Thursday, January 20, 2022

we could all be winners

 


Cyrus was certain he'd have no excuse to get out of bed if it wasn't for Pixie. Of course, in general, it was hard actually going to bed at night.

There was a lot of thinking to do. Of course, he hated to watch the news. It was all so scary. Why do anything? But of course, he did. He was there in the early morning to take care of the coffee shop. He'd grown to love it. Thank God, he finally caught on. He supposed. Well, that's what Pixie said. He didn't know for sure if he was that great at his job.

Naturally, it felt like a crash course, and if he didn't think about the pandemic then he was OK. But late at night, he did ponder what he was doing with his life. Of course, Pix gave meaning to that and he was glad she got the car. It was nice to see her every morning and late at night too.

They finally got together with Roman for another pub quiz. He brought his friend Eddie along. Naturally, they were all masked up that time. It was amazing there was even a quiz. There hadn't been one since. 

Of course, it was successful. Their team won. Sure, Cyrus could hear the grumbles. He could just imagine how some were in the audience when Amy Schneider kept winning every round on Jeopardy. Of course, he knew he wasn't that smart, but there were a lot of old farts at the pub and even the young ones who probably should have studied for tests. They didn't seem to know much of anything other than trying to take in pop culture.

"I wish we could do this every night," he said aloud that night on the way home. Of course, he looked back to see Roman and Eddie holding hands. For a moment, he felt a bit woozy. Were they really doing that?

He looked at Pixie's hand. Would it be so weird if he held her hand? Naturally, he wasn't one to touch anything. But it was touching to see Roman and Eddie together. Damn, if it didn't bring him to tears.

Of course, in the next moment, Pixie was asking if he was OK as steam surrounded her as if she might be a hot dragon in the cold.

"Oh, I'm..I'm just cold," he replied as if he was on autopilot. Still, it felt as if some people could move forward and he couldn't.

What was he waiting for? He felt he'd been waiting for something his entire life. He took her hand as if it were the thing to do. If they were doing it, why couldn't they hold hands, too?

She looked at him kind of funny, but she didn't fight him on it.

"We're coming back, the next time they have a pub quiz," Cyrus exposed a silly grin. "And we'll win!"

"I think we should study, meantime," Eddie nodded. Naturally, Cyrus liked that idea.

"We might have to do it, video chat, but we could do it," Roman agreed.

Cyrus sighed. What he'd always wanted was a real study group.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Won't you draw a map for me



 "Well, I am worried about you," Mario's father, Kim told LaLa who just about fell off the couch when he called. She didn't even know he had her phone number. This is when he told her about Mario meeting Bren.

"She lives just down the hall from him," he explained.

"I see." LaLa couldn't say much else. After all, Paulie was standing there with a cup of coffee for her as if it was getting cold. She told him to put it on the coffee table.

"That doesn't bother you does it?" His voice was almost ghost-like. She couldn't think of him trying to get her to break them up. He wouldn't. This whole conversation was confusing. "Things are good with you and Paulie?" No one had ever asked. LaLa found herself in tears. What could she do?

"Yes," she quickly cleared his throat. Unsure, if the old man was making trouble or did he just care for her in a rather fatherly way?

"Well, I'm here if you ever need to talk. You know, not much is going on these days. But I heard you moved." That's when he told her about Deano with COVID and how he was sure Caitlin would get it. "But she's been vaccinated. Though she's quarantining, just you know..she has too."

"I'm so sorry." LaLa felt it was her fault. Suddenly, she felt terrible for Caitlin. Wasn't she pregnant?

"Oh, you know, this variant is everywhere," Kim said. "I just didn't know if you had any Christmas at all." He wanted her new address so he could send her a Christmas card.

"Oh, you don't need to do that."

"But it's all ready to go. I have no need to keep it," he said so she was reluctant and gave him Paulie's address. 

She felt as if she'd been the worst possible person when she got off the phone with him. Had she got it all wrong? Suddenly, she felt a little out of it. She sipped her warm coffee.

"What's wrong?" Paulie wanted to know. She told him it was nothing. She hadn't meant to become this person. Yes, she'd been nice to Mario's father because he was Mario's father, but this man..she knew now where Mario got his goodness from.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Driving into the snow



 They'd stayed in Liv's room. Ever so quietly. No way was Rico taking Liv to his Dad's. But he called him and told him what was happening with the stranger in Bren's room. 

