What Goes Around Comes Around

I sat near the back of the bus, taking up two whole seats. My ass was in one and my feet in the other. My legs were bent, knees pointed towards the roof of the bus and my back up against the side. I had my laptop open as wide as possible, resting against my thighs so I could type away. It was a nice distraction and a great arrangement, actually. Except for the fact that I’d had writer’s block for the last two days. And a Riot Grrrl without a muse was like a computer without a keyboard—lots of potential but no way to get at it. This particular block had something to do with the fact that I’d been sick. It was difficult to feel inspired when you were running a fever and your nose was just plain running.

So I saved the empty document, out of habit, and closed up the laptop. I slipped it into its carrying bag and turned in my seat to face the front of the bus. As I did so, I noticed a few people staring at me. As I met their eyes casually, each in turn, and every one of them quickly looked away. I sized them up as they did so, and decided none were threats. I dug a tissue out of one of the many, many pockets of my olive-colored cargo pants and rubbed my nose.

The other passengers could very easily have been staring at my slightly red nose and sallow visage, but I knew precisely what they were looking at. They were taking in my whole appearance, from the short brown hair and slight sideburns to the loose-fitting monster truck T to my trench coat to my thick-soled shoes, and they were all doing a mental evaluation: girl or boy? Little kids usually asked, and adults usually just stared. Today, I was in no mood for any of it. I didn’t even want to be there on the bus in the first place. It wasn’t the somewhat shifty public transportation I objected to, but the fact that I couldn’t go more than a few minutes without sneezing.

ehhhhhhTChihh! eh’KShihh!” My nose felt full, and I could control it most of the time by sniffing, though that wasn’t the least bit attractive. But when it got to tickling, there wasn’t much I could do but let the sneezes fly and hope for the best. This was one of the times I was glad to be misunderstood. People usually stayed out of my way in public places like busses. At least now they had a valid reason to do so. I sniffed again and blew my nose silently but thoroughly before sticking the used tissue into another pocket.

My stop was five blocks later, and I was grateful to make it there without any further displays of embarrassment. Once I was off the bus, however, it was an entirely different story. “EHKihshhh! EhhChihhh! hehChihhhh!” Out of the ten minutes it took me to walk to Pit Stop, Pit’s shop, I had a tissue at my nose for about nine minutes and forty seconds of the time. Then I stood outside, blowing my nose, until it felt just a little bit clearer. My nose felt better but my fingers were numb from being out in the cold weather.

When I went inside, I used the door to the repair shop rather than the showroom. The place was a bit dim but filled right to the brim with mechanics, equipment, and vehicles. I walked over to the counter and waited behind a man who was arguing about the type of filter they were going to put in during a routine lube, filter, and oil change. I felt like just taking him by the shoulders and shaking him until he realized that the sort of filter you got was determined by the car and a bigger one might have sounded good but wasn’t going to work in his puny Toyota Avalon. But, instead, I just waited. And sniffed. And shivered. And waited some more. “Can I help you?”

I nodded and stepped up. “Yeah. I brought my hog in for repairs a few days ago. Got a call this morning saying it was ready.”

“Last name?” the man asked, going over to the wall where there was a display of file folders with key chains attached.

“MacCarty,” I told him.

“MacCarty!” I heard echoed with some excitement and looked over to see Pit walking across the garage. I swear, the guy was all smiles every time he saw me. Smiles and hugs, though I guess he was too macho to hug me in front of his underlings because I didn’t get my usual hug and spin combo. And even though I felt like crap, I couldn’t help but smile back. Pit intervened, finding the file then pointing to his office. “I’ll handle your account, Ace. C’mon.”

Now, a proper lady would never walk into a back room alone with a large, strong mechanic if she knew what was good for her. However, I wasn’t a lady and Pit was a fast friend who knew enough about me to not bother trying anything. So I followed him back to his office. Once we were inside, door open mind you, he wrapped me in his arms and gave me a quick but warm, bear hug.

