[personal profile] lilychick
"Cookie?" Charity said sweetly, pushing forward the plate, which until that moment, David had thought was merely holding a mountain of powdered sugar.

He stared at it skeptically. "You baked them?"

"Uh-huh."

"You *bake*?"

"Well it's not that hard, David. It's following instructions, just like anything else."

He took one reluctantly, but with a sly look at Charity. "Now I'm even more worried -- I know how you love following instructions."

"Ah, shut up." She straightened her Santa hat. "So when does this thing get going, anyway?"

David surveyed the small crowd, milling around the cafeteria. "I think this might be it, Char."

"No way," she said emphatically. "The play's tonight, so there've *got* to be people hanging around; there's food; and we've got The Distant -- who can resist that?"

He appraised his friend. "You think a lot of them, don't you."

"If you would ever show *up* for these things, you'd see *why* --"

"I can't." David shook his head. "The Aftershow, the Battle, all those bands being so *competitive*...they're a little scary."

Charity shrugged. "Suit yourself."

"This is a much mellower thing, right here. I can handle this." He grinned, and then spotted Zach Russo headed towards the Art Club's table. "Speaking of which, looks like one of your boys is on his way over now."

Charity suddenly sat up straight, craning her neck. "Is it Mike?"

"No."

"Good," she answered, but didn't sound convincing.

Zach reached the table, cheerfully doffing a Santa hat of his own. "Hey, guys. How goes the Art Club sale?"

"Not great," David responded. "Apparently, our offerings pale next to those of the Home Ec table."

Zach glanced over -- the Home Ec table was a few feet away, where Sandy wore a chipper grin and a tight red velvet top, which, without her knowledge, became basically indecent every time she leaned over to put money in their box. "Huh."

"We can't compete with that," Charity said gravely.

Zach turned back, grinning. "Ah, there's no accounting for taste. People should be over here paying just for the pleasure of your company."

She beamed. "Do you want a cookie?"

"Charity," David said with amusement, as Zach helped himself, "we're supposed to be selling those."

"It's not like we're going to suddenly have a run on them. Besides, you didn't mind when it was *you* getting the freebies."

"I work here," he replied loftily. "I take these in lieu of checks."

"Yes, David. All the work you've been putting in so far."

"Oh, what, social commentary doesn't count?"

"It doesn't sell cookies," Zach interjected through a mouthful.

"I made the sign," David pointed out.

Charity mulled this over. "All right. You can stay."

Zach swallowed, making a futile attempt at brushing off the powdered blizzard that had descended on the front of his shirt (which, fortunately, was gray, and so it didn't really show). "Who made these?"

Charity raised her hand. "You like?"

"Are you kidding? Sugary goodness," he replied.

Pleased, she pushed the plate towards him again. "Take as many as you want. Bring some over to the guys if you like."

"Sure. Thanks." Zach started piling cookies onto a napkin.

David shook his head. "Plying the band with baked goods. You really are a groupie."

"Don't knock it," Zach said. "She'll stop giving us free food."

"I would never," Charity proclaimed. "It's how I show love."

Gathering together nearly half the plate, Zach gestured to the back of the auditorium. "I'll run back there and drop these off. Thanks."

"You're welcome," she said. "Oh, hey, Zach?"

He stopped walking. "Yeah?"

"When you go back there...can you ask Mike to come over here?"

David didn't know how it was possible, but Charity seemed to completely miss the look of disappointment that crossed Zach's face. "Sure, Char. I'll send him over. If he decides he's speaking to you this week."

She grinned, oblivious to the bitter note in his voice. "Thanks, hon. You're one in a million."

"Yeah." Zach gave a half-hearted wave, not even bothering to think up some witty rejoinder. "Later, David."

"Later." Intrigued, David turned to Charity, who hummed to herself happily, though he didn't recognize the song. "Charity," he said finally, "you and Mike..."

She stopped humming abruptly. "Yeah?" she said pleasantly.

"You're a little bit unhealthy," he continued matter-of-factly.

Her face fell. "That's easy for you to say," Charity sniped, which he knew meant she was hurt, because Charity did not *snipe*. "Speaking as someone who never has any relationships at *all*."

David pondered this. "Sure I do. What about --"

"Sabrina and I don't *count*!"

"Why not? We have relationships, don't we?"

"That's not what I mean, and you know it." Disgruntled, Charity forcefully shoved down a cookie.

"You're eating the merchandise," he said lightly.

"Unhealthy," she muttered, by way of response.

"Well, it's chocolate," David commented, willfully misunderstanding. "So I suppose it can't be helped."

Charity made a show of not answering. David waited, and then, when it became evident that she intended to sulk for a while, he picked up the cookie she had foisted upon him (which had, until then, been sitting, untouched and unnoticed, on the table behind the money box). "I'm sorry, Charity, I shouldn't talk." And he popped the cookie in his mouth.

She turned back to him, watching with curiosity as he chewed. Once he had finished, she simply asked, "Well?"

"Unhealthy," he said, "yet satisfying."

Charity nodded, content. "I *told* you."
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June 2009

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