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nights tasting like gold

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“Girlies I cannot believe we are here! We have officially arrived,” Alyssa exclaimed with a clap of her hands and her entire body positively buzzing. She looked at the cabin looming in front of her, its dark wood standing out in the white landscape. She wasn’t usually one to get all up in mother nature like this, not when it was cold at least, but both Bob and Trixie had been very persuasive, so in the end she had agreed she’d go. The more the four of them had looked into different cabins, the more excited she’d become. She had even bought herself a new pair of boots and a cute woolen coat despite her bank account begging her not to.

“I thought it would be bigger,” Alyssa wondered aloud as she stepped closer to the cabin to examine it further while Bob unloaded the car and Katya lit up a cigarette. She had been complaining about how much she craved one for the entirety of the last hour of their car-ride, and it had nearly driven Alyssa insane. Trixie had finally told her to shut up, which caused Katya to call Trixie stupid and stare determinedly out the window for all of five minutes before looking at Trixie again and cracking a smile when Trixie wiggled her eyebrows. The two of them had been dating for almost two years and Alyssa was still undecided on if it was better or worse than seeing them pine for each other.

Trixie trotted behind Alyssa and came to a stop beside her. “I think it’s perfect,” she said, a soft smile on her face.

“Of course you do, you’re from rural Wisconsin, this is basically a five-star hotel for you girl.”

Trixie screamed a laugh, throwing her head back and almost giving Alyssa a clear view of the sandwich she had consumed at the gas station for lunch today.

“I hate you,” Trixie told her with laughter still in her voice.

“Sure girl.”

Alyssa went around the cabin and peered in the windows, but it was too dark inside to make out anything other than the outline of the furniture, despite her pressing her face against the cold glass.

She went back to the front of the house and saw Katya finishing her smoke in the cold while Trixie struggled with getting both of their suitcases up the slippery stairs, Bob already inside. Alyssa carefully and gracefully, if she said so herself, carried her golden one up on the porch and only nearly fell over once, which caused Katya to yell out, “Ice ice slippery dippery,” which didn’t make much sense, but it was Katya, so Alyssa was used to her quirkiness by now.

“Katya and I have claimed the double bed,” Trixie informed Alyssa by sticking her head out of the room she assumed held said double bed, as soon as Alyssa had toed out of her boots.

“No fucking,” Bob called out.

“What if we are really quiet?”

“No. Fucking.”

“What if we do an orgy?” Katya asked behind Alyssa, causing Alyssa to jump, not having heard Katya sneak up behind her, and Trixie to screech.

“I’m sorry, do you have trouble understanding the English language? Do you want me to make a sign in Russian saying, ‘No fucking’?” Bob asked.

“If you could spell it out with piss in the snow, I think that would really be a huge help,” Katya grinned and immediately set herself of in wheezing laughter ringing through the room and grabbed on tightly to Alyssa’s arm.

“I will take the car and I will leave you here to rot,” Bob declared and crossed her arms, but her mouth quirked upwards, betraying her stand-offish stance.

“Ah, and I will once again become one with the worms, just like mother predicted” Katya mused in a deep voice.

“You’re horrible. I’ll go unpack.”

“Ma’am, don’t you dare leave me with that,” Alyssa exclaimed horrified and hurried after Bob, leaving a still laughing Katya behind.

“Lordy I haven’t slept in bunkbeds since I was a teeny tiny gal,” Alyssa said as she looked around what would be her and Bob’s room for the next five days, a bunk bed that looked slightly unstable taking up most of the space.

“I haven’t slept since… ever,” Bob dead-panned. “I call top bunk.”

“That’s fine girl, less climbing for me,” Alyssa said, observing herself in the almost clean mirror above the dresser. She lifted her brows and widened her eyes, turning her head from side to side. She looked damned good even after a six-hour car drive.

They started unpacking, both her and Bob re-folding their clothes neatly before putting it into the drawers. She could see Trixie doing the same in the room across from theirs, but Katya just shoving hers into the dresser and then fall back on the bed so only her legs dangling over the edge were visible to Alyssa.