“Here, take a load off,” he said, pulling out a chair for me like a proper gentleman. I slumped down in it, legs spread instinctively, and noticed him eyeing my crotch. I couldn’t blame him, really, since I’d only started packing recently. But the glance only lasted a second, before he looked at the rest of me. “If you don’t mind my saying so,” he said, taking a seat behind his desk and not waiting to know if I minded or not. “You don’t look so good.”

“I don’t feel so good, either,” I told him without reservation. “Think I caught a cold or the flu or something. Was sneezing my head off all morning.” That sounded a little cheesy but, literally, that’s what it had felt like. I sniffed again, and he snapped his fingers. As I rubbed my nose, I watched him bend over, rifling through the drawers of his desk. He produced a box of tissues and slid it over to me. “Thanks, but believe me, you don’t want to see what I’ve got.” I sniffed again. Nose was tickling. Needed to wrap this up quick. “So what was wrong with my bike?”

“The clutch was shot, just like you thought. Had to replace the whole thing. You probably could have done it yourself with the right parts, but I can do it in my sleep and I didn’t charge you for the labor.”

“Pit,” I shook my head and snuck a tissue out of the box while he brought up my account on the computer and printed out a bill for me. “I don’t mind paying.”

He shook his head. “You’re a friend. I wouldn’t dream of it. But I did have to charge you for parts. Now your bike may engage a little differently, but better. And the new clutch will shed more friction material initially so you’re going to need an oil change after the first couple hundred miles or so.”

I nodded in agreement and sniffed almost continually as the printer whirred and finally produced the bill. And when he placed it in front of me, I couldn’t risk taking my hand off my nose. I pinched it tightly, feeling it running and tickling.

“You all right?” he asked.

I nodded. But I felt the urge rise and I wasn’t going to be able to stop a sneeze now. Sneezing a few times in front of strangers was one thing, but this was Pit. I didn’t want to disgust the poor fellow. I shook my head at him. “Can you look away, man?” I whispered.

He chuckled but turned his head obligingly.

They came fast, urgent. “ehhCHIHShhh! ehhShihh! Ehh-hehKshh!” I helped myself to another few tissues and started blowing my nose. “heh-eh-ehhhChihh! Sniff!” I blew my nose again until the tickles died down. “Bless me.” I tossed the tissues into a trashcan and took a few more. Tickles were gone but my nose was running again, and it was safer with tissues at my nose as I leaned over and looked at the bill. I was suddenly glad that he hadn’t charged me for labor. “Fuck me.”

Pit chuckled again. “Credit card?”

I didn’t make much bussing tables and washing dishes. I made less selling my art. And I made even less when I had to call in sick. There was a cold going around at the restaurant so my boss wasn’t surprised when I called him and informed him I’d finally come down with it. He was understanding but didn’t offer to give me leave with pay, naturally. With any luck, I’d just make rent and utilities this month.

I nodded.  ”Credit card.” I stood up and with my free hand I pulled my wallet out of my back pocket. I forked over my VISA card. At least I was going to get cash back. As he processed the card, my breath caught and nose tickled. “ehh-Pit?”

“I know, I know. M’not looking,” he said. He stared at the computer monitor, clicking around.

I covered my nose and mouth with about ten tissues. “ehhh-HIHShhh! Chishh! Sniff! h’Shihhh! Sniff! ehShihhh!” When I opened my eyes, I saw the whites of his eyes and groaned. “Pit!” My moan came, muffled in the tissues.

He shrugged and handed me a receipt and ballpoint pen. “You don’t look so bad doing that. I don’t know what your hang-up is.”

I blew my nose until it was in a place where I could leave it alone without worrying about it. “Oh, and you like people staring at you when you’re sick?”

“Point taken,” replied Pit.

I signed the receipt, and he gave me the copy, which I tucked into my wallet when I put my credit card back in. Then I stood to slide the wallet back in my pocket. At that point, I intended to leave. But my head felt funny. Sort of fuzzy and light at the same time. I saw bright lights and blinked, but I saw the same thing.

