“I’ll still be here when you’re ready” was supposed to be today’s prompt from 100 ways to show ‘I love you’ but I realized that it would give away a major plot point from the very beginning of We Fit. Since the story is a sequel, I think that would mean giving folks spoilers for the ending of We Three. So, I won’t do that.
So instead I’ll talk about another kind of “being there” — “I’ll drive you to the hospital.”
So as to let you feel everything with the same immediacy, I’ll let Elena do the rest of the talking…
Jess had spent the whole previous day with the Tanners and accompanied Elena to drop Eric at the airport this morning. Afterward, Elena also took her along for the household shopping. With each bit of conversation — asking her which brand of yogurt or noodles she preferred, and tossing in the cart a bottle of the blonde’s preferred shampoo — Elena was hoping she was making the connection for the younger woman: she did, indeed, fit perfectly in their lives.
Jess didn’t have a shift at Caliente that night so Elena hoped they could continue together for another night. She had suggested a movie and hoped that it would become a romantic night in. Maybe they could use the edible body paints she’d gotten from Eric in her Christmas stocking.
At the small sidewalk cafe where Elena had stopped them to get lunch, she was enjoying just watching the blonde devouring her sandwich. While Elena bit into a corner of her wrap and chewed slowly, she’d noticed before and noticed again now that Jess hunched over and ate quickly. Occasionally she jerked her head at a passerby, someone moving to another table, and got this mulish look on her face before that would vanish into a distressed expression.
She didn’t talk to Elena, or even look up, until all that remained on her plate were crumbs.
“Some dessert?” Elena asked. Her wrap was only mostly finished, and her bag of chips remained unopened.
“I- no, no, it’s okay. I’m good.” Jess patted her stomach. “I’m good.”
Elena nodded. “Okay,” she said reluctantly.
Jess immediately asked, “You stopped here. Is there a dessert you like?”
“No, no. I just thought maybe — you.” Elena paused and gathered her thoughts. “You ate really fast. I thought maybe it wasn’t enough and you were still hungry?”
“Oh.” Jess looked at her plate and then back at Elena. “I’m okay.”
“If you’re sure?”
“Yeah, I’m sure.”
Elena nudged her bag of chips off her plate as nonchalantly as possible with the back of her hand when she went back to eating the remainder of her wrap. She followed a swallow of sandwich with a long sip from her soda. By the time she had put the cup back down, Jess had taken the bag and was eating the chips. Elena said nothing.
Just as she was standing to collect their trash, Jess’s cell phone rang. The old style telephone sound caught her off guard. Waving Jess to sit Elena collected all the trash herself.
When she turned around to head back to the table she could see Jess still sitting at the table and holding the phone to her ear. She was obviously listening more than talking.
Finally Elena heard her say, “You want me to say that?” The blonde shook her head. “I don’t know that I can even get there.”
“What’s up?” Elena asked. She didn’t sit down but came closer, torn about whether or not she should put her hand on Jess’s which she saw tightly squeezing a napkin. The blonde was definitely worried about something.
“Gus — from the Caliente bar — is going to the ER.” Elena hadn’t needed the refresher on the man’s connection to Jess. She remembered the gruff man who’d closed the whole bar so Jess could spend the entire Thanksgiving weekend with the Tanners. “He says he’s feeling feverish.”
“Are you supposed to go into work for him?”
“No.” And here Jess just sounded confused. “He wants me to go to the hospital tell them I’m his daughter so they’ll let me stay with him.”
“Doesn’t he have an actual family?”
“No, his wife’s been dead a while, and they had no kids.”
“Oh.” Elena exhaled. “Well, okay. I’ll drive you to the hospital.”
So what do you think?