Disclaimer: All in good fun.
A/N mentions of scars and previous violence.
Peggy doesn't mean to fall into bed with Angie Martinelli.
Granted, she doesn't even mean to kiss Angie Martinelli. It all just kind of happens.
One moment, Peggy is sitting at Angie's vanity, coffee mug full of cheap bourbon in hand while she waits for Angie to finish changing out of her uniform in the bathroom. The copy of A Room With a View she lent Angie is sitting in front of the mirror. Curiosity getting the best of her, Peggy flips the book open to where Angie's left off, wondering how much progress she's made.
In the next moment, two things happen at once:
First, Peggy realizes that in lieu of a bookmark, Angie has kept her page with a strip of photo booth pictures. The strip is old, already faded from years of use, a teenage Angie smiling up at her—though Peggy's not familiar with her companion, a pretty girl of a slightly darker complexion. A girl Angie spends half the photos on the strip kissing, in a rather unmistakable manner.
Second, Angie emerges from the bathroom.
"You'd better not have started without me, Peg, or I'll—" The air leaves Angie's lungs all at once, eyes struck wide with terror. "Oh god."
Peggy recognizes the look on her face—the same look Steve would get when she caught him trying to massage the tension out of Sergeant Barnes' weary shoulders, the look she herself got, once, when Mrs. Nottingham caught her with another girl in the prefect's office at school.
The look says dear god, please don't tell anybody, say whatever you want to my face, do whatever you like to me, just don't tell.
Peggy knows she only has one chance to get this right. Several responses fight to get out of her mouth all at once—it's alright and do I have reason to be jealous? and don't panic and you too? all jockeying for position.
What she says is, "Have you always been so careless with sensitive materials?"
"I—I don't—" Angie rasps, and when Peggy jumps to her feet to soothe her, Angie takes a hesitant step back. Scared.
Angie should never, ever be scared of her.
"Because I've always burned evidence like this," Peggy follows up, hoping Angie will catch her meaning. "I suppose you're just braver than I am."
A furrow works its way between Angie's brows. "Y'mean…?"
"Mine was named Nellie Baker; last I heard of her, they were shipping her off to Morocco as an army nurse. Who's this?"
Angie swallows. "Lucia Romano. Nun."
Peggy bursts out laughing. "You're kidding?"
A tentative smile makes its way onto Angie's face. "Nah. Didn't want to get married. Christ Almighty, English, you scared the daylights outta me."
"I'm sorry, I just—surely my taste in literature gave me away?" she says, feeling brave. She waves A Room With a View around. "British girl finds ridiculous romance in Italy? I… meant it as a hint."
Angie's eyes are suddenly bright with mischief. "C'mere."
Angie doesn't repeat herself; instead she grabs Peggy by the lapels and pulls her in for a searing kiss. The book drops to the floor, instantly forgotten as Peggy reaches up to touch Angie's face, her hair, her chest, anything she can reach.
Peggy means to take this slow, she does—but then Angie's backing her up until her knees hit the bed, and what's she going to say, no?
It becomes something of a habit.
The first thing Peggy learns is that Angie is alarmingly quiet in bed.
Considering Angie's personality, Peggy had always imagined—when she'd let herself imagine—that Angie would be… well, loud. Too loud, even, the enthusiasm she had for everything translating easily in Peggy's fantasies to high-pitched giggles, low moans and salacious pillow talk.
Instead, their encounters are hushed, stifled, whispered. Only ever at night, and no sleeping over allowed—like she's back in the Army.
It's baffling, to say the least, and it leaves Peggy troubled.
Peggy hasn't had a great many lovers, but no two were alike, and certainly none were silent. No matter what the circumstances. When she's the one in charge, Angie plays Peggy like a violin, teasing out whimpers and groans only to swallow them down with kisses, expertly muffling Peggy's every expression of pleasure. And when the roles are reversed, Angie just… breathes. Short, quick gasps that pause suddenly when Peggy flicks her thumb just the right way, lungs hitching and choking before Angie seems to remember she needs air and starts again, with a quiet click from the back of her throat.
It takes two weeks for Peggy to gather up the courage to ask about it, as they both pull their clothes back onto sweat-sticky skin.
"Get caught with the wrong person enough times and you learn not to make noise," Angie shrugs, like it's nothing.
It's something to Peggy.
Another week and a half later, Angie knocks on Peggy's door on a Sunday afternoon and says, "I got the late shift today and it looks like I got ready too early. Wanna help me pass the time?"
Angie's never approached her during daylight hours. Rather than bothering to answer, Peggy grins and starts unbuttoning her blouse. Angie laughs, locks the door behind her, and rushes to catch up.
Peggy's only just managed to remove Angie's brassiere when she sees the scar.
It's a small enough thing, low in the valley between Angie's breasts. Circular, discolored, but not raised. Easy to miss in the darkness—only there's no darkness now.
Peggy knows a cigarette burn when she sees one.
Angie pulls away, arms falling self-consciously over her bare chest. "Aw, shoot. Nobody."