Then I found myself back in the chair, bent over with my head between my legs and Pit’s strong hands holding me there. I waited a few moments until the fuzziness passed, then sat back up again. “I must have stood up too fast. I’ll be careful next time.”

“I’ll say.” He looked at me curiously then felt my cheeks and forehead. “You’re burning up, Ace. Like Hell I’m letting you walk out of here on your own, let alone drive.”

I shook my head. “I’m okay.” I didn’t really mean that. It was just an instinctual reaction. I knew I wasn’t okay at all. I felt like shit.

Pit back leaned against the front of his desk, putting himself between me and the floor, in case I passed out again. “How’d you get over here to the shop? Did someone drop you off?”

I shook my head again. I sort of knew what he was saying, but the words seemed cloudy in my head and were hard to make out, like I was listening through cotton. “Bus,” I managed to say. My nose was tickling again, and Pit was now between me and the tissue box. So I pulled a tissue out from my pocket. “ehh-Hitchhh! EhShihh!” They tossed me forward, and it took me longer to sit back up than it should have.

“Yeah, that’s it. I’m going to go get my truck and put your bike in the back. Then I’m going to drive you home.”

That seemed unnecessary. I only lived ten minutes away. I could make it, assuming home was where I wanted to go next. I’d just as soon go crash at a coffee house. After all, my last caffeine injection had been almost two hours ago. If anything was making me feel a little dizzy, that was probably it. “I don’t need to go home,” I tried to explain to him. “I’ll be as sick there as I am anywhere else.”

“But don’t you want to go home when you’re feeling like shit?” he asked. “I know I want to.” I shrugged. “Then again, my home isn’t a place, it’s people.”

I could believe that. His house was enormous and full of caring friends. Mine was pretty damn bare and had a cat who hated me. To be fair, the cat hated everyone and had done so for as long as I’d known him.

“Want to come back to my place? The boys won’t mind. You could crash in my room if you like or take one of the spare bedrooms.”

It was an inviting and tempting notion; I won’t pretend it wasn’t. But having more nice people around to watch me sneeze wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I sighed. “I might as well go home,” I decided. And then, “Can you really just take off? I don’t want to cost you business. I can hang around and write—” or try to write “—until you’re off from work.”

“Don’t be stupid,” Pit said, grabbing his coat off the back of his chair. “What’s the use in owning my own shop if I can’t make my own hours? I think I can spare a few moments to drive a sick friend home.” He began to put on his coat, a black leather jacket, then stopped. “Are you warm enough? You want this?”

I shook my head again. “No, I’m okay.” With my nose running again, I sniffed it back, which triggered the tickles. Holding my breath, I pinched my nose again.

Pit didn’t seem to believe me. Immediately he slipped his arm out of his jacket and tossed it to me. “I’m going to go load the truck. Be right back.”

Left alone in the office, I had some time to myself to think things over. But first, I moved the tissue box from the desk onto my lap, unashamedly. “ehh!” I pulled out a tissue and tried to control what was practically uncontrollable. “ehh-hehh!” I pulled out two more. “ehEH!” And raised them to my face. “ehhIHTchh! ehhKshihh! ehh... sniff, sniff-ehChihh! hehChihhh!” Nervously, I glanced at the doorway, glad to find that I was still alone. I pulled another handful of tissues out of the box and blew my nose a dozen times. Halfway through, it set off more sneezes, but I managed to get through it all with time to spare.

And then I shivered. I was feeling okay, if okay was just a step away from being on the verge of death. Besides the issues with my nose, my throat felt a little raw and I was unusually cold. So I didn’t believe Pit when he said I was running a high fever. I felt my own forehead, which felt normal after all. Just a little fever, if any. But I was cold. So I broke down and slithered into Pit’s coats immediately surprised at how warm it was. I’m definitely going to have to get one for myself. Only, obviously, not real leather.

