(1937-12-18) Jealousy
Details for Jealousy
Summary: Ranjali gets quite jealous over Audrey's affectionate, flirty ways.
Date: December 18, 1937
Related: Much Ado About Nothing Opening Night

The party at the Macnair mansion had been in full swing for a few hours when Ranjali left. She'd been struggling to begin with, considering the large quantities of alcohol being served about, and the fact that she'd never actually been to an event of its like. But as the night wore on, and she watched Audrey with the others, the smile that she'd been keeping in place began to fade. It was seing the attention given to the singer by Zephyr especially (and the reactions such attention inspired), though, that finally became too much for her. Eventually, without a word, she slipped out and apparated back to the flat in Notting Hill.

For awhile now, she's been sitting in the parlour, having exchanged her gown for a simple white nightgown and robe, staring into the bottom of the cup of tea she made herself as though it holds some kind of answer to her questions.

The silence in the flat is broken by the distinctive sound of a key in the lock. The front door swings open to permit Audrey to stumble in on stocking clad feet, her high-heeled shoes held in one hand. "Ranjali?" She calls out, the concern in her voice bordering on panic. "Ranji, are you home?" She appears at the entryway to the vestibule, leaning up against the wall and putting hand to her forehead as she tries to clear her head.

Ranjali's head jerks up, and for a moment she's unable to keep the relief from her eyes. But as she stands and head for the door, and sees the state Audrey is in, her expression shifts quickly to a frown. "Yes." She answers simply, curtly, before sighing and closing the gap between them so she can offer a steadying hand.

Audrey gratefully takes the hand, wobbling her way into the parlour. "Darling, you left without a word." Her brow knits with concern, and a bit of upset. "I've been worried sick."

Ranjali makes sure that Audrey gets herself seated, before refreshing the teapot with her wand and pouring another cup. "It seemed my presence was not required." She says stiffly, setting the cup before Audrey. "You seemed fairly… occupied."

It takes a moment for Ranjali's words to register, but her upset only seems to deepen when they sink in. "What? How can you say that? We went to that party together, Ranji. I can't believe you left me there alone."

"You didn't need me there." Ranjali repeats, standing. Her hands move about restlessly, crossing over her stomach, then fiddling with the lapels of her robe, "You had the Macnairs and your Gilly friend, and everyone else. Maybe you went with me. But I wasn't who you were there with."

Audrey frowns, setting down her tea a bit roughly, spilling a few drops. "That is not true. Or did you fail to notice the blonde right beside you up until you left. I thought you had just slipped away to use the loo."

"Right beside me?" Ranjali stiffens, "What did right beside me matter, when you are all over Zephyr Macnair?" She turns to face Audrey finally, face pinched and eyes red, "And Clover Macnair! Who I have to face at work now!"

Audrey's jaw drops wide open. "What are you talking about? I wasn't all over anybody but you!" She shakes her head, moving to rise and face Ranjali, bracing on an arm of the couch to steady herself. "Am I not even allowed to talk to anyone else now?"

"You did more than talk." Ranjali's eyes flash angrily, her hands dropping to fists at her sides. "Unless things have changed since I was at school, talking doesn't involve nearly so much touching. Gods, Audrey, it looked like you wanted to stay with them!"

Audrey gasps, eyes filling with hurt. "You act like I wrapped my legs around them! For God's sake, Ranji, so what if I touched them? I was just being friendly!"

Ranjali flinches back, her eyes closing as though to shut out Audrey's words. Once more, her hands come up to wrap around her stomach. "Its not… you don't… " She takes a short breath, and opens her eyes, and tries again. Her voice has regained some of its calm, though the hard edge remains. "You were friendly like that with me, once. What am I supposed to think, when you are friendly with others in that way?"

Audrey crosses her own arms, her mouth forming a frustrated pout. "I'm friendly like that with everyone. What I have with you is so much more than that. You think because I put my hand on someone that I'm going to spread my legs for them? What kind of harlot do you take me for?" There is a scowl to match the sting of her slightly slurred words.

Again, Ranjali flinches. This time, though, her eyes fly wide open. "What!?" She steps forward suddenly, grabbing Audrey's shoulders and searching the blonde's eyes, "I could never… Audrey, you must know I don't think of you like that. But… " She shakes her head, slowly, "I don't know what I'm supposed to do. For me, touching someone that way… it means I'm interested in them."

Audrey keeps her arms wrapped tightly around herself, her face still turned down in a frown. "It's just a touch, Ranji. You said it yourself — I touched you like that before I fell in love with you. It's just how I connect with people. I don't believe that we are meant to live with these bubbles around ourselves. People like that personal connection."

Ranjali bites her lip, wavering for a moment. "I just… " After a pause, she tries again, while alternating between watching the floor and peeking up at Audrey's face, "What I meant is, you touched me like that and now here we are, I suppose… it felt like this is where such actions take people." Her hands grip the blonde's shoulders a little tighter as she closes her eyes to add, "All night, I kept thinking of how much I wanted to touch you, and then… and then you chose them instead, I thought… "

Audrey puts a hand to her forehead, fingertips pressing between her brows. "Ranji. I didn't. Choose. Them." Her voice is hardened with frustration. "I was there with you. I was touching you. Do my kisses and affection for you count for nothing if I dare put a hand on Zephyr Macnair's shoulder? I'm not here with you because I touched your body. I'm here with you because you touched my soul." She sighs miserably, eyes starting well up as her lip trembles. "Why can't you see the difference?"

Ranjali closes her eyes once more. Guilt is starting to seep into her face now. Her shoulders even slump, and when she speaks again her voice is far softer. "I'm sorry. They… they're the same for me." She risks a look up at the singer's face, her own eyes filling with tears the moment she sees Audrey's. "Oh, please, please don't… this is all my fault, I told you I don't share well… " Blinking, she reaches for the singer's face, as though to wipe away the tears before they even spill over.

Audrey doesn't pull away, sinking her cheek into Ranjali's hand. A light sob shakes her shoulders. "I'm not asking you to share," she sniffles. "I'm not offering myself to anyone but you. Please…just believe me when I tell you that."

Ranjali keeps one hand in place, while the other reaches around to pull Audrey close. "I'm so sorry." She repeats, "I… I'll try to remember. I don't… I know you wouldn't I just… I have to remind myself, so often, that this is real. That you really are here, with me."

Audrey finally relents, and curls her arms around Ranji, burying her face in her shoulder. "And don't you ever leave me like that again," she whimpers, muffled against Ranjali's skin. "I was terrified when we realized you were nowhere on the estate."

"Never, never again." Ranjali clings tightly to Audrey, her hand sliding back to stroke through the blonde girls, "I was so selfish, I didn't even think. Forgive me."

Audrey just clings to Ranjali, afraid that any more words will trigger some new struggle. Several minutes of silence pass before she manages to find the only words she is sure won't be taken poorly. So she whispers, "Take me to bed."

After a moment of stunend surprise, Ranjali does just that. In fact, she practically carries Audrey up the stairs and into their bed. For the rest of the night, she makes sure that they are constantly touching, all the while keeping up a soft litany of loving words and promises to stay always by Audrey's side, no matter what they may face in the future.

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