“Do you guys know if you can become addicted to nose-spray?” she asked. “Sasha claims she’s become addicted to nose-spray.”

“How the fuck would you get addicted to nose-spray?” Trixie asked, clearly amused.

“I don’t know?”

“That’s so stupid. Imagine being addicted to nose-spray.”

“I mean rather nose-spray than drugs,” Katya said and started swinging her legs up into the air and almost kicked Trixie in the head in the process.

“Or smokes,” Trixie said with a pointed look at Katya.

“I have been trying to cut down!”

Trixie gave her another look. “You do know I notice when you sneak off to chain-smoke on the balcony in the mornings right?”

“Wha- no- I–“ Katya stammered. “You’re supposed to be asleep you bitch!”

“Sorry not sorry.”

“It says here,” Bob said, looking down at her phone, “that the answer depends on the type of nasal spray you use. Some are safe to use daily for several months, but others can cause a nasal spray addiction if people use them for more than a few days. Nasal spray addiction is not a true addiction, but it can lead to tissue damage inside the nose.”

“Did you just google nasal spray addiction?” Alyssa asked, her mouth quirking upwards.

“So what if I did, this is useful knowledge Alyssa.”

“It really is, I’m texting Sasha right now. Do you think I should tell her to go cold turkey? That’s got to be the way to go right? Does it say anything about overcoming it?” Katya asked and sat up, leaning forward and peering into Alyssa and Bob’s room.

“Uh,” Bob’s eyes raced over the screen, before a satisfied Aha escaped her. “It says you should stop using it immediately, with a line under, so they’re not fucking around, and that you can either get a nasal steroid or in more severe cases an oral steroid prescribed from your doctor to help ease you out of it.” She looked up from the phone. “That shit sounds serious.”

“Okay, okay. Oral steroid. Got it.”

“You’re making that up,” Trixie accused. “You can’t be addicted to fucking nose spray or nasal spray or whatever.”

“Girl you think I could just come up with words like oral steroid?” Bob asked and stomped through the rooms to shove her phone in Trixie’s face.

“It’s Alyssa who’s the blind one, not me,” Trixie said and pushed the phone away from her. Alyssa gasped dramatically and clutched a hand over her heart.

“You take that back right now!”

“Why? It’s the truth, ain’t it?”

“Girl, you’re on thin fucking ice,” Alyssa said and pointed a finger viciously in Trixie’s direction, despite it being true that Alyssa was slightly blind.

“Oh Sasha’s texted back! She’s saying that she’ll think about seeing her doctor, but that she literally can’t breathe through her nose if she’s not using it. We have to convince her to stop using it. Right? You know what, I’m gonna call her.”

Trixie shook her head at Katya, but her eyes were basically hearts, so literally anyone with working eyesight knew that she adored the living daylights out of Katya.

“Hi Sasha, listen, you have to stop using nose-spray. No I mean it. No listen, it ruins your, Bob what does it ruin?”

“The tissues inside the nose.”

“It ruins the tissues inside your nose!” Katya was silent for a moment, and made a face before saying, “I don’t know what it means.”

“It means your nose will turn into Niagara Falls, only it’ll be blood and not water,” Trixie yelled helpfully into the microphone.

“You catch that? Everyone will think you made a deal with Satan, and not the good kind. No, I know. Sasha. Just get a doctor’s appointment. Yes. Okay good, thank you. See you.”

They finished unpacking and Trixie remained unconvinced that nose spray addicting was an actual thing despite reading the article Bob had read aloud from herself.

Katya started lining up their board games against the wall, sorting them after size. When she went to the bathroom Bob and Trixie moved them around so the order got completely messed up and threw themselves giggling on the couch, trying to look innocent when Katya reentered the room.

“What have you done?” She asked as soon as she sat foot the living room looking accusingly between the two of them.

“Nothing, nothing,” Bob giggled, but it sounded like the biggest, fattest lie she had ever told.

Katya clearly didn’t buy it either, and her disbelief was only furthered when Trixie and Bob looked at each other and immediately went into another fit of laughter.

“Alyssa,” Katya said, turning towards her with eyes big and pleading.