“Ready to go?” Pit hung in the doorway, wearing a grey, stained, long-sleeved, `hooded sweatshirt now as a substitute for the jacket he’d loaned me. But when I began to rise, he quickly walked over just in case I should feel another wave of dizziness hit. This time, though, I made it to my feet and stayed there without incident. In fact, I felt so much better that I considered calling the whole thing off and insisting I could hop my newly-fixed bike and drive home on my own. But one look at Pit as he escorted me through the garage and out back to the parking lot told me I wouldn’t be able to hold my own in a fight.

I did, however, pause when I saw my baby strapped into the back of the truck. She looked good, as good as when I’d left her. Except now I expect she worked. I glanced and saw my helmet there, as well, and Pit handed me my keys after making me promise not to ride it right now.

Reluctantly, I climbed into the passenger seat of the truck. I tried to remember this truck but couldn’t place it. Seeing Pit in the driver’s seat instead of on his motorcycle looked foreign to me. “What happened to your bike?” I asked.

He explained as he pulled out of the parking lot, “I drive this more and more when it’s cold out. I must be getting old, but most mornings I get out of bed all chilled and I can’t stand the idea of bearing the cold wind on a bike. Breaks my heart to leave the old girl in the garage, though.”

I nodded. I was listening, really I was, but my nose was tickling, too. I wish I’d taken more tissues back at the shop when I’d had the chance, but I thought I had enough to last during the short ride home. “ehhh-” I turned away from Pit, in case he was watching while driving, and turned towards the window. “ehhktchhhh! ehhhchihhh!

Apparently sensing that I didn’t want the only sound in the car to be that of my suffering, Pit turned on the radio. “So,” he said. “How’s the new piece for Spectrum going?” He nodded towards the computer bag on my lap, knowing I only carried the thing around when I needed to write on the go.

“It’s okay,” I lied again. Might as well keep it up. I don’t think he bought it this time, either, though. “How’s you shop? It was packed today.”

Pit nodded and then launched into a story about one of the cars brought into the shop that morning. I admit I wasn’t really listening to the story.

ehhhHihshh! ehhkehhh! hehChihhh!” My nose was doing that annoying dripping thing again, alternating between tickling and running, and all I could do was to cover my nose with the couple tissues I still had and breathe heavily through my mouth.

Pit had moved on to another topic. Possibly something about cars or maybe something about beer. I think I caught a word or two at the beginning but by that time, I wasn’t listening at all.

However, I did notice when we pulled up to my building. I have an efficiency apartment with a stunning view of the beltway out of one window and a vacant lot out of windows on the other side. But it was cheap and in a gated development so I felt safe when I was home. And safety was my number one concern when it came to my home, or anywhere else for that matter. I jumped out of the truck as soon as it was in park. Then I helped Pit unload my bike and started her up just to make sure she was all right. She purred like a kitten.

I fully intended to thank Pit, wave goodbye, and then head upstairs. But that dizzy spell struck me again. Thankfully, Pit was quicker on his feet than he looked. I dropped my keys, jacket, and the laptop in its bag as it slipped off my shoulder. It hit the ground on the padded side and sustained no damage, thankfully. And Pit caught me, saving me from falling down the front stairs of the building or splitting my head open on the concrete or both.

“I’m carrying you upstairs,” he insisted.

“Hell no.” I could just picture that: big, strong Pit carrying me in his arms up the stairs like a helpless, little damsel in distress. There was no fucking way I’d allow that to go any further than my imagination. I’d camp out in the hallway on the first floor before that happened.

“Hell yes,” he said. He picked up my things for me. Then he jerked his head back. “Climb on. You can pretend I’m your bike. Whatever it takes.” I was more amused than in need, really. But he smiled at me and I could tell he really meant his offer and wouldn’t let me go upstairs on my own.

After a few moments, I took him up on the offer and pinched my nose to keep from sneezing on the back of the poor guy’s head. And to be perfectly honest, it was really kind of fun. I was almost sad when he reached my apartment and let us in, and then let me down gently on my bed.

