“Seen the what?” Sarah appeared in the doorway, fiddling with one of her earrings.
He glanced up and paused. Something about the act of taking off an earring…
“Chuck?” Sarah asked, her hands moving to the other ear. Since she was wearing a tank and skin-tight capris, he figured Frank was about to get another beating. “What are you looking for?”
“Uh.” Chuck looked down and focused on the desk drawer for a minute. “The white-out? I messed up a report, and I don’t want to start over again.”
“Second drawer down, on the left.”
“Right.” Chuck pulled open the drawer and almost missed Sarah’s wince as he pawed through. He sought about for a suitable lie. “Due at Morgan’s for a game night.”
“But I want to get this done first.”
“I can finish it for you.”
“No, no, I can do it.” Chuck glanced up briefly to grin. “It’s not fair for you to do all of your work and then mine on top of it.”
“Mm. Well, thank you.”
“Hey, no problem, I’m a fair—” Chuck’s hand stilled. In fact, his body went still. “Uh, Sarah?”
“You can really find anything in this desk, can’t you?” A grin spread slowly across his face as he drew his hand out, a line of foil packets dangling from his fingers. His eyes cut from them to Sarah as his grin continued to broaden. “Somebody believes in being prepared.”
One of Sarah’s eyebrows went up. She crossed her arms, earrings still in hand, and leaned against the door frame, just watching him. It was hard to see in the dim lighting of the dusk-laden office, but he could have sworn he could see a flush beginning to light up her cheeks.
So he crossed around the desk and sat, twirling the string of condoms around a finger. “Planning to get busy, were you?”
“Gotta be prepared for everything.”
Chuck’s eyes ran up and down the string of packets. “That’s hella prepared, Sarah.”
Inexplicably, the cool look changed to a smirk, and she straightened. Each step toward him was slow and measured until she was invading his space just the slightest bit. She leaned forward, her face really close to his. The smirk intensified, just a fraction.
His mind stuttered.
“What’s the matter, Chuck?” she asked. “Did I get the wrong size?”
And before he could do anything but stammer or drool or worse, she snatched the string of condoms and sauntered out.
The back of her neck, he saw as she left, was bright red.
Chuck stayed right where he was for a full thirty seconds.
So why doesn't this fit into Fates? I have my reasons. We're embarking on a plotline where timing and pacing is everything, and this scene just throws a spanner in the hyperdrive. And I'm sure some of you are asking, how can Chuck be oblivious after that exchange?
IS he oblivious, readers? Or is he just not self-confident to the point of utter confusion about why Sarah would like him, so he's repressing?