“Uh-uh girl, I don’t want nothing to do with this buffoonery, you better keep me out of it.”

Alyssa,” Katya tried again and took a step towards her.

“Nope, nada, nein,” Alyssa muttered. “I’m gonna make myself some coffee, y’all want anything?”

“You’re a horrible, horrible friend. Also, coffee would be great.”

Alyssa was halfway through making three cups of coffee and one cup of tea, when Katya gasped “My board games!” sounding utterly horrified. Trixie screamed, and Bob stamped on the floor with laughter. Katya ran over to pretend she was choking Trixie, which made Trixie wiggle her eyebrows and say, “Dirty,” in a suggestive voice.

“Oh my god, listen, we do not wanna know what y’all get up to in the bedroom,” Alyssa called out.

“I second that,” Bob said and made a cross with her fingers in the direction of Trixie and Katya.

“That’s homophobic,” Trixie stated.

You’re homophobic,” Bob countered and put her arms up in protection of her face when Trixie started hitting her while screaming “You bitch! You fucking bitch!”

“I’ve never claimed I wasn’t a bitch,” Bob mumbled, which made Trixie hit her at twice the speed she had before.

“I hate you and do not want to be friends anymore.”

“You say that every day, yet here we are.”

“Fuck you.”

Alyssa dashed over and sat herself down between Bob and Trixie. “Now, we’re all gonna be good friends, so y’all take a deep breath and go fetch your coffee.” She took a sip of her own coffee and looked knowingly between the two of them.

Trixie turned towards Katya and batted her eyelashes. “Babe,” she said and smiled a sugary smile.

Katya let out a sigh. “Fine, I’ll get your tea for you.”

“I love you!” Trixie called after her and unashamedly watched Katya’s ass as she walked to kitchen.

“Babe,” Bob said, in a voice that was supposed to imitate Trixie’s, but sounded nothing like it.

“I only have two arms, Bob,” Katya said and waved her arms around.

“But I love you!”

“Doesn’t mean I can grow myself a third arm,” Katya said and grabbed to cups. “Could you imagine if a third arm just spurted through my chest though? It’d be so cool.”

“But would it? Would it really?” Trixie asked and extended both arms to wrap her hands around the cup Katya had brought to her.

“Just think about what I’d be able to do with three arms,” Katya said in a suggestive tone.

“First of all, no,” Bob said. “Second of all, babe.”

Katya exhaled and muttered “Fine!” before putting her cup down of the table with a little too much vigor, making the coffee spill over and land in a puddle around the bottom of the cup. “Christ.”

They all continued their loving bickering while emptying their cups. Trixie lit up the fireplace, which Katya proclaimed was very hot of her and made Bob repeat her plea for no fucking. Trixie decided it was time for a nap despite it being almost 5:30 in the afternoon and Katya gave her a kiss on the top of her head before tucking her in underneath a woolen blanket. Trixie, being Trixie, fell asleep within minutes and slept through Bob and Katya fucking around, being Bob and Katya, but louder than usually. When Alyssa had complained about how she was starving to death enough, her and Katya started cooking what would become a very fancy pasta dish with enough garlic in it that it’d kill any vampire in a five-mile radius by the smell alone, Alyssa insisting that just one more garlic wouldn’t hurt nobody at least five times. Bob was putting on a one-woman stand-up show in the meanwhile, practicing for the next open-mic night at their usual bar with Katya giving constructive criticisms and laughing her ass off and Alyssa just hauling unhelpful comments at Bob, when she wasn’t making faces at the pot lids.

“We should apply for MasterChef,” Katya said with her mouth full of pasta. “This is some next level cooking.”

“Girl, MasterChef couldn’t handle us,” Alyssa snorted. “Could you imagine? They’d be so flabbergasted by the mere sight of us alone that they’d just hand us the trophy right there and then.”

“Oh they’d definitely just give us the trophy. I mean, have you looked at my hot body?”

“Not that I disagree,” Trixie said, “but you are aware MasterChef is a cooking show, right?”

“A hot body never hurt nobody,” Alyssa exclaimed with a hair flip.

