Last scene of previous:
They got a piece of chocolate cake off the TR dessert menu to split, and a takeout container.
“I’m sorry, I’m just really tired and a little overwhelmed…” E said as they were walking out the double-doors. She felt bad for not wanting to go out. She felt like a party pooper.
V smiled at her, “That’s alright, you’ve had a long day. I didn’t really want ice cream anyways. I was just mourning the melting of my mousse pie.” She points to her car. E laughs.
“And here I thought I was being a party pooper!” E kicked herself, that one kind of slipped out without thought and sounded like a specific someone who she’d grew to hate; she better not be sounding like S.
“You’re no party pooper.” V looks at her affectionately. She honestly felt dumb for even suggesting going out, anyways. It was getting late, and honestly, she didn’t really want ice cream, either. They got into the car and V pointed to the back seat where a half-eaten and sad-looking brown pie drooped.
“There he is. Rest in peace.” She made a frown.
E laughed again. “He looks so sad!”
“I meant to put him in the refrigerator at the hotel, but forgot.” She pooches her lip.
As V begins their short trip “home”, E pulls out the chocolate cake and uses a plastic fork she found in a bag next to the melted pie and dug in.
“Hey! No fair.” V jokes and makes a fake sad face.
“Do you want a bite?” E says through a hand with her mouth full.
“Haha, no, you go ahead. I’m only kidding.”
E scoops almost an entire half of the cake off with her fork, “Mmm, this is so good.” V smiles and holds back a laugh, she knows E is teasing her with it. E chuckles, giving herself away, but still shoves the whole half in her mouth and triumphantly manages to chew the whole thing.
Her stomach full, E closes the plastic clamshell and rests her hand over her midsection and lets her head lean against the seatbelt and soon dozes off.
V couldn’t help thinking that she’s just so precious. She goes exactly the speed limit, so as not to wake her. The bump into the hotel lot doesn’t even wake her, though, so V has to wake her when they park.
“E.” She whispers, at first, and doesn’t know why. “E,” she says a little louder, “wake up, we’re at the hotel.”
“Hmm? Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know I fell asleep.” Her voice is low and raspy. Paired with E’s accent, it gives V butterflies.
“It’s okay.” V helplessly beams at her.
E grunts. “Don’t look at me.” She whines, embarrassed. She knows how much V adores her. “I’m getting up.”
“Hehe. Come on.” V opens her door and gets out and then comes around to open E’s. “Come on.” She offers her hand, but E pushes it away, so she gets embarrassed. The bad kind of embarrassed. “I’m a dumbass” flashes in her mind.
“I’m getting up.” E whines. “I’m coming.”
“I’m sorry.” V blushes.
E looks at her, and sees the embarrassment “It’s okay.” she starts, and catches herself before she says “baby”. She knows V feels bad and her tired expressions soften, “It really is fine, beautiful. You didn’t do anything wrong; I was being spiteful.”
V blushes more and E notices. She called her “beautiful”. E nicknames everyone “beautiful”, but V can’t help feeling hopeful and blushing. She always liked being called that by E; especially the way she says it with her accent.
Now it’s E pulling V out of dream land, “Come on.” She laughs and then makes sure to grab the cake before V locks her car. They head in to the hotel and up to their room. 336.
E is following V, but when V stops short in front of the room door without opening it, she gets curious.
“What?” E’s heart starts going again. Her mind instantly darts to S and is thinking she’s found them.
‘Oh God, I can’t have let S find us to hurt V.’ She thinks to herself.
“The door is open.” V can’t make out any other words, but peers into the darkness.
E peeks around her to see if she can see anyone or anything, too.
“Why is the door open?” V asks no one in particular, afraid to go inside. She suddenly darts her focus down the hallway, expecting someone to be making their way over. E goes around her, in front of the open door, and looks at her. “I won’t let anything happen to you, I promise.”
But V knows E needs more protection than she does. “Baby,” V catches herself, stunned, “E, I’m not going to let S come and hurt you.”
E shakes her head, “I’m going to walk in alone, it would be no use if we both went in and got stuck in there. I can deal with S, I’m not going to let you do that. Just stay here until I say the coast is clear.” Her heart pounds as she tentatively steps in, half-expecting a shadowed S to appear from around a corner and grab her. She jerks away from a shadow by the door, but realizes it isn’t anything. She finally finds the light switch and flips it on, preparing for whatever she might see.
V watches her, expectantly, her fingers crossed in her head; hoping that, if anything it’s just her family, and not S. She doesn’t want E to face S again, she’d rather face her family. She hugs close to the doorway, waiting for any news.
