It started out as the usual crappy day at the bakery. Corporate had sent a memo out asking the stores to push more Irish Soda Bread as a lead-up to St. Patrick's Day, and there was an ad set for Saturday for said bread.
Unfortunately, someone else at Corporate had cancelled Snow's order of a flat of boxes of the dough. There was the ad, all full-page and in the morning paper, and, there was---
"No fucking dough!" Snow cried. "No fucking soda bread! No yummy delicious soda bread and no happy happy customers buying the---"
"I get the idea," Manager David said, standing11 beside the crate-laden dolly. "So, they won't buy soda bread. They'll buy other bread." He looked up from the clipboard. "Or, they would, if only someone was bakin' the bread."
Snow's shoulders slumped. "Are you getting all bossy on me?"
David gave her a narrowed-eyed glance that seemed to question if she was making a cow joke of sorts, then began, "No, I---" There was a popping noise, and David suddenly shoved Snow, hard, and they ended up sprawling on the floor, just as crates of dough crashed into the floor where they had been standing.
"Wow," Snow panted, "You saved me, my hero!"
"Fuck," David said. He was curled up, holding his knee. "Fuck."
"Are you hurt?" James asked, stunned.
"Fuck,", David replied.
"Call 911," Snow said, kneeling beside him. "You blew your knee out?"
"Fuck, yes," David said, varying slightly. "Give me my cell phone," he said, still holding his knee. She unclipped it from his belt and flipped it open. He released his knee with one hand, and hit a speed-dial. "Yeah? I've blown out my fuckin' knee. Shit, yeah, I'm gonna need to see an orthpedic surgeon. I'm gonna get to the ER and get a referral." He listened for a moment. "Well, yeah. Bye." He folded the phone, and glared at Snow. "Is someone gonna take me to the hospital before I start cryin' like a little bitch?"
Snow turned over the bakery to Eliza, who, for once, put up her Bride's magazine, and she followed Andy and Larry as they carried David out to David's car. He got in the front passenger seat and Snow drove him to the hospital. She couldn't tell if he was in greater pain from his knee or from her driving.
At the hospital, Snow pulled up to the emergency exit, and went in, to finally find the desk, and to get a wheelchair, only to find out that someone had brought him straight in. She took his drivers' license,insurance card and
credit card from him, and gave the information to the intake clerk. When she got back to the reception area, Chris was striding through the automatic doors. When he saw Snow, he barked, "Where's the big guy?"
She pointed. "They're examining his knee back there. A stack of crates fell and he pushed me out of the way."
Chris gave her a brief glance. "You hurt?" he asked.
"No--" she began, but he'd already turned away and bolted through the doors to the examination rooms.
David was lying in a hospital bed in one of the side rooms, already in a hospital gown, with a cold pack on his knee, one arm behind his head. He was, somewhat dreamily, watching television. "Hi," he said. "They gave me a shot."
Chris sat down in the bedside chair. "I see that," he said, putting a hand on David's. "You'd better go ahead and have that damn surgery you were supposed to have last year."
"I am," David said. The pupils of his eyes were huge. "They've already been in and I can have it tomorrow. You're my next-of-kin," he added.
"This is that out-patient thing, right?" Chris asked, running the palm of his hand over David's hair. "One afternoon?"
"Yeah, just like the guy said last year. They'll let me go home if I have someone to take care of me. You gonna take care of me?"
"Yeah, babe, don't you worry. They say when they're gonna do it?"
"Morning," David said. "Better get Snow in here, get my car keys from her. Get her to call Alexis." He blinked. "Take her back to the store, I guess."
"Sure," Chris said. He bent and kissed David.
"He totally saved me," Snow was saying, over a short stack. "Man, it was just like Batman or something. But his bad knee went out and the sports clinic had told him last year that he needed to have surgery."
"He grabbed her and hit the floor with her," Amber said. "Damn."
Eliza shook her head. "I hate you so much."
"Hey, you're engaged, you're not allowed to have fantasies about lying under big Dave," Snow said. "Not that I had the chance to think about it too much."
"So, how long will he be out?" Eliza said. "Because this place is gonna go to hell. And speaking of hell, Kelly found out that Nicky asked Seth to be his best man, and Kelly's all pissed off."
"But Kelly was the one complaining about the expense of renting a tux," Snow said.
Jess rolled her eyes. "He says it's the principle of the thing, that he's the twin brother and should have been asked." She picked up a biscuit and buttered it, saying, "Even though the first thing he said was that he didn't want to be in the wedding."
"He thinks that a wedding is catching," Snow said, absently.
Eliza winked at Jess. "How's Nathan?" she asked Snow.
"Fine," Snow said, following an elusive train of thought.
"And how's Adam?"
"Fine." Something about Chris being at the hospital was bugging her.
"Still fuckin' both of them at once?"
Snow came to herself. "Hey!"
"Is that one at a time or both at once?"
Snow allowed herself a smug smile. "Bitches, you're just jealous."
It came to her. David's driver's license had his address on the same street as Chris'. When had he moved from the apartment, much less to Chris' neighborhood?
Chris took David home and installed him on the couch, but David was pretty loopy from the painkillers, and kept turning off the television instead of changing the channels. Chris was so pre-occupied with smashing a bag of ice, for the ice pack, and walking back in and turning the television back on, that he didn't hear Snow drive up, until she was ringing the doorbell.
