Burning Up

EMAIL: HIMH@aol.com
CATEGORY: Romance (SL/Chuck)
SPOILERS: For the relationship generally, basically AU canon after "Now What?"
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Based on a challenge submitted by a friend of mine.
SUMMARY: Things to do when your car breaks down in Arizona.

"Okay, Suze."

She hated it when he tried to calm her down, especially when she knew that the situation was inches from being at critical mass. "It's not okay." She pressed the ice-cold bottle to her forehead. "It's scorching hot. I'm not letting you push the car."

"Neither are you." He pointed out.

"Chuck...now's not a good time for you to play the gentleman."

He tried to smile; even that seemed to take a lot of effort. "How far away was that Triple A resstop?"

"Four miles. The guy said he'll be here in ten minutes."

"You know..." He smiled. "I can do a lot in ten minutes."

"So can I. But not in this kind of heat."

He smiled knowingly, finding his own beer, pressing it to his neck. "So, should I be ready to duck when Chloe opens the door?"

"Only if you don't like being hugged."

"Chloe's a hugger?"

"It's the third step in a four-step program, I think." Susan smiled, not without the smallest hint of anger. "She'll probably like you. And you'll love Little Suzie."

"Yeah, she'll be fun to exper-I mean, practice on."

Susan muffled a laugh behind her hand. Despite the heat, Chuck had a wonderful way of relaxing her.

"Is it always this hot here in the winter?"

"It's always this hot here, period." She admitted.

He leaned against his headrest. "When I was a kid, my mom and I would spend every winter in the park. She would drag me around on a sled until I fell off."

"That sounds...painful."

"It wasn't; hell, at least she had time for me, right?"

Susan understood him completely. That, to her amazement, seemed normal.

An orange-colored tow appeared at the head of the street, peeling casually toward them.

"There's our ride." He said.

"Our ride." She reflected, almost to herself.

Chuck paused, opening his door. "Yeah, our ride. Heat's getting to you, Suze."

She had to admit that much was true. It had to be the heat...or Chuck himself...

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