"Nobody you need to worry about. It was a long time ago." When Peggy's severe look doesn't lift, Angie sighs and blows the hair out of her eyes. "I meant what I said, about bein' quiet. Turns out, fellas don't like it when you step out with their girls." Angie doesn't seem upset. If anything, she seems annoyed at the interruption. She tries to recapture Peggy's lips, pulling on a grin. "C'mon, we wait much longer and I'll be late. We doin' this or what?"
Peggy wishes she could comply, but the mood's been quite thoroughly killed. A violent rage is building in her, a desire to fix this even if she has to break every jaw in Manhattan to do it, but she bites down on her fury. From the look on Angie's face—passive, even amused now that she's realized they won't be going any further—Peggy figures there's no one to aim it at, anymore.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Peggy asks instead, voice tight.
Angie's fingers ghost over the two marks on Peggy's bullet-bitten shoulder. "We all got our secrets, English," she says.
Neither cares to finish what they started, but that night, Peggy pays her a visit. For the first time, they leave a lamp on, and Peggy spends over an hour hunting down every scar, mark and blemish on Angie's small frame, asking for the story of each. Most are fun—relics of childhood antics with her rowdy brothers, a small line on her arm from the first time her Ma left her home alone with chicken in the oven that needed turning and only one instruction (don't burn yourself) which she'd failed to follow, a slightly-raised scrape on her knee from a bicycle accident.
But there's also the cigarette wound on her chest, bright silver crescents at her hips left by hands much larger than Peggy's, and a long, ropey scar wrapped halfway around the back of one thigh that Angie refuses to explain.
Peggy, still clothed, worships them all, and does not let herself think about a future where she can tell Angie the truth about her job—to have this kindness extended back to her is a gift Peggy doesn't deserve.
By midnight Angie is sound asleep, hair haloed out across her pillow, face blissed-out and free of worry lines. Peggy should be going—it's past curfew, she has work in the morning, they'll be caught—but she just can't pull herself away. Not tonight.
Instead, Peggy allows herself to fall asleep with Angie in her arms.
Peggy wakes at dawn, internal clock tuned to the sun since the war. For one dizzy second, she doesn't know where she is—this isn't her room, something's touching her, what's touching her—but the walls configure themselves into 3C, and the something is Angie, and she relaxes.
(The last time she shared a bed with anyone overnight, she'd been trekking through Poland with the Howling Commandos. Gabe had slept over the meager comforter, like a gentleman.)
If there's one thing Angie hates, it's having an opening shift in the morning right after a closing shift the previous night. Peggy is sure she would have mentioned it if she had to be up early. Which leaves Peggy's schedule to contend with, and there's not much time if she wants to give Angie a proper wake-up call and still get to work under the wire.
The thought of having to deal with Jack Thompson's smug face turns her stomach; Peggy makes an executive decision and reaches for Angie's phone. (That's the benefit to working at the phone company, she thinks—the switchboard operators are very understanding.)
Peggy tries to keep the conversation hushed, but the click of the receiver returning to the cradle has Angie groaning into her shoulder and blinking awake. It takes a second for her eyes to focus, and she peers at Peggy in clear bafflement. "You're here."
Peggy smirks at the statement of the obvious, finding Angie's sleep-hazed insight adorable. "It looks that way, yes."
Angie yawns. "Whatime s'it?"
"Early yet. You can go back to sleep, if you like."
"Don't you got somewhere to be?"
"Not today," Peggy says, stretching luxuriously. Enjoying the way their legs slide together. "I called in. Said I was having a feminine experience."
Angie snorts. "Is that what we're calling it?"
Peggy grins in return, and allows herself a brief peck to Angie's lips. "They didn't ask me to elaborate. Good morning."
"Mornin'." Angie nuzzles in closer, burying her face in Peggy's neck. "You've never stayed before."
"I—no. I haven't." Peggy can't parse Angie's tone, and, well. She did break their unspoken rule. "Is that… alright?"
"Sure. No one's ever stayed before," Angie admits sleepily, and if there's a sharp edge to the confession, a note of vulnerability Angie would never have allowed into her voice if she'd been awake enough to catch it, well. "S'nice."
The words move through Peggy slick as snake venom, thickening her veins with a sick, desperate kind of sadness. She finds herself suddenly, of all things, wishing Steve were here—because that's the kind of presence Angie deserves. Someone generous and compassionate, someone who radiates surety that if you're near, you're worthy. Someone safe.
That has never been Peggy.
Everyone Peggy's ever known like that has died.
"You okay, Peg?" Angie asks, eyes searching. "You look like someone stepped on your grave."
Correction: all but one.
"Never better, darling," she says, tangling her fingers in Angie's messy curls, because the morning sun is streaming in through the crack in the curtains, and their bodies are flush in a warm, comfy bed, and even as the words are leaving her mouth they become true.
"I'm gonna need a rain check on that dance."
Peggy tucks her head against the radio transponder, trying not to cry. "All right. A week next Saturday at the Stork Club."
"The Stork Club?" Angie's voice is wry over the static, and Peggy can't breathe. "Jeez, you're gonna give a girl ideas, inviting her to a joint like that—"
Peggy sits up with a start.