"Shit," he muttered. He opened the door. "He's high," he told her fretfully. "He can't answer any store questions."
"Chill out," Snow said, poker-faced. "I brought him some cupcakes with double icing."
"Icing?" David said hopefully, from the couch.
Snow looked at Chris. "I won't tell anyone he lives here," she said.
"I don't care if you do," Chris said, raising his eyebrow. "It's not especially a secret. Come on in, give the man his icing."
"Snowy," David greeted her. "My buddy Snowy. If you brought me chocolate, we will be friends forever."
"I did," she grinned.
David gave her his wide white smile. "I have the munchies," he said.
"You're high, man," Chris said, leaning on back of the couch.
"Hey!" David said. They both looked at him. After a moment, he said, "What?"
"He's high, all right," Snow said, unwrapping the cupcakes.
"You're my boyfriend, you're supposed to stick up for me," David said, giving Chris a wounded look.
Around the sudden tightness in his throat, Chris said, "I am. I'm not stealing your cupcakes."
"Hey, listen, Snow, can you stay for about twenty minutes?" Chris asked. "I've got to go pick up the rest of Dave's meds, so, you wouldn't mind?"
David seemed to snap his focus back. "Hey, I can handle being alone in the house for twenty minutes."
Snow was already taking off her jacket. "You're high, Dave. You shouldn't get up, like, to go to the bathroom."
"Yeah, like I'm going to let you help me pee," David said.
Snow looked at him for a minute. "Huh. Well, damn."
But no sooner had Chris' truck cleared the driveway, than David threw his blanket aside, and carefully swung his socked feet to the floor. The plastic bag of ice plopped onto the rug. "C'mere," he said. "I have to pee. And shut up."
Carefully not smirking, Snow stood up and let David lean on her. Her eyes,
though, nearly rolled back into her head at being so close to David in his tee shirt and boxers. And gauze-wrapped knee, she reminded herself. Without his hair product---hey!---his hair was as curly as a little kid's. Outside the bathroom, David stiff-armed her.
"I can take it from here," he said.
"Don't lock the door," she said.
Leaning on the door jamb, Snow noticed that the carpet seemed to be a completely different color---or just was it cleaner? And that there were actual pictures on the hallway walls, a series of Western prints. When the toilet flushed, and David emerged, she saw that the shower curtain was no longer the ancient green one. David put his arm across her shoulders and leaned heavily on her. "I hate being this fucked-up," he said, and, putting her arm around his waist, moved him back onto the couch.
"Do you want another cupcake?" she asked.
"Naah," he said. "Would you get me a bottle of water?"
"Sure," she said, leaping into the kitchen. She didn't dare snoop too much, but a quick look around showed that Chris' yard-sale, battered kitchenware had been ruthlessly discarded.
"Jeeze," she said, opening the water and giving it to David, "next thing you know, you'll have Chris recycling his beer cans."
"Don't talk crazy," David said, taking a gulp of water.
"And I thought you hated him," Snow teased. "When did all this happen?"
"Months ago," David yawned. "I thought Nicky told you."
"Nicky? " she asked, startled. "He knows?"
"Well, hell, he plays golf with us and drinks beer with us," David said. "I thought he was being discreet. I didn't know he was clueless."
"You don't sound as high as you did."
"Yeah, well, pain kind of kills the buzz." He felt around on the couch, and Snow gave him the bag of ice.
"I'm sure your boyfriend is hurrying as fast as he can," she said, smirking.
"Yeah," David said, absently, his attention caught by something on television. After a second he said, "Huh?"
David stared at her. "What about him?"
Snow gave up.
Chris was back with the presciptions almost right away. "They were out of one, but they sent someone for it," he explained. "How're you doing, dude?" He transferred his attention David.
"It hurts," David said, like a 12 year old.
"This'll fix you right up," Chris promised, and sat down on the couch beside him, opening the bottle and shaking out two pills onto his palm. Then, uncaring of Snow's goggling presence, he leaned over David and kissed him.
Snow didn't know how she got out of the house, but she drove with
the windows down to get some cool air.
"Here's the thing," Seth said. "I got to go to the ice-skating competition with Michelle on that weekend."
Nicky crossed off one date. He automatically shoved his coffee cup for a refill.
He'd been drinking a lot of coffee since he proposed.
Jules yawned. "I don't know the problem. You already have the tickets for Wrestlemania. Get married on Saturday, drive down to LA for the honeymoon."
"I'm not going to Wrestlemania on my honeymoon," Eliza said. "That's too 'Groundhog Day' for me."
"Damn," Nicky said. "There goes my idea for the cake."
Snow walked in, her face a delicate pink.
"So, how's the big man? Someone takin' care of him?" Eliza demanded.
"Yeah, he was hurting but he can walk." Snow sat down.
"You get a quickie?" Jules asked suspiciously.
"No," Snow said. She gave a tiny, Mona Lisa smile.
"Then what's with you?" Eliza asked. "You're smiling funny."
"I'm happy," Snow said. "I'm just a 24-fuckin'-7 ray of sunshine, bay-bee!"
"Okay, I'm calling 911," said Cindee, the waitress.
"Somebody go home and check her basement for a pod," Nicky suggested.
Jules looked hard at Snow. "Did you get to see David naked?"
Snow's expression grew unfocussed. "Oh, man. " Then she looked up. "I'm sorry, I was in my happy place for a moment. There's always nakedness there."
*goes off to write rps*