She had an electric kettle and it was filled with water so they had hot chocolate. Trying to make the best of it, like instant gratification. 

"Do you know that guy?" He'd asked.

"No." She looked like a helpless bird and Rico didn't know if he knew what to do with a bird, like her. But he did his best to make things better, not worse.

He knew not to ask about her brother. He did feel bad for her having a brother like Tristan.

 After all, Rico was here to make her room more like home. He helped put up posters and framed photos. They unpacked her clothes and hung them in the closet. Anything to keep going and not look back. 

"It wasn't your fault," he told her later. She only nodded, but he could see she put the blame on herself.

"You'll be OK." He found that the more he touched her hair and soothed her restless curls it seemed to keep her calm. It wasn't long until they settle down to slumber. True, they were well clothed even covered, and snuggled together. Sleep was the natural order of things.

When the sun rose, Rico winced hard. Had he been here all along. He was certain he'd wandered off somewhere else, but now he had spooned against Liv all along. She smelled of patchouli and blue Tansey, like an ancient sedative.

Naturally, he knew it was time to go, even as he saw the street of snow. Time was wasting. Weren't they supposed to be at school?

"But you should shower," she said. He told her he was good. She should go on and get ready.

He went down the hall. After all, he still had a key. He washed up the best he could. 

"What are you doing here?" His brother Mario asked who had not gone to sleep after all.

"Oh, just..just checking on Liv, but..but I think she might still be asleep," Rico lied before he even knew it. Still, it didn't feel wrong. He was just looking out for Liv. "I told her I'd take her to school."

Mario gave him a nod. He handed over two egg sandwiches. He hadn't been the only one busy. Bren might as well have been a short-order cook.

"Thanks," Rico smiled. Perhaps the less they said the better.

"Oh, don't forget to take some coffee too," Mario said. Rico kept smiling. Mario had it all boxed up as if he and Bren did this every morning.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Do you ever stop and think about me?



 When Frankie got the call, it was a shock Dylan would know exactly where he was.

"We need Bea now, can you bring her?" This woke up Frankie. He had to nudge Bea. Of course, she awoke as if she was ready for war.

Soon enough they were at Dylan and Tori's and she got the baby in a cool bath. She had a handy thermometer to use on Soren's little forehead. 

"I think it's just cholic," Bea told Dylan. "But make an appointment. Maybe a low-iron formula would help."

"Oh." Tori nodded.

"He's going to be OK." Soren didn't even have a fever. Tori sighed as if she might pass out on the couch.

Frankie and Dylan were off in the kitchen making breakfast.

"How did you know?" Frankie looked at Dylan.

"I saw you two together in the hospital parking lot, once upon a time," Dylan just smiled. "I knew you two were tight."

"Did you, now?"

Dylan only nodded. Of course, Frankie could see Tori didn't even know he was there. She was talking to Bea about all her troubles with breastfeeding and everything else. Naturally, there were far more serious things than Frankie being with Bea. He knew it didn't matter.

"You just don't know how happy you've made Tori," Dylan handed him over a cup of coffee. "She's glad you know someone like Bea."


Wednesday, January 12, 2022

in the middle of something

 


Deano was sure they were all sick with COVID. He thought he might faint as he was getting the rapid test done. At home.

"Look, we've been vaccinated and boosted," Caitlin was the calm one as she followed the instructions.

"But," he wanted to cry. It was crazy. He first had the bummed toe. Now Caitlin had one too. It was like they shared everything. Maybe he was pregnant too. He had to go throw up when she stuck the swab up his nose. "You're killing me!" He yelped.

By the time he got to the bathroom, he found out it was just diarrhea but his eyes were full of water and his nose still felt awful. He didn't think he could do the test on Caitlin. At this point, he couldn't leave the bathroom, either.

A few minutes later, she told him from the other side of the bathroom door. "You got it, babe!"

"What!" He yelled back before he took another dump.

 "COVID!"

"Are you sure!" She had to be wrong. She had to be. But his stomach begged to differ. He felt as if he was in a stupor of some kind. He finally flushed the commode and went to shower. He didn't want to be sick.

