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River In Heaven

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It’s The Little Things

 

 

Dakota, Ashlyn and Ali had been back in D.C for a few days when Dakota was woken from a sound sleep in the middle of the night by the sound of retching. Not simple gagging, but gut-ripping, I-just-want-to-pass-out retching. Her first instinct was to reach for Ash’s side of the bed. It was empty. Dakota rolled out of the warm waterbed and crossed the dark room to the sliver of light peeking from under the bathroom door.

“Babe?”

“You need the room?” Came Ash’s weak, slightly echoed voice.

Dakota didn’t have to imagine where her lover’s head was. “No, no, are you okay?”

“Well, I’ve been better, DK. Go on back to bed. No point in both of us being tired.”

“Hell with that. You want me to hold your hair or rub your back or something?”

“No, I’m getting up now anyway...”

Dakota waited by the door as she listened to running water and the sound of teeth being brushed. When the bathroom door opened, Ashlyn emerged looking more bedraggled, pale and ill than Dakota had ever seen her.

Which, since she had never seen her girlfriend sick, wasn’t saying much.

 

“Damn...Come on back to bed, Ash. How long were you in there?”

“No idea. Long enough to chuck a good portion of my insides out.” Ash wrapped one arm around Dakota’s waist, rested her head on her shoulder and slowly padded back to bed.

“Lay on your side and I’ll rub your back.”

She actually felt a little better on her side, and the feel of Dakota’s firm but gentle pressure on her back helped as well.

“Just your stomach?”

“No, everything is sore and I’m tired.”

“Not surprising...” Dakota said softly behind her. “Throwing up is hard on the body. Do you want some of that sports drink with the electrolytes?”

“No, just you...”

“I’m here for you. Do you need me to do anything?”

“Maybe another blanket?” She felt DK get up and a minute later more weight settled over her, and she was glad to gradually get a little warmer. She could feel herself drifting into sleep again. “Gotta tell Mark I’m sick...”

“I’ll take care of it. Sleep now.” She felt Dakota kiss the back of her head and she sighed as she gave in to sleep.

 

Once she knew Ash was truly asleep, Dakota eased out of the bed as best she could. She’d been hotter than hell under that extra blanket, but Ash had been cold, so the extra blanket stayed. Dakota suspected that Ash had come down with the flu. She, herself, hadn’t been sick in weeks, so she knew it wasn’t something she’d passed on to the normally healthy blonde. She shut the bedroom curtains and left the room but left the door open a crack in case Ashlyn called out. Dakota found her phone in the living room and sent Ali a text.

Morning, Kriegs. I know you aren’t up yet, but I wanted to let you know that Ash is pretty sick. She’s not going to make it today. Text me when you can,

D

 

Dakota hit the power button on the coffee maker Ashlyn had prepped before they had gone to bed. She knew there would be no more sleep for her, so she settled in with her laptop and started on a rough outline.

At sunrise, Ali returned her text.

 

DK,

Sorry to hear Ash is sick. Do we know why? Do you guys need anything?

 

Dakota went into the bathroom and checked the cabinet before answering.

 

Like, everything. Does she not get sick or what?

 

Rarely. Flu?

 

I think so. That’s how she presents, anyway.

 

I’ll run by the pharm before the ‘plex and stop on my way in.

 

Thanks, Ali. You’re a gem.

 

I know! Lol *hugs*

 

Dakota set her phone down on the dining room table and went to check on her girlfriend. She had flipped onto her left side and was curled up pretty tight. Dakota didn’t go any closer to the bed for fear of waking Ashlyn up. She was a pretty light sleeper and she needed her rest now more than ever. So Dakota eased back out of the room, and back to her coffee and work.

She was outlining features of an alien world when she heard a soft tap at the door, and still in bare feet, she padded across the apartment to open it. She figured it was Ali. No one else would know one of them was up at that hour.

“Hey, come on in. Do you have time for coffee?”

“Sounds like caffeinated heaven.” Ali replied quietly.

“I’ll grab the good stuff, why don’t we have it on the balcony?”

 

After handing Ali a steaming mug, Dakota slid the patio door shut so they wouldn’t disturb Ashlyn.

“So I probably got more than she’ll need, but it’s better to have too much in a situation like this I suppose.” Ali passed the bag to her friend and watched her unpack pink anti-nausea medicine, organic ginger tablets, ginger ale, electrolyte sports drinks and a bottle of pain relievers.

“Thank you, she has nearly nothing in the bathroom cabinet.”

Ali shrugged a little. “She rarely gets sick, despite how often she goes out.”

Dakota took a mouthful of her coffee before giving voice to something that had been on her mind. “This might sound a little corny, but I really want to make this a home for her. She once told me it was just a place to lay her head. Been there, done that. I want her to look forward to coming home, you know? So, I was wondering...you know her better than I do…”

Ali took a sip of coffee before nodding. “You want to know what will make her happy.”

“Yeah. Little things, big things. I want to know as much as I can. I know she loves the beach, the ocean, sunsets, surfing, reading and coffee.”

“And you.” Ali smiled.

Dakota chuckled. “Yes, and me. I’ve only doubted that once, and she set me straight pretty quick.”

Ali nodded, remembering a time not too far past in Florida. “Well, it’s little things that speak to Ash. She talks about you with pride. The socks you’re making for her, when you cook and throw your little dinner parties for us...even when you do her laundry for her. I’d say you’re already on the right track, DK.”

“You’re a good friend to us both.” Dakota said.

“I do what I can for the people I care about.” Ali put a hand on DK’s shoulder and gave it a little squeeze before they both turned their attention to the neighborhood coming awake in the sun.

When the defender’s cup was empty, they went inside. Ali gave her friend a warm hug and went off to the sports complex to let her coach and team know their number one goalkeeper would be out for a few days.

 

 

to be continued!!