Okay, it wasn’t a bed as much as two mattresses parked on the floor. And my nightstand wasn’t really a nightstand but a cardboard box. I had a dresser that was actually a dresser, though. Banged up, missing a drawer handle, and left for garbage before I claimed it, but an actual dresser. Now it wasn’t because I was strapped for money or anything like that. I wasn’t rolling in dough, but I had enough. Living sparsely was a lifestyle choice. Hard to be a bohemian with expensive furniture. Hard to feel like you’re a suffering artist when you’re surrounded by luxuries. Hard to pick up and leave when there’s a day of packing to do. Besides, too much plush and chiffon and I would have been even more miserable. It’s just not my style.

Anyway, Pit set me down as gently as he could, which was about like a bodybuilder dropping a barbell after a long session. And I was glad to get there, in the end. Glad because I loved my bed and because I had a big box of tissues waiting for me there. I could feel more sneezes coming and looked up at Pit. This wasn’t going to be pretty.

He invented a sudden thirst and went to the kitchenette for a glass of water. While there, he turned the faucet on and kept it running as he rattled around in the cupboards looking for a glass. It couldn’t have been difficult for him since I only owned three or four and they lived right over the sink.

I kicked my shoes off and brought my feet up onto the mattress with me, my body folded around the tissue box on my lap. “hehh-ehKshhh! ehhhChishhh! Sniff! ehhhHihshhh!” They were getting stronger and wetter now, neither of which I was happy about. ”ehhhKetchhh! ehhhShihhh! EHhhsishh! hehhKshhh!” And they just wouldn’t stop! I tried blowing my nose, but for all the good it did I might as well have been blowing Pit. And, of course, I shuddered at that thought the moment I had it. Or maybe it was just my fever—my low-grade fever. “ehh-ehh-KIHShhhh! Sniff! hehhCheshh! ehKeh-ehhshhh!” More sniffling, more blowing, more tickling. I was already tired, but this was really sapping my energy. “ehhhChishhh! Ehhh... ehhhKihhhh!

I felt the mattress sag and looked up to see Pit settling down by my feet. “It’s okay. Just take your time and finish sneezing. I’ll wait.”

That did it. I felt another sneeze start and then back off completely. And after I blew my nose, the feeling stayed away. “Thanks,” I murmured.

“Don’t mention it.” He patted my feet. “Now, get into your PJ’s and I’ll read you a bedtime story.”

“Pit…” I shook my head.

And he shook his. “Non-negotiable.” He reached over and picked up the pajamas sitting in a green and white striped lump. “Get cozy and warm. And get some rest, damnit.”

With a sigh, I tried to make sense of the clothes, separating the top from the bottom, and then turning the shirt inside out and spreading it against my legs to get it in order. I took off Pit’s leather jacket, which made me shiver, but I didn’t take off my shirt. I didn’t even make a move to do so. I stared straight at Pit.

He sucked in a breath. He got the message and excused himself to go to the bathroom. “Just give a call when you’re done.” He was good at that, the reading me bit. Either that or I was easy to read. But I don’t think that was it, because no one else ever had any idea of what I was thinking.

I wasn’t exactly quick about changing clothes, what with pausing every few seconds to sniffle and rub my nose. I was accumulating a pile of balled-up tissues by the bed, which wasn’t pretty. And I presumed I wasn’t much of a pretty sight, either, probably with a red nose and bags under my eyes. But at least I was happy with the rest of me. I felt comfortable presenting the way I did. But Pit was right: I needed to be in bed.

So I took a deep breath and stripped off the shirt. Long gone were the days when I used Ace bandages to constrict my chest. A few horror stories and some extra shifts as a dishwasher were all it took for me to invest in a binder. I wriggled and pulled and then set it aside before quickly pulling on my pajama top, doing up the top two buttons to be safe. I unbuttoned my pants and raised my ass up to slide them off. I slipped my hand into my tight panties and smiled, I moved my hand around then withdrew the rubber cock. I kissed it, a completely silly habit of mine, and set it aside. Then off came the underwear and on came the pajama pants. I tossed the clothes over to the dirty clothes pile beside the dresser and put the other items in the cardboard box of a nightstand.

I hurriedly got under the covers, sitting and propping the pillows up behind me. “Pit!” He came out of the bathroom with a plastic bag in hand. I rolled my eyes. “You didn’t.”