Naturally, he was certain this was all Roman's fault. No, on second thought, IT WAS ALL LALA'S FAULT. Why had they all gone out to dinner? How were they going to get through this?

"Are you OK?" He asked when he finally got back to bed.

She nodded yes.

"You can't be here if I'm sick," he told her.

"It's too late." She shrugged. 

"But."

"It's too  late." She looked at him as if to leave well enough alone. 

Monday, January 10, 2022

Journey into the night

 


The baby had cried so much. Tori had never seen him like this.

"Well, babies can't sleep forever," Dylan told her as he walked around with Soren trying to comfort him. They took turns with him.

She would feed him, or more or less pacify him with her breasts. And just when she thought he was better, he wasn't. His little tummy was tight and his legs jerked in.

Tori couldn't help but to be in tears. "What am I doing wrong?" Her back ached from bending over. Her arms hurt too. She just didn't know what to do.

"I don't want to go to the emergency room with him," that was like asking for trouble, she thought. 

"We need to take his temp," Dylan said, but he didn't want to do it.

"I don't want to do it!" The thought made Tori cringe. The only thermometer they had was the old kind. She shook at the thought having to put it up his butt and the way he squirmed she wasn't sure if she could get anything accurate under his arm.

"Why didn't I get one of those new ones?" Tori was in a pout as she hugged herself.

"Because, they were all out at the drugstore." They couldn't even get the one they wanted on Amazon. They didn't have money for the high priced ones.

Tori pressed her lips tight thinking she was the worst mother possible. Meanwhile, Soren went on crying as if nothing could calm him. He laid on his back in his crib. She rubbed his little stomach, but it seemed to make him feel worse.

She looked up to see Dylan on the phone.

"Who are you calling?" She couldn't imagine anyone would want to talk to them at three in the morning.

"Frankie," he said.

"Frankie?" She didn't understand.

"He'll know someone," Dylan said.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Just one more problem

 

Mario didn't want to ask too many questions.

"It's not your fault," he told Bren. Of course, a part of him didn't really want to know anything about this Gonzo guy. Maybe they would have been better off to have called the cops, he now thought as he looked back at the situation. He'd told Rico to take Liv to their Dad's while he figured out the situation at Bren's apartment. 

Bren was upset in the worst way, he told her to stay at his place. He knew she couldn't say he was a neusiance. How long had she let this happen? But he wouldn't let himself get angry. That would not do. It was time for a change. Especially for Bren. Yet he felt himself changing the most. It was bitter yet he knew he couldn't let it grasp him.

"You wouldn't get in a fight with him, would you?" She was serious, but she could barely look at him. "I mean, I wouldn't want you fighting over me." She shook her head, yet he knew she was sad and worried.

He'd only smiled back. It was true she probably had the heart of a second-grader. He'd put his hand on the top her head. "It'll be fine."

And maybe it sort of was. He went in and woke up Bren's old boyfriend who was snoring in her bed. He also had a cough and probably a fever.

"You need to get up now," Mario turned on the bedroom lights and pulled back the covers. Of course, he cringed at the thought of the bare naked body. "Are you kidding me!"

Finally, he got a reaction as if maybe Gonzo thought he might be in the wrong apartment. He hurried to dress and scurried away.

"You'll be better off not coming back!" Mario found himself yelling at him. Of course, now he thought that took a lot out of him. Mario wondered if he'd made himself sick by doing that in the heat of the night.

Still, Mario was in line at the drugstore now to get a take-home COVID test. Luckily, Bren got the sheets washed. Of course, they were up practically all night, drinking coffee and eating leftover fudge. Liv finally got home and safely to her room. There was a moment or two he thought his brother might still be with her, but he didn't know for sure.

Suddenly, Mario felt he needed to protect Bren as if he wanted to be with her every minute of the day, but then again he didn't want to drive her crazy either. After all, what if they were all infected with COVID. He calculated the days. He had already scheduled an appointment at the CHI clinic, but he couldn't get in until a few days from now. He'd made an appointment for Bren too. There was such a surge in the virus these days. 

"That guy has no respect for you," he said when he got back with a couple of take-home tests the drug store would give him. "You deserve better." Of course, he knew the true answer. Hopefully, she'd figure it out.

She looked the box over, reading the instructions. When she looked back at him, her smile was a little sad. But when she hugged him, he knew she thought so too.