[Disclaimer] This is pure fiction, about real people
[Pairing] Connie Britton & Chip Esten
[Note] For my PPs – Thank you for everything! You are sublime.
The temperature is colder than normal for spring, but the sun is shining down, warming the interior of the car. Connie adjusts her aviators as she leans her head back against the headrest. A song plays softly and Chip hums along, providing the soundtrack for their out of state drive. They had made the arrangements quietly when the announcement had been made that they would be filming on a base an hour away. Since it was so close there was no need for an overnight stay, or for any family members to tag along for filming. He had explained the latter part when asked before dropping the subject.
It’s been a while since they’ve had the opportunity to be alone. For a while, she had been feeling like he was purposefully avoiding her, finding excuses to stay away. She knew that things were complicated, so she told herself not to push him. As a side effect, she had drawn into herself even more than usual. She begged off of social outings, unsure if she’d be able to enjoy herself while she was still thinking of Chip.
Now they’re sitting inches away from each other with no way of being interrupted. He peers over at her, wishing there wasn’t a center console between them. When he had picked her up at her house, she had leaned into him as she hugged him, holding him for several beats before thinking of letting him go. He reaches down and traces the inside of her arm which is resting between their seats. Uncurling her fingers, she leaves her hand open until his hand finds hers. Their fingers lace together and he squeezes gently.
She’s needed this. She’s needed to be in his presence, to know that his attention is solely on her. His touch is reassuring and she feels like she could melt into her seat, not a care in the world.
It’s a change from the way she’s been feeling, like all of the stability she had build was about to tumble down. She hadn’t realized how much of it had been based on him, she had never meant for so much of it to be based on him. Chip had become her support system in a variety of ways. He was the one to push her out of her comfort zone and at the same time was her safety net. With him, she knew that he would be there.
They really hadn’t intended to have an affair. They had both thought about it, of course. It was impossible not to when their mouths and hands were all over each other in the course of filming. Their physical chemistry was evident to everyone and it was essential to their work. What wasn’t essential, she knew from experience, was their particular bond. She had worked with other actors, all with whom she had chemistry and a successful working relationship, and it was nothing like working with Chip. She had never gotten butterflies in her stomach before when a costar looked at her, not during a scene and certainly not outside of filming. This was something else, she felt it deeply.
When the reality of what they had done sunk in, it was too much for him to handle. He retreated from Connie, not wanting to, but not knowing what else to do. It wasn’t right of him and if there was anything he could change it would be that. He wished that he had confronted everything instead of trying to brush it away. There was no way to hide his feelings for her, no way to ignore the shift between them or how it was to be with her.
A resurgence of scenes together put them back in each other’s days when they needed it most. It was surprisingly easy to pick things up right where they had left them.
Part of her wants to glaze over what happened. He’s back and she wants to focus on that. But part of her worries that it could happen again in an instant. She knows that ultimately they need to address this head on.
They pass under a bridge, shadow covering the car until they come out on the other side.
“Do you know how much I’ve missed you?” Connie asks him.
The first response that pops in his head is that it’s only been a day since he last saw her, but he holds his tongue. It’s not the time for humor. He had missed her to, he wants to say, and he will but now’s not the time for that either.
“I’m sorry, Connie.”
“You can’t do that again, okay?” It comes out as a whisper, which impacts him more than if she had yelled it. “I need you to tell me what’s going on, what you’re feeling, okay?”
He puts his directional on and pulls over to the side of the road. She turns toward him, a questioning look on her face. Taking his belt off, he leans across and cups her cheek in his hand. “Okay,” he tells her. “I will not do that to you again. I wish I never had to begin with. I’m in this with you, we’re in this together.”
She touches his chin, tracing the stubble just under his lip. “Together,” she repeats. She slips her hand behind his neck, pulling him closer.
“Together,” he agrees. He moves toward her mouth, all heat and desire, to show her how much he means it. He draws her lower lip in between his, grazing it with his teeth. Her response is slow and deliberate, the way she wants to take things from here on out. She doesn’t want them to be rushed, a moment snuck here and there. Running her tongue along his, she makes a small noise of contentment. She wants to take the time to enjoy him, knowing that they have an infinite amount of time ahead of them.
She kisses down to his jaw, moving along toward his ear before sitting back.
“We have a call time, you know. We really do need to get to the base,” she tells him.
“You’re trying to ruin my fun here.” He groans when he feels her squeeze his thigh.
“Maybe the car will break down on the way back. There’s no telling how long it will take to get a tow truck on the side of a dark country road…”
“I like the way you think, Con, I like the way you think.”
As he enters back onto the road, he thinks to himself how glad he is for second chances and how grateful he is for her. He’s not going to fuck it up again this time.