He shrugged and took it to the kitchen, throwing it away. “After I took a piss, I figured I might as well clean the cat box, since I was in there. Where is the little guy, anyway? I haven’t seen him around.” In my apartment, there weren’t many places to hide, but the cat managed to find them.

ehh-ihhKshhh! ehhHishh!” Tissues. Tissues were my friends. I blew my nose several times. “Sniff! Sniff! I don’t think he likes all the sneezing,” I told him. “Or, you know, peopleEhh-Chihhh! Sniff!” I looked up after blowing again and didn’t see Pit where I’d left him. A quick survey of the place found him over by the couch, and I snorted with laughter.

He was on his hands and knees, crawling around and making absurd smacking sounds. He lifted up one of the flaps under the couch and peered under. “I see a pair of eyes,” he said. He sat back on his heels. “What’s his name again?”

“Dil,” I said, rubbing my nose.

“Short for Dillon?”

“Short for Dildo.”

His turn to laugh. “That’s just awful, Ace.”

I shrugged. “But true. The cat’s a bastard. Sniff! And I don’t know why. I feed him Fancy Feast. I take his pee and poop away. I moved the couch over so he can look out the window. I cleaned out the store buying him all sorts of scratching posts and toys. I’ve tried giving him love and then I tried ignoring him.” I sniffed and quickly blew my nose. “I even tried opening the door so he could be free or find someone else. But Dil wanted to stay. I suspect he stays just to torture me.”

Done rambling, especially now that my mouth was a little dry, I looked over to see Pit sitting on the floor, back against the couch. Dil was sitting beside him, leaning into Pit’s hand as the man scratched the cat’s cheek. Apart from the vet, I’d never seen Dil let anyone touch him. “You want him, I said hopefully?”

Pit shook his head. “Nah, Princess would have my throat if I brought another cat home. She can stand the dog, but that’s about it.” He stroked the cat from head to back and it rubbed against his side, nuzzling him for more. “It’s tempting, though.”

I groaned and gathered up a few more tissues. First my clutch is blown, then writer’s block sets in, then this cold strikes, and now my cat gets friendly with someone else. Oh great. “ehhh!” This was going to be an especially bad one. I could tell. “ehhh-hehh... ehh-EH!” I had the tissues at my nose, waiting. “EHH-IH-EHHKShhhh!” It threw me forward forcefully, where I stayed, nose in tissue, until I was sure I wouldn’t sneeze again. Then I sighed and leaned back against the wall and the pillows.

Having heard me, Pit abandoned the cat. Dil glared at me and seemed to blame me for distracting his new friend. Pit walked over to me, staring unblinkingly. Quickly, I rubbed my nose dry and set the used tissues aside. He was still staring at me. Self-consciously, I rubbed my nose again. It was fine now, not even dripping. And yet, as he squatted down beside me, he stared straight at me. Or, rather... not at my face but down... and then I realized what it was he was staring at.

The blankets had fallen down during the sneeze, stopping at my waist but revealing my chest such as it was. I yanked the covers back up. “So now you know my secret,” I said flatly. “I have breasts. I’m a biological woman.”

Pit clapped a hand to his chest. He fell back, faking a heart attack which might have looked convincing if not for his great peals of laughter. “I’m shocked!” he told me, rocking back up into a sitting position. “That’s it. Friendship over. I can’t possibly speak to anyone whose tits are bigger than mine.”

Pit was a big guy, but his chest was unequivocally flatter than mine. And his humor was a good attempt but... not what I needed.

What was this fascination with breasts that some gay men seemed to have?  He kept staring, looking like he wanted to touch them, and the only people who get to do that are women I trust enough to sleep with.  He must have picked up on my mood, though, because he switched tactics. “I’m really sorry for looking. I’ve just never seen them before.”

“That’s the point,” I said to him.