“Agree!” Katya said, pointing at Alyssa. “Also, are the two of us eating the same food? Cause this is delish.”

“Girl, it’s not that good,” Bob said and sent Katya a look.

Katya looked offended at that and gasped dramatically. “You try making something better Barbara.”

“Oh trust, I will. Trixie and I are gonna make you two mad with our out of this world cooking tomorrow, ain’t that right Mattel?”

“Duh,” Trixie said. “I mean I am known for my cooking.”

“I thought you were known for your ass?” Katya asked with a grin.

“I’m a multi-talented woman, babe.”

“Don’t I know it.”

Trixie volunteered to do the dishes, which Alyssa happily let her, because there really wasn’t anything more boring than doing the dishes, in her humble opinion. She wasn’t even ashamed to admit she had a tendency to disappear when they needed to be done – lord knew she’d done it a thousand times and then some.

Katya tried deciding which of the board games they should play today but kept changing her mind approximately five seconds after she proclaimed she’d made a decision for real this time. Alyssa ended up taking Pictionary out of her hands and slammed it on the dinner table with a definitiveness.

“We playing Pictionary and that’s that on that.”

 “I was gonna pick Pictionary anyway,” Katya claimed.

Alyssa sent her a disbelieving look. “Sure girl.”

They drew cards to decide the teams and Bob and Alyssa sent each other a knowing look when Trixie and Katya ended up on the same team, because they knew the two of them had some kind of psychic connection, and that it usually meant they left everyone else in the dust in games like this. Trixie had once literally drawn a single line and Katya had called out South America and the bugger had been right. Alyssa was still sure they had cheated, somehow. She hadn’t been able to prove it, but she knew it in her heart and that was enough for the time being.

Alyssa and Bob were both competitive though, so Alyssa cracked her knuckles, ready to give it her all. Bob did the same and they nodded at each other, ready to go into battle.

As predicted, Trixie and Katya did great, getting literally ever point they could, even though Trixie wasn’t gifted with the ability to draw much more than stickmen. Alyssa and Bob on the other hand… they were doing not so great.

So, it was with great determination Alyssa drew the next card with and let her manicured nail run down the card, stopping in front of the yellow dot. A horse. She should be able to draw a horse. She could definitely draw a horse. No problem. She knew what horses looked like.

“You ready?” Trixie asked, and at Alyssa’s nod she turned the hour glass and Alyssa started drawing with great concentration. She was going to make the nicest little horse known to man. It would in fact look so much like a real horse they’d be able to use it as an illustration in a third-grade biology book.

“A circle!” Bob yelled out. “A flat circle! Uh, a balloon!”

“No!”

“Shit, uhm, oh! An air-balloon?”

“Girl are you fucking blind?”

“Shut up. Oh, is that legs? Is it an animal?”

“Yes, yes!”

“Okay, okay, we got this! Uh, a dog? A cat? A goat?”

“Bob use your eyes. Use your fucking eyes.”

“I’m trying but you ain’t exactly Picasso.”

“Shut your dirty ass mouth.”

“Fuck you. Is it a cow? It’s a cow right?”

“No, damn it.”

“Oh I know, I know! It’s a donkey!”

“BOB.”

“Shit, okay, alright. Oh my God it’s a horse! It’s a horse!”

“YES! Yes oh my God I fucking love you, thank you Jesus!”

“Holy crap, one point for us, bless me, because that ain’t a horse, that’s for sure,” Bob declared while moving the red piece one field forward. It was still several fields behind the yellow one, but Alyssa tried her best to ignore it. She had expected to lose, but that didn’t mean she liked it.

“What do you mean? It is clearly a horse! Look it has hooves and everything!”

“Girl I don’t know which horses you’ve seen in your life, but I feel deeply sorry for them.”

“I grew up in Texas, I know what a fucking horse looks like.”

“You sure? Because from what I’m seeing –“

“Our turn,” Katya interrupted, knowing if she didn’t Alyssa and Bob could go on for an eternity, and drew a card from the pile. She held it a little too close to her face and Alyssa was about to suggest her to maybe go see an eye doctor when they got back from their trip, and she could definitely recommend one, if she wanted, when Katya laughed out loud. “Okay, I’m ready. You ready Trix?”

