Notes: Oh, thank you so much to everyone who has reviewed my stories. I always feel really nervous reading them but you all have been so sweet and they're such a treat to read! I'm finding that I love writing these two; there's just so many layers to each of them, it's an adventure to write. In my head, this one is set a couple years earlier than my last one-shot. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.

The Focus of an Earthquake ~ A One-Shot

"Does it fit?"

Angelica slid her arms through the bright purple sweater and zipped it up, grimacing as the cold metal of the zipper pressed against her bare skin.

"Yeah, it's fine." She called through the door of the bathroom. She picked up the bundle of her shirt and bra, still oozing marinara sauce though she'd manage to remove most of the spaghetti from it, and placed the whole mess into a plastic bag Chuckie had given her.

"I'm so, so sorry, Angelica." This mantra, which he'd been repeating since his clumsy antics had caused her dinner to fly right into her chest, was followed by a loud thump and she imagined he'd banged his head against the wall again.

Angelica Pickles gave herself a once over in the mirror. She was surprised at how much she liked the purple of the sweater, as it wasn't a color she was particularly prone to wear. She turned, examining the fit along her back and wondered how old the garment was considering it was certainly too small to fit Chuckie anymore. He wasn't a large man in any sense, but had Angelica beat when it came to shoulder width and height, as did most of the gang. None of her cousins or their mutual friends would say it outright, but they all found it pretty amusing that the oldest of their group, and their personal tormentor for so many years, had ended up such a dainty girl at five foot two.

She groaned, spotting flecks of spaghetti at the tips of her blonde hair, and pulled the shoulder length mass into a ponytail. At least, most of it had missed her pants.

Realizing there wasn't much more she could accomplish, Angelica left the bathroom.

Chuckie had obviously been agonizing over his clumsiness, though Angelica had been incorrect as his forehead was slumped directly on his desk rather than a wall.

"Sorry Angelica." She rolled her eyes at his melodramatics.

"Oh get over it, Finster. It's not like you killed anybody." This perked the orange haired college student up and he finally lifted his head to look at her.

"You're not mad?"

"Oh, I'm definitely mad. If you're not careful you're gonna find yourself sleeping in pasta sauce."

Chuckie groaned and banged his head on the desk again.

Angelica chuckled silently, a genuine smile playing on her lips. He really was too easy. Her smile morphed in a smirk at the thought.

"Well," she began, closing the bathroom door and leaning back against it. "You could always make it up to me." Angelica looked across Chuckie's room, she'd only ever been inside once or twice, mainly to yell at him to hurry up to whatever activities the gang had planned that day. So she'd never really looked the place before and her first thought was that Chuckie was freakishly neat.

Chuckie's guilt would not be deterred though and he didn't raise his head ask he asked, "Oh yeah? How?"

She glanced at his downturned head smirking and continued her examination of the room.


His bed, which took up the center of the room, was made up in a deep navy comforter, two pillows at the head, and a folded cream-colored blanket at the foot. Very no nonsense, she thought.


Across from her, his drawers were closed, the dresser made of a pale wood, and sparsely decorated on top with a lamp, a bowl in which she could see his wallet and keys, and two photographs: one of his father and himself as a toddler, and one of the gang at an amusement park for his birthday two years ago. Chuckie was at the center as Phil held him in a head lock and Dil had his thumbs in Chuckie's hair giving the redhead antlers; Tommy had grabbed on to one of Chuckie's legs and was holding up a peace sign; Lil and Kimi had his other leg and were both winking at the camera. Angelica was the only one without a hand on the birthday boy. She could see herself on the far left of the shot, rolling her eyes, her then long hair windswept from all the rides they'd ridden that day.


Chuckie lifted his head from the desk and looked at her. "How?"

Angelica's smirk, which had faded slightly as she looked around his room, grew wider, and she turned her eyes to the ceiling as though in thought before responding.

"Oh you know. With your body." She said it with the same nonchalance as if she were saying he could mow her lawn or wash her car.

It took a moment for him to interpret her words before the blood drained from his face and then returned in full force as his cheeks went from pale to fuschia.


Angelica interrupted him before he could start stuttering.

"Well, I mean that was my favorite shirt and do you have any idea how hard it is to get red sauce out of white? And it's not like you could afford my dry cleaners, I mean really, that's all you have to offer, isn't it?"

Her grin was like a shark's and she watched the pupils in his eyes all but disappear.

A silent moment passed between them, one in mortification the other in sheer delight. Angelica waited, watching as Chuckie truggled internally with the possibility of her seriousness and just as he opened his mouth to speak, she upped the ante.

The sound of the zipper echoed between them, and Chuckie was no longer staring into her eyes searching for truth, but instead mesmerized by the small strip of white skin Angelica had just exposed.

Chuckie, face bright as fire, could no longer feel the beating of his heart, which led him to believe it had stopped from shock and at any moment he would fall over dead. His view was fairly innocent, just a line of pale flesh down Angelica's torso, dotted near the bottom with her belly bottom, but he couldn't take it. He closed his eyes and hung his head.

Angelica's smile grew. Ah the fresh smell of victory, teasing Chuckie really put the brightness back in her day. She shrugged, the zipper jiggling with her movements and chuckled.

Oh Chuckie. Too, too easy.

As though snapped from a daze, he stood, surprising her. His expression was conflicted and he didn't meet her gaze as he stepped towards her.

Angelica's heart stuttered for just a second as his hands enclosed hers in the process of closing the sweater. He took the corners of fabric from her, attached the pieces together and zipped the sweater up to her neck.

Angelica stared at the front of his shirt which was now blocking her view of the room.

His hands hesitated at her neck, his eyes avoiding hers as he stared at the place the zipper ended.

He was tall enough that Angelica had to turn her face up to look at him, but short enough that he was extremely close as she did so. She stared in his eyes, the smirk gone, and the pulse beneath her skin quickening, too surprised by his actions to form a worthy retort.

Tentatively, Chuckie traced the line of the sweater's hood until his fingers were just short of her jawline.

Angelica stopped breathing.

Soft fingertips alighted on her skin with the lightest of pressures along a curve from her neck to her cheek.

And as she watched his eyes move from his hands to her lips, her eyes closed of their own accord.



Three heartbeats.

She opened her eyes again, and he was finally looking at her. She could see the flecks of green in his dark brown almost black eyes and in her mind she was wondering what he was waiting for. She opened her mouth with every intention of putting her thoughts into words-

"Hey Chuckie! Did she kill you yet?" Tommy's voice hollered from the hallway.

Before Chuckie could blink, Angelica had sidestepped him and taken three steps to the center of the room, her back to him. He closed his eyes, his hands, still in the air where Angelica's face had just been, came to rest on the wall in front of him.

"Not yet," he called back.

"Oh great, then we're gonna play cards. Phil learned a new game that's supposed to be awesome." Chuckie heard a crash and clatter and Tommy's voice was muffled slightly, seemingly coming from his own room.

"Coming," Chuckie called back listening to his roommate's footsteps disappear down the hall. He turned to Angelica, who still had her back to him and asked tentatively, "Coming?"

Angelica laughed, a breathy attempt at nonchalance but fell just short. "Yeah, go ahead, I have to grab the clothes you ruined."

Chuckie took a step towards her. "Angelica, are you..."

"Go, Finster." Her tone was final.

The red head sighed and left the room, leaving the door open behind him.

Angelica glanced at his retreating form as it disappeared down the hall and then sank to her knees. Her heart was racing, heavy beats that she could feel in all of her limbs as though the organ in her chest was the epicenter of a violent catastrophe.


That was new.