He shook his head. “They’re beautiful,” he said softly. “I know why you hide ‘em, and I ain’t an expert in breasts by any means. And no matter what you do there will be critics. But those ones look nice. They look good on you. You shouldn’t be ashamed for someone to see you the way you are now, Ace.”

It wasn’t easy to hear that from an overweight, balding bear who covered his body in tattoos. But I knew he was right. It wasn’t like I hated my body; I’d never consider surgery. I just wanted to change its appearance a little to make it be closer the way I felt inside.

“But, hey, you don’t have to listen to me. I’m not going to have sex with you no matter what you look like,” he laughed. “And no matter what you look like, I’m still going to call you a good friend. Got it?”

I nodded. “Nicely said, man. And if I had any desire at all to have sex with men, I’d have had you in an instant for that.” I looked down, finding that I’d been shredding a tissue into small pieces. And my eyes of course fell on the bulge beneath the blankets where my breasts were. His words had been beautiful, but I still didn’t want most people seeing me with them.

“Oh, you thought I meant your breasts?” Pit said. “I was talking about that cold of yours. I just meant that it’s going to take a lot more than the way you sneeze to ruin our friendship.”

I chuckled. That was Pit, ending it all with a joke.

“Come here,” he said, gesturing at me to lean forward again. “Give me a hug and promise to keep smiling and I’ll get out of your hair.”

“You don’t have to go,” I told him. I wanted that hug because I swear there was nothing so satisfying as hugging that man, except maybe a really good fuck... or a really good sneeze. But if it meant him leaving, I wasn’t going to have any of it now. I didn’t like him seeing me sneeze, and I didn’t like him getting cozy with the devil cat. But I did like him there.

“I think I’d better,” he said. “You really need to get some sleep.” He nodded convincingly and repeatedly, until I joined in. Then he leaned forward, meeting me halfway and gave me a hug that was at least as big as his heart. I was acutely aware of the way my freed breasts wobbled and squished against his chest, and I knew he noticed it, too. But, sweet guy that he was, he didn’t say a word about it. He just hugged me and broke it off with an especially tight, cuddling sort of squeeze that made me feel warm and fuzzy all over.

Then I slid down, taking my pillows with me, and he tucked the blankets around me. “I’ll give you a call later. Or maybe tomorrow. I don’t want to wake you up, okay?”

I nodded. I wouldn’t have minded if he woke me, assuming I managed to fall asleep sometime. But I know he needed to hear that I’d be all right. So I settled into bed and closed my eyes. I mumbled something about his locking the door on the way out and I listened for the click to be sure he did that. Because I knew the cat wasn’t going to do it for me. He’d probably invite a robber and murderer right in and point it to my valuables.

However, the peaceful situation did not last long. It lasted just long enough for one half of my nose to get stuffed. I tried sniffing and rolling onto my back, but that only made my head hurt more. I ended up propped up on an arm. “ehhhKTchhh! ehhhHshhh! ehhHihhhh! Ehh-ehhChihhh!” I blew my nose until it hurt and needed a break. But as I sat there, concentrating on my congested breathing, I found myself smiling.

As I tossed another tissue toward the pile of used ones—which I promise I cleaned up as soon as I had energy—I noticed my laptop bag just beyond it. I blinked at the padded black bag for a few moments, then immediately crawled over to grab it.

I didn’t even bother with the power cord, even though battery power was running low. I just switched my iBook on, waited the ten seconds for it to boot up, typed in my password—M0RNINGW00D, after the band fronted by sexy Chantal, but with the O’s as zeros—and brought up a blank Word document. I didn’t even pause this time at the blankness, my fingers just started going at the keys and their soft, familiar clicking sound was like a little orgasm:

abraham lincoln is supposed to have said that “most people are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” i always thought that was just a big load of optimistic, sentimental bullshit... until today...


Written for the 2006-2007 Annual Sneezefic Challenge. The theme that year was quotations, so I managed to work in these plot bunnies:
2: “Most people are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” (Abraham Lincoln)
18: “No matter what you do there will be critics.” (Unknown)
22: “My home is not a place, it is people.” (Lois McMaster Bujold, “Barrayar”)