“Oh honey, I’m always ready.”

Alyssa grabbed the hour-glass and turned with a loud go go go, causing Katya to start drawing with a frantic pace.

“Okay,” Trixie said, leaning closer to Katya to get a better view of what she was drawing. “A woman. A girl. Is that a cowboy hat?”

“Yes, it’s a cowboy hat, keep going,” Katya said without lifting her gaze from the tiny piece of paper.

“Uh, she’s singing? A singer. Is it a country singer?”

“Yes,” Katya said and drew a very determined heart around her.

“Someone I love? Uh, Dolly, Shania Twain, Kacey Musgraves, Re-“

“Yes, yes, yes!”

“Kacey? Okay. Uh, a baby? What are you- Is that a smoke?”

“It is, yes, you’re doing great.”

“And a flower. And a… fence?”

“Yes!” Katya said and looked insistently at Trixie, whose face was scrunched up in concentration before she yelled out, “Biscuits!” causing Katya to throw the pen at the table in victory and grab Trixie’s face, pulling her in for a kiss.

“I don’t get it,” Alyssa mumbled, looking at the piece of paper in bewilderment. “What the fuck does that Kacey girl and a baby and a fucking flower have to do with biscuits?”

“It’s one of her songs,” Trixie said, looking at Katya like a fool in love, which Alyssa supposed she was.

“This is unfair,” Alyssa proclaimed and crossed her arms because of the unjustness of it all.

“Don’t be a sore loser, miss Edwards,” Katya teased as she gleefully moved her and Trixie’s yellow piece another step closer to the finish line.

“I literally hate you.”

Katya blew her a kiss as a response.

Trixie and Katya won half an hour later to no-one’s surprise. Trixie got out her guitar and started singing songs that reminded Alyssa of bonfires and late-night summer evenings and happiness while Katya braided Alyssa’s hair and Bob tried her hand a bartending, mixing drinks and making ugly faces when she every time without fail put in too much alcohol. Around midnight Trixie stopped singing, but kept strumming made-up melodies on the guitar, and their conversation became deeper, as it always did in the protection of the dark.

When all of their eyes had gotten so small they could barely see anymore they dragged themselves off to bed. Alyssa contemplated if it would really be so bad to just sleep in her jeans and sweater when Bob gave her a look and she decided, that it really would be so bad, and changed into her pajamas.

She had barely crawled into bed when a “Goodnight!” sounded from the other room.

“No fucking!” Bob yelled back, making her way up the ladder two steps at a time.

“Yes mother,” Katya replied in that silly voice that always made Alyssa roll her eyes. Alyssa closed her eyes, ready for a nice, long, hopefully dreamless sleep. She didn’t fall asleep right away, which wasn’t really a surprise, she barely ever did, no matter how tired she was. Usually it wasn’t a problem, it was annoying, sure, but she’d gotten used to it. The problem was, however, that Katya did fall asleep right away and she snored like an alarm clock. Alyssa kept her eyes determinedly shot, willing herself to ignore the irregular snores coming from the adjourning room. No luck. She checked the time on her phone, watching its light light the room. 04:22.

“What time is it?” Croaked Bob, giving Alyssa a minor heart attack.

“Twenty past four,” Alyssa informed Bob with a voice that was slightly louder than necessary.

“Fuck me,” Bob mumbled and turned over in the bed, the creaking blocking out Katya’s snoring for a few blissful seconds. Alyssa stared up at the mattress above her. She was so tired. She closed her eyes once more, turned so she lay on her side and held her pillow over her ear in a desperate attempt to quiet the snores. It worked for all of ten seconds, but then she became used to the now slightly lower volume of snoring that in no way were quiet enough to actually do any good. She removed the pillow with a frustrated sigh. She stared into the mattress above her some more.

“I’m gonna strangle her,” Bob muttered. “Did she always snore this badly?”

“I don’t know girl, but I’m not above committing murder at this point in time.”

“I’ll hold the pillow, you’ll hold her down?”

“Deal.”

