A follow-up to "No Place Like Home."
|Word count: Approx. 900
Notes/Warnings: None. Follow up to: “No Place Like Home.”
Summary: Written for the prompt(s): Your character thinks he is good at something, but he isn’t. Something makes your character realize it. What is it and how does your character handle it or do with it?
“I’m so sorry, Deb-Deb!”
This wasn’t the first time Sunny had said that. But then again, this wasn’t the first time I’d puked.
Both things were getting rather wearisome.
“I flushed the toilet and hauled myself up from the bathroom floor. Sunny was quick to help me and we shuffled to the sink, where I ran the hot water, washed my hands, and splashed my face. I took the opportunity to gargle the taste of vomit out of my mouth. To limited success.
Sunny hovered by my side the whole time, anxious and stricken-looking.
“I should’ve known not to buy that do-it-yourself sushi kit,” she muttered, frowning thunderously at her reflection. Her normally amused and dancing dark eyes were concerned when they met mine, and grim. “We should go to the emergency room.”
“No, no . . . I’m fine,” I said, and just then my stomach gurgled audibly, making a liar out of me. “I’ll be fine, that is. There can’t be anything left in there to throw up.”
“But Deb, babe—what if you’ve got, like, ptomaine? You know, food poisoning?” Sunny put her arm around my waist and together we shuffled out of my bathroom and into the main bedroom. We collapsed on my bed: her with a sigh, me with a groan, when my stomach complained.
“Can’t be food poisoning,” I finally said, leaning forward, hands braced on the edge of my bed. The room was spinning slightly. Again. “If it was, you’d be sick, too.”
“I did eat a lot of that sashimi . . . even though it tasted kinda funny,” Sunny agreed thoughtfully. “But then, I thought maybe that was the way it was supposed to taste. I didn’t have any other taste to compare it to. My first big mistake.”
At Sunny’s rueful tone, I looked over at her, meaning to comfort her when my stomach groaned and cramped. I clutched it with one clammy hand and Sunny sighed.
“Food poisoning,” she said with the same grim concern.
“Is—look, Deb-Deb, I’ve seen food poisoning before, and I’ve had it, too. Livin’ on the streets with nothin’ to eat, sometimes, but garbage . . . food poisoning was just one of many perks.” Sunny snorted and looked down at her bare, brown knees, her long dreads curtaining her dark face.
Even after months of living with me and eating regular meals, she was still built like a bird: small and frail-looking.
I reached out and put my free hand on her knobby knee. She looked up at me, pouting and worried, and I felt a smile—seasick, but a smile—begin. When Sunny pouted, she looked even younger than her twenty years and I felt the overwhelming desire to take care of her. And if that meant taking care of me, then so be it.
“Would it make you feel better if I went to the E.R.? Got checked out?”
“Yes,” she said without hesitation, grinning her big, brilliant grin, and standing up. She held out her hand. Still smiling despite the increasing cramps, I stood up, too, lurching forward and nearly toppling into Sunny. But she caught me. She was a lot stronger than she looked, something I’d realized quite frequently over the past few months.
But long after I was steady, she looked up into my face, searching my eyes. I was about to ask her what was up when she bounced up on her toes and kissed me on the mouth.
Shocked, I simply stood there, eyes wide, cramps forgotten, as Sunny’s eyes darted everywhere but at me.
I opened my mouth to speak, uncertain of what would come out. “Do that again,” I said, and Suny at last met my eyes again, her own surprised and hopeful, and smiled shyly.
“For real, Deb-Deb?”
Before I could even get the words out good, she was kissing me once more. It was . . . incredible. The kiss I’d been waiting for all my life, it felt like. And this is when it happened, me on the verge of vomiting again, stomach all crampy and gurgling, both Sunny and I as nervous as all get-out and kissing without any real technique, just . . . tentatively exploring each other and finding out what the other liked.
I wouldn’t have changed that kiss for anything.
“You know, even though you’re half-sick and taste kinda like spew, that was still, like, the best kiss I’ve ever had,” Sunny breathed on my lips, and I chuckled.
“Thanks . . . I think.”
“Not a problem. The pleasure was all mi—oh, shit—” Sunny gulped and bolted out of my arms and into the bathroom, retching. I joined her there a minute later, and leaned against the lintel as she flushed the toilet and groaned.
“You really are the worst cook,” I said as another cramp rocketed through me. I’d be needing the toilet myself, in another few minutes. “Ever.”
“I really am,” Sunny agreed in a raw, miserable croak. Then she was turning back to the toilet to retch again.
My lips still tingling, and curving in a small smile, I went back into my bedroom to call us a cab to Mercy General.