For luckdog to say thank you for your friendship. Love, IJKS xxx

Chapter Twelve

On Sunday morning, Joey joined Charlie down at the pool.

"You know, I do come here to get away from you," Charlie joked from beneath her sunglasses.

She missed her job with the police but getting a private swimming pool at home really wasn't so bad. She thought she could get used to this.

"I know," Joey replied, settling on a sun lounger beside her. "That's why I follow you."

"Well, I'm starting to think you might have some sort of crush on me," Charlie teased.

"You wish," Joey smirked.

"Well, you're pretty obsessed with knowing everything about me…"

"I like to know who I'm dealing with," Joey said. "And which buttons to push. So to speak."

"So to speak," Charlie chuckled.

"So, what are you doing on your day off?" Joey asked.

"Getting pestered by my charge," Charlie replied.

Joey grinned to herself. She liked the way that Charlie never missed a beat. She enjoyed the banter between them. She almost felt like they were friends.

"What else?" she asked.

"Not much," Charlie said. "It depends if you leave me alone or not."

"Well, I was wondering if you wanted to go to the movies," Joey ventured.

Charlie turned her head and lifted her glasses, peering at her curiously.

"I'm off shift," she said.

Joey tried not to let the disappointment show on her face.

"I know," Joey said. "It's just that you mentioned the other day wanting to see that Total Recall movie and I thought it sounded good so I wondered if you'd like to go together."

Charlie continued to look sceptical.

"Not as work," Joey added. "Just as…"

She wanted to say 'friends' but she felt like a fool.

"Forget it," she suddenly said, moving to get off her lounger.

"Wait," Charlie said, touching her arm.

They both felt a thrill shoot through them. They both tried to ignore it.

"I'd love to go to the movies with you," she said.

Joey smiled.


"As long as you're not one of those irritating people who talks the whole way through the film," Charlie added with a grin.

Joey sat back on the lounger and got comfortable.

"And as long as you don't steal all the popcorn," she said.

"Charlie, I really don't think this is a good idea," Leah said.

Charlie had come to visit her in her room and happened to mention the cinema plan.

"Why?" Charlie asked, a little worriedly.

"You're attracted to her," Leah pointed out.

Charlie hissed at her to be quiet. Joey was in the adjoining room, after all. The last thing Charlie needed was for her to think she had feelings for her.

"And anyway," Charlie added. "Why does that even matter?"

"Because she's manipulative," Leah said. "If you've shown any kind of hint that you might like her, she'll exploit it, Charlie. You know her history."

Charlie sighed and shifted in her seat, twisting her hands together.

"I think we've really bonded," she admitted.

"That's probably just what she wants you to think," Leah said. "Charlie, I don't want to see you go the same way the others did. We all really like you."

"I'm not going to do anything like they did," Charlie promised. "I would never go there. But Leah, beneath the attitude, there really is a vulnerable girl. I think she just wants some friendship."

Leah's mouth formed a thin line as she remained unconvinced.

"Well, on your head be it, Charlie," she said unhappily. "I really hope you're right."

On the other side of the wall, Joey moved away and sat on her bed. She'd heard Leah refer to her as manipulative, which had prompted her to listen in. She liked Leah and she was hurt that she thought so badly of her. But then, she had to admit she had given her cause. But she smiled as she thought of the way Charlie had defended her. It gave her a warm glow inside and she was eager to be friends with her and not mess anything up. It had been a long time since anyone had actually believed in her.

Angelo dropped Charlie and Joey off at the cinema. He had been angling for an invitation rather obviously but neither of them had welcomed him to watch the film with them. They were secretly looking forward to spending time together outside of their usual roles.

"Are you a sweet or salty kind of girl?" Charlie asked as they queued up for snacks.

"What do you think?" Joey asked coyly.

Charlie blushed a little and laughed.

"I think I'm going to go with sweet," she decided.

"Really?" Joey asked in surprise.

"Yep," Charlie said. "I think you just like to pretend that you're salty."

Joey giggled and put her arm around Charlie's waist. Again, they felt a thrill go through them. Again, they ignored it.

"You're the first person in a long time who's ever thought that about me," Joey said, releasing her but not stepping away.

"That's because you work so hard at making people think badly of you," Charlie said.

"Then how come you see through me?" Joey asked.

"I don't know," Charlie said. "But I'm glad I do. And I hope this is the beginning of helping you changing your life."

Joey swallowed. They moved forward in the queue. Me too, she thought silently, me too.

Next time… Charlie and Joey share a moment…