what's wrong?" Chuck asked, concern filtering into her voice as placed her hands on Olive's small shoulders. "Olive? Breathe. Come on. You're okay. Come back to me. You're okay," she said, rubbing her hands up and down Olive's arms in a soothing manner.
Finally, Olive managed to bring her eyes up, catching Chuck's worried gaze with her own. All at once, her breathing seemed to return to normal and the burning pain in her chest had seemed to ebb slightly. She stared at Chuck, who was seated directly in front of her now. She wasn't aware of what had happened, exactly, but she knew in her heart that the words Chuck had spoken had somehow managed to make the air come back into the room.
"Sorry," Olive whispered after a few more long moments of silence. She took deep, cleansing breaths, tried to calm her speeding heartbeat.
"It's okay. You scared me for a minute there, though. What happened?" said Chuck.
Olive repeated a question that she was not at all unfamiliar with. "You ever feel like all the air has just gone out of the room?"
"Well, that's what just happened to me. I just felt like there was no air, and it made my chest hurt."
"Olive… what's going on?" Chuck asked, looking more than a little worried now.
"It's nothing, really. It's silly," Olive replied, shaking her head.
"Please tell me." Chuck reached out and covered the blonde's much smaller hand with her own. Her pleading eyes made Olive's heart do something other than ache. Instead, it grew weak with need.
"I--well, I--um… I don't know if, um, if us living together is going to work out," Olive began slowly, stumbling over her words.
Chucks face immediately fell and she said, "You don't like me living here? Oh, God, I'm a bad roommate, aren't I? Did I leave towels on the floor in the bathroom again? Oh, no, I forgot to put my dishes away, that's it. Damn."
"No, no, no. Honey, you're not a bad roommate at all."
"But you said--"
"I know, but it has nothing to do with you being a bad roommate. You're wonderful. And, well, therein lies the problem."
At that, Chuck's features contorted in confusion. "So, it's not going to work out because… why, exactly?"
"Because I--I--because I like--" Olive stammered, then caught her breath and tried again. "It's because I like you too much. There it is. I said it. I like you. Like-like you. And that's why we can't be roommates."
"You have a crush on me?" Chuck didn't sound angry; in fact, she sounded quite amused, and if it wasn't obvious in her voice, the smile on her face easily gave it away.
"It's a little more than that, I think. That's why I can't breathe when I think about you or when you're near me and my heart races when you touch me," Olive admitted.
Chuck, without thinking, ran her hands up the blonde's arms, then, ever-so-slowly, so as not to startle Olive again, she leaned forward until her lips just touched Olive's in the lightest of kisses. But that was enough to make Olive's breath catch halfway up.
The kiss was short and sweet, much like Olive herself, but when Chuck pulled away, she was breathless.
"What was that for?" asked Olive.
"I just thought you should know that I like you, too," the brunette answered sweetly. "It's nice to be touched by someone who doesn't have to worry about accidentally killing me. And you're always there for me, even though we didn't exactly get along at first."
Olive smiled at that. It was the first time in weeks that she felt like the weight on her shoulders had been lifted away, and she could be herself around Chuck again. "Can I tell you something?" she asked.
"Of course," said Chuck.
"I'm glad Ned can't touch you. That means there's more for me," Olive said, before leaning forward to kiss Chuck once more.