Alyssa checked the time again. 05:34. Lord, Jesus and all things holy. She tried counting sheep, but got too bored by the time she reached 63 so she decided it was a stupid thing only kids did anyway and that it had never worked for anyone in the entirety of the history of the human race. She tossed and turned some more and could hear by the frequency of Bob’s tossing and turning that she was reaching the same levels of frustration as Alyssa.

“How does Trixie sleep,” Alyssa grumbled, clearly aggravated.

“I don’t know, but I should have made myself some stronger drinks.”

“It’s not too late.”

“You’re saying something,” Bob muttered, but she stayed put. Alyssa felt her will to live disappear every minute she lay awake. Multiple times she was right on the brink of sleep when an extra loud snore brought her back to her sleep deprived reality. She looked at her phone. 6:53. She imagined smothering Katya with a pillow just to make her shut up, but felt a little bad afterwards. At 7:14 Bob grabbed her pillow and comforter and told Alyssa she’d see if the living room was any quieter. She returned at 7:55 and defeatedly told Alyssa that it, sadly, was just as horribly loud in there. At 8:29 Alyssa saw her entire life flash before her closed eyelids before she stomped into the living room and turned on the kettle to make the strongest cup of coffee that any human being had ever consumed. Bob came shuffling into the kitchen with her comforter wrapped around her not long after and Alyssa wordlessly made a just as strong cup for her. The two of them sat in silence drinking their coffees staring with hatred towards the closed door of Trixie and Katya’s room. The coffee did its job and Alyssa felt herself become hyperaware of her surroundings, a new energy running through her body, making her heart beat faster.

“Let’s do a snow fight!” She suggested, looking at Bob with excitement in her eyes.

“No.”

“Bo-ooob, please? Look, all that snow, it’s just waiting for us to turn it into snowballs.”

“No.”

“Ugh, you’re so boring.”

“I’m running on zero hours of sleep, that’s what I am.”

“I’m gonna work on a new dance routine,” Alyssa decided and moved the coffee table out of the way. She was halfway done with it with no idea if any of it looked any good due to the lack of mirrors in the room, when she did a pirouette the wrong way and fell to the floor in hysterical laughter. Bob looked at her, still not saying anything, and then continued staring out the window. Alyssa laid down on her back and stared up into the ceiling still laughing so hard her stomach hurt. That’s how Katya found them God knows how much later.

“Good morning,” she greeted, a smoke between her lips already.

“You’re the devil herself,” Bob told Katya with a dead look in her eyes.

“Thanks,” Katya said shrugging on her coat before stepping out into the cold morning.

“Do you hear that?” Alyssa whispered, eyes trained at a spot on the ceiling she couldn’t make out what consisted of.

“What?” Bob asked.

“The quiet.”

Both of them were silent for a few moments, reveling in the quietness of the cabin.

“A blessing,” Bob muttered. “Except I just drank a year’s worth of caffeine in one cup of coffee.”

“I know,” Alyssa giggled. Bob looked at her. She looked at Bob. Both of them went into a hysterical fit of laughter at the same time, that must have been so loud they woke Trixie, because she dragged herself into the living room moments later with an annoyed look on her face.

“It’s not even ten, would you shut up?”

“Oh girl!” Alyssa exclaimed, and made herself and Bob laugh even louder than before.

“We’ve – We’ve,” Bob tried, but she was laughing too hard to say any more.

Alyssa knew she was trying to say though, so she screamed “Yes!” to show her agreement with Bob’s statement.

Trixie looked over at the bottle of vodka that still held the same amount of liquor as it had yesterday and then back at Bob and Alyssa, who were laughing so hard tears were forming in her eyes.

“You’re seriously deranged,” Trixie stated. “I’m finding Katya.”

Alyssa waved goodbye at her as she closed the front door behind her. As her arm dropped to the floor, her eyes shut on their own accord and she felt sleep pull her in. She was asleep, right there on the spot on the floor where the coffee table usually stood, by the time they came back. It was truly a blessing, even if she woke up half an hour later feeling way worse than she had before. Bob looked down at her with envy.

“It’s going to be a long week,” Bob muttered.

“Amen girl. Amen.”