E looks back at her from the beds, confused, “I don’t really see anything. I don’t think anyone’s here. Everything is the way we left it, too, so I don’t think anyone’s been here. Maybe we just left the door open?”
V comes inside and peeks into the bathroom, E had gone past it. She turns on the light and looks around. No one. The shower is just clear foggy glass, too, and no one is in it.
She is about to ask if she should close the room door, but then she just does, just in case someone is waiting in the hall. She comes in and meets E where she is at in the middle of the space. They both look around better, under the beds and whatnot, but no one is there. Not even a trace of any person, save themselves, having been around.
“Did you close the door?” E asks, suddenly thinking of it.
“I did.” E is relieved and then lets out a sigh that is more of a laugh. As they both get their bearings, she adds, “Well, that was nerve-wracking. I am definitely awake and don’t think I will be sleeping tonight.”
“I’m sorry.” V’s brow furrows. She felt really badly and wondered why she didn’t insist on going in first. But then she remembered that E wouldn’t have let her, anyways. There is no way she would have allowed V to go in alone, and no use arguing otherwise. E has dealt with way more shit than V ever has, but that has only made her very protective of V, so she never has to go through what she’s been through herself. It would have made E feel bad if V had went in alone. It really was a catch-22 situation. Neither would be able to forgive herself if anything happened to the other.
“It’s okay, baby. It’s not your fault.” E says gently, dropping all the filters which were beginning to feel dumb in this dire situation of survival, “…I probably wasn’t going to sleep well tonight anyways.” She adds, then half-heartedly chuckles.
V considers offering E a hug, but E isn’t much of a hugger and she’s not sure they’re really in that place, yet. They’re just surviving together. She has no intention or desire to make E uncomfortable in any way, either, so she decides not to. She feels she’s already upset her enough today.
Realizing she is holding the takeout bag that E must have handed her, she sets the cake in the fridge and the bag on a drawer knob.
E watches her do so, and wants to invite her to come and sit next to her on the bed, but why? It’s not even that she wants to sleep with V, she just could use the company, and so could V. She just wants to comfort her. She musters up the guts this time, instead of letting circumstance shush her again.
“Come here and let’s watch a show or something…get our minds off this shit. We’ve both been rattled, tonight.” She pats a spot next to her on the bed. She half punches herself; half is excited, getting little butterflies in her stomach, which came out of nowhere. To that, she said “no” to herself, so loudly within that she thought for a second maybe she said it out loud. But V was coming over to join her and didn’t seem to have heard her self-instruction.
V walked over to E surprised. She didn’t expect E to want to sit with her right now. It came out of nowhere, really. Of course, it had been a long day—this one day felt like two and a half—they both were tired and lonely. That was probably it. And she wouldn’t let E do anything she’d regret. She wouldn’t do that to E.
She met her on the bed and sat next to her. She’d gotten the remote control off of the desk on her way here and handed it to E, “What do you want to watch?”
“My shows are not tonight’s speed, you pick.” E laughed, refusing the remote.
V scrolled through the channel list. “Hmm, well, what about these re-runs of ‘Tom and Jerry’?” She asked, surprised at her find and looking at E.
“Whatever you want.” E smiled.
V wanted to be cuddled close to E and to kiss her, but she knew that wasn’t what E meant, so she selected the highlighted line on the TV to watch the cartoon live. Each kept looking at the other throughout the show.
E wanted to kiss her. She almost reached over and did, but something deep inside her stopped her. Her heart frowned. She really wanted to, but she knew she wasn’t ready for a new relationship, and didn’t want to use V or lead her on. Her heart was raw, too, and she wasn’t ready for it to be played with again, yet. Fear was the one to shut her request in, this time. That one might be buried for a while.
Once the commercials came on, E laughed at V all tucked into herself, and huddled in a hoodie and shy.
“Do you want to lay on me?” E asked with a knowing smile. V couldn’t help blushing and said, “I do…if you don’t mind.”
“I don’t. Come here.”
V tried to hide her smile, and a million tears, but the smile got out. The tears stayed in as she tucked close to E and laid her head on her shoulder. She could feel E’s heartbeat, it was steady, but a little giddy; this made her smile, too. It also made her feel very safe to be nestled here against E. Her smell was gentle and sweet. V closed her eyes and tried to feel E’s presence with every one of her senses. She fought the tears and forced them not to come. She needed this right now.
Continue to Part 4a
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