The cigarette barely touches Kate's lips before she's pulling it away again, barely breathing the smoke into her mouth before it's gone, legs tightly together and knees inches from her chest, taking up as little space as she possibly can. Betty's pants-clad legs are crossed loosely, hands fidgeting where they rest between her knees. She doesn't know how Kate can sit so carefully still like that and she almost envies it, just for a moment, before she remembers the scars and bruises on her back. Maybe she'd rather sit the way she does after all.
The motion of Kate's cigarette stirs her out of her reverie momentarily and she laughs softly, under her breath almost. Kate looks up, deer in headlights. "Am I doing it wrong?"
"You're not even inhaling. Here, try it like this…" When she leans closer to pluck the cigarette from Kate's mouth, her fingertips brush against the other woman's lips and linger, just a half-second, just a brief flash of hesitancy. Kate's lips part slightly as she jerks back an inch in surprise, the touch startling her and the cigarette drops from her mouth and their fingers, landing on her leg.
Betty plucks it from Kate's lap quickly so her dress doesn't singe and holds it between two fingers, looking down at the grass under them and trying not to think of the soft skin she'd just brushed against. Kate watches with a wary curiosity, that way she does, as though she's ashamed to want to know, and Betty wants to reach out and tell her she doesn't have to be so frightened all the time. Wants to, but doesn't; she's not entirely fearless herself and she doesn't understand this thing inside her, the part of her that's always fighting tooth-and-nail to reach out to Kate.
She brings the cigarette to her own lips and takes a slow, deep draw, exhaling the smoke in a long puff. Kate pulls a face as she breathes the exhaled smoke in and it's so endearing that Betty doesn't know what to do with herself. "You gotta suck it right in there, like that." A brief, closed-mouth smile and she passes it back to her. "Your turn."
Kate's hand's shaking slightly when she takes the cigarette back and their fingers brush at the exchange. Betty pulls back, embarrassed at how much she craves the contact and Kate brings the cigarette to her lips, attempting to mimic the way Betty did it to the letter. She inhales then winces, holding the cigarette away from her as she coughs violently over her shoulder, back of her free hand pressed to the side of her face. Betty can't help but laugh.
"How... do you do that… so easily?" She exclaims between coughs, and the other woman laughs again.
"You get used to it. Just takes practice; maybe if you inhale a little slower next time." Betty smiles, nudging her knee against Kate's, and the other woman looks at her again, laughing a little breathlessly. She holds the cigarette to Betty's mouth and there's almost no trace of timid uncertainty in it. "I think you better finish this one. I feel slightly nauseous."
Betty hesitates for a moment then parts her lips, taking the end of it into her mouth, and her lips brush feather-light against the tips of Kate's fingers, making her shiver just slightly – barely noticeable, but it's there, and Betty's actively forcing herself not to read too much into it. Kate's not like her. Nobody's like her.
Kate lets go of the cigarette as Betty inhales, and from the corner of her eye Betty can see her watching intently as she brings her hand to it and pulls it from her lips, tilting her head back and inhaling upwards this time. The puff of smoke filters away, disappears into the cloudless sky – and Betty knows they have to get back to work in ten minutes, back to the noisy floor and chattering of the other girls, the leers and catcalls from the men – but she's going to cling to this moment. It's interludes like these that get her through her day.