Wide awake in an instant, she takes stock of the room—windows undisturbed, bathroom door ajar, nothing out of place… yet Angie's side of the bed is empty, and stone cold. A glance at the clock shows it's just a little after three—far too early for Angie to be up, even if she has the opening shift.
Common sense tells Peggy that perhaps Angie crept back into her own room to sleep, but… Peggy has never been one to be placated by common sense. Not even bothering with her dressing gown, Peggy creeps out into the hallway, intent on peeking into Angie's room—just to make sure.
There's no need. Angie's halfway down the hall, steps slow and shuffling.
"Angie," Peggy hisses, just loud enough to be heard. "Angie!"
No response. Something's wrong. Peggy chases after her, catching up easily. Angie nearly falls over when Peggy spins her by the shoulders, and once Peggy gets a good look at her, it's easy enough to see why. Angie's eyes are barely open, and utterly glazed over. Out like a light.
Peggy's heard of sleepwalking in the abstract, of course, but she's never encountered it in person before. She tries not to panic as she considers her options. She could guide Angie back to bed as-is and hope she doesn't get up again, but that's no guarantee. Waking her here in the hallway is a risk, though—best to lead her into one of their rooms and try and rouse her there.
Of course, that would be easier if Angie would allow herself to be lead anywhere. She's quite stubborn about staying where she is, for a somnambulist. Running out of patience, Peggy reaches down and swoops Angie into her arms.
"Mmm… Peg?" Angie murmurs, coming back to herself. She blinks. "Why're you carryin' me?"
"You tell me, Sleepyhead," Peggy says, aiming for levity. She's not sure she quite gets there.
Angie groans. "How far'd I get?"
"Shhh," Peggy reminds her—they're still in the hallway.
"I'm sorry. Been doin' it ever since I was a kid," Angie says when Peggy sets her back on her feet in the privacy of Peggy's room. "Never happened when I wasn't in my room before, though. Guess you don't keep your door locked, huh? That ain't safe, English, anyone could come in." She raises her eyebrows. "Or get out."
As if Angie gets to lecture her on what's safe. Angie, who'd been walking towards the stairwell—who could have fallen, or worse, made it out to the street and gone anywhere, where anything could have happened—
Angie huffs out a laugh as Peggy pulls her into a tight embrace, but her amusement dries up when she feels how hard Peggy's trembling. "Peggy, it's okay. Happens all the time. Look at me, I'm fine. See? C'mon, let's get back to bed…"
That night, Peggy dreams of a house so big Angie could wander it for hours and never leave the safety of its halls.
It's amazing how talented Howard Stark is at making dreams a reality—even dreams that aren't his own.
Peggy has plans for their first night in Howard's graciously-given penthouse. There's no one around to hear them, no reason to keep quiet any longer, and Peggy intends to make Angie scream, if it's the last thing she does.
Though it's not going quite as smoothly as she planned.
"Angie," Peggy prompts gently, peppering kisses across her shoulders while her fingers work within, "No one's listening, darling. Let it out."
Angie gets as far as "You're so—yes—" before she stops herself, whimpering.
It will be a hard habit to break, this silence—after all, it's been strengthened by years of negative reinforcement.
Luckily, Peggy has never minded hard work.
She starts kissing her way down Angie's body, beginning a running commentary somewhere south of the cigarette scar that's become a particular area of attention. "Do you have any idea how much I adore you?" she asks Angie's navel as Angie squirms beneath her. She drags her lips across the ridge of Angie's hip bone, smirking as she hears the rustle of Angie's fingers fisting into the sheets. "You're sexy," she drops a kiss along the inside of Angie's thigh, "clever," another, "giving," again, "talented," closer, she's starting to lose the plot herself, now, "and I'm going to love every inch of you, love you, forever—"
"Love you too," Angie gasps in agreement as Peggy finds her center and sucks, and with that, the dam is broken. Her hips start bucking to Peggy's rhythm. "Love you, fuck me, Jesus, thank you—"
"Thank me?" Peggy starts laughing, she can't help it, and Angie jerks back from the sudden onslaught.
Far be it for Peggy to disobey a direct order. She sets herself to work, allowing herself every indulgence she'd denied when they lived under Ms. Fry's watchful eye: pulling Angie to dizzying heights only to plateau, hold off, wait, until the pressure of Angie's heels digging into her back becomes too much to bear and Peggy pulls out the last stop, adding a third finger to the mix.
It's then that Peggy learns what she thinks might be her favorite fact of all:
Give Angie a good enough orgasm, and she'll forget English entirely.
"S-sto godendo, stellina—dammi un bacio," Angie babbles as Peggy teases out every last ounce of pleasure, and suddenly her hands are buried in Peggy's hair, grasping, pulling her up for a kiss. Peggy yelps but allows herself to be manhandled, falling into laughter once more as Angie rolls them over to show her appreciation.
Peggy's good with languages—French, German, even Russian—but Italian is new for her.
No matter. She's always been a fast learner.