On Second Thought(180)By: Kristan Higgins
By the time I made it to the top, I was drenched in sweat and in a bonfire of pain. God, my ribs were killing me! And my back. And my knee! And my stupid collarbone. I was one giant ball of hurt.
I went into my room. Poe had taken my old bed, based on the snarl of sheets. The other bed, once Lily’s, was covered in clothes, magazines, makeup.
Poe came in with my suitcases and dropped them.
“You’ll need to clear off that bed,” I told Poe.
“Then where am I supposed to put my stuff?”
“The bureau? The closet? The trash? I don’t know, honey, but I have to sleep there. Let’s try to get along, okay? I’ll be here all summer.”
“I have to share a room with my elderly aunt all summer? Do I have rub lotion on your feet and Bengay on your shoulder, too?”
“I was hoping you’d shave off my corns.”
“Poe. I’m kidding. And I’m not elderly, okay? I’m thirty-five. I’ll rent a place as soon as I can get around on my own. If I sleep well and don’t kill myself tripping on your crap, I’ll get out of here sooner. See? Clearing off the bed works in both our interests.”
My eye twitched. “Would you please get me a glass of water?” I asked sweetly. “I have to take some medication.” I cleared a spot on the bed, then used my crutch to snag my purse as Poe went into the bathroom. She returned instantly with a slightly grubby glass filled with water which, if experience is an indicator, would be tepid, since she didn’t run the water beforehand.
It was lukewarm, all right, but my knee was on fire, and my left arm felt like lead. I swallowed a pill. Poe picked up the bottle. “Oh, the good stuff,” she said. “No generics for you doctors, I guess. Can I have one?”
“Put that down and stay away from it.”
“I was kidding. Jesus.” She stomped down the stairs.
Boomer came up and nuzzled my hand. “You love me, right?” I asked. He licked my hand in affirmation.
The travel and stress of my injuries caught up with me. I lay back against Poe’s clothes and closed my eyes. To my surprise, tears started to leak out. Though he didn’t deserve it, I missed Bobby. I missed Boston. I missed Roseline and the hospital and Dr. Breckenridge, that old flirt.
I missed my old life and the old me, the way things were before, when Bobby and I were still new, and life seemed so perfect and clean and pure.
I wasn’t wanted here. There was a pretty huge chance that coming back had been a big mistake.