Tags: NOTHING! All story. saw-wee 😦
**Secret Secret, I’ve Got A Secret**
Andrew was already up when Darcy had emerged from her room, bathed in golden sunlight, browsing on his phone. The dirty plate that once held his dinner was still there, sitting on the couch next to him, as was Darcy’s own on the coffee table. Silly her, she forgot to take those away last night. Then again, she hadn’t really thought about it after her conversation.
“Morning,” Andrew offered, not taking his eyes off of his phone.
“Heya,” Darcy called back, weakly. She didn’t know how this morning would go. She cantered over to the couch, picking up the dishes from the cushions and from the table, then grabbing the glass of water she had poured for herself.
“Sorry I didn’t take these last night. Careless, wasn’t I?”
“Yeah. Though,” she began, leaning back and looking up at her, “you probably didn’t have that on your mind.”
Darcy nodded, smiling a bit.
“I most certainly did not.”
She took the dishes over to the sink, scraping the gunk and leftovers into the trash and then rinsing them off. She did the same with the pan that contained the rest of fajitas, but instead put the leftovers into a plasticware container, setting them in the fridge. Lunch for another day, perhaps. She rinsed out the pan, and, knowing that it wasn’t a good idea, put hot water and soap in them to let them soak- which of course, is the thing people do when they want to justify not doing the dishes right now.
She retrieved milk and cereal from the cupboard and fridge, along with a bowl, a single spoon, and a tiny saucer. Setting these on the table, she braced herself and went back out into the living room, and walked over to Andrew, still on his phone.
“Hey,” she began, kneeling down to get her face closer to him, “I’m sorry about last night. It wasn’t good of me to just walk out like that, leaving you alone. I-”
“Wait, Darcy, please.” he held up his hand, sighing. Darcy did so, swallowing the welling lump in her throat. She had not a clue what to expect from him- when she it’s woke up it hit her that she had left him unattended, without a blanket or anything last night- stranded on the couch. She bemoaned, with a literal moan of disbelief, knowing that she would have to own up to her negligence. However, there was something there, the way that he had told her that ‘didn’t have that on your mind:’ maybe he had understood- he was pretty empathetic, after all.
The little man put his hands on his hips, and after chewing his tongue for a second, spoke up.
“I…” He began, searching for the word, “didn’t really reveal that stuff in the most graceful way. A lot came out and before I knew it, I was just vomiting my thoughts. And,” he grit his teeth, digging a toe into the blanket that covered the couch, “I probably shouldn’t have taken my anger out on you, especially when you tried to keep me safe. I’m grateful, Darcy, really, for everything you have done- you really have been my best friend, looked out for me all the time- even when I was normal sized. For me to snap at you like that, that’s…” He searched for the right word, waving his hand almost to clear away other unsatisfactory words, “unmanly, I guess? I dunno. I know you’re a feminist and all, but I just-”
He stopped midsentence, almost looking surprised or offended by the interruption. He was greeted by her smiling face beaming down on him.
“It’s alright. I promise. All is forgiven.”
Andrew seemed nonplussed about it- but his face eventually warped back to one of understanding, and maybe even acceptance. He realized that he was barfing words, so that may have prompted it.
He nodded, smiling back.
“Good,” she continued. “Shall we have some breakfast?”
“I’d like that.”
Darcy lay her palm down on the couch for him, prompting him on. Andrew climbed up, got to the center, then squat back down.
“You sure things are alright? With all that I said?”
Darcy nodded, looking down at him.
“Mm-hm. I can’t begin to understand how stressful it is for you.” He bit her lip, letting her words form before she said them, “and… Well, I will admit that it really did surprise me.”
Darcy spoke truth there- it really had struck her out of the blue.
“Actually…” She put her free finger to her lip. “Could we maybe talk about that tonight? After dinner perhaps? Maybe get everything out on the table?”
He nodded at her, smiling. He seemed to her content in that answer- maybe they’d come to an understanding, clear the air.
Darcy stood back up, and started back to the table. As she walked, keeping her hand level and looking down at him- again, her breath caught in her throat.
There it was, that feeling again.
But this time, delightedly so, she knew exactly what it was.
“Andrew, you’re so…” She started, bewildered that the words even came out of her, “tiny.”
Andrew frowned up at her, rolling his eyes.
“Now that’s something I definitely never wanted to hear from a girl.”
Darcy rolled her eyes as well, unsuccessfully suppressing a smile.
“You know what I mean, you goof.”
“Mm.” He continued. “And by the way, Don King called…” He looked up at Darcy with a grin, glancing at her unkempt, shaggy hair. “He DOESNT want his-”
Darcy- “hey jane, thanks again for letting me take off early. I’ll make up for it soon, I promise!!!! :P”
Jane- “no prob dude- I heard about drew”
Jane- “also ur covered for tomorrwq”
Jane- “fat fingers :(”
Darcy smiled and put her phone away. It was incredibly kind of Jane to let her use some vacation time on such short notice, as well as take off early for the day. It was Thursday today, meaning she had a long three day weekend ahead of her. Things were slowing down at the office so it wasn’t too much of stretch to do so, she reckoned- but still, she decided to type a text to her manager who had allowed and approved the sudden request. Jane was a good gal, kind too, if not a little eccentric- she also swore like a drunken sailor.
Darcy had taken this time off to get some shopping done- as per Andrew’s request, she would make some alfredo sauce tonight, followed by splitting a bottle of his favorite bourbon. Something, he intoned, of a going away party, done while the getting was good and they could enjoy themselves. The social worker was planning on coming by tomorrow to pick him up early in the morning, eight a.m. in fact, so he had decided to do it tonight, maybe let the hangover wash off and prepare him for the journey.
Darcy sighed, thinking of that talk. It had felt so final, like she really was going to lose her best friend.
She hoped, as she pulled into the store parking lot, that it would not be so. She had spent a good deal of last night planning and thinking, weighing options and trying her best to find the best outcome. Her end goal was clear, and her methodology was, she hoped, effective.
She had gone to the grocery store first, and picked up ingredients for Alfredo and the bottle of drink. Now, she only had one last place to go.
It was a quiet, unassuming store that she had parked outside of- far different than the items and ideas she expected to find inside. All the same, it took a bit of nerve for Darcy to just get out of the car. Nestled just south of 11th and West Peachtree, she had passed by it maybe a million times- but had never really seen it. An odd phenomenon.
She walked towards the entrance, feeling faintly guilty.
Despite her open-mindedness and decided liberalism (she drove a Subaru, after all), Darcy couldn’t help but feel the old fires of her mother’s evangelical teachings tugging at her as she approached the storefront. She knew that there was naught to fear, all would be well, but she suddenly caught herself thinking that she was doing something… Naughty. Dirty, even. Like the act itself would be something she might be held accountable for come that great and terrible day. Quick and the dead. Patently absurd, she believed, but still. It was there.
She kept on walking, despite her hymnal humming.
“It was good for my grandmother,” she sang softly, then softer still under her breath when she noticed someone looking at her, “it’s good enough for me~”
Old habits died hard, she supposed.
The store, she found, after being bombarded by a wave of a million different incenses and what she believed to be the smell of latex mingled with regret, was quite welcoming. Maybe it was the man behind the counter, greasy long haired and pimpled, holding, bewilderingly, a Nora Roberts paperback.
“And a good evening to you, good Madame,” he drawled, a practiced opener of someone who probably really loved his job but was grossly underpaid for it, “what can I do for y’all?”
Darcy cleared her throat. Here she went.
“Well, you see, my friend shrank down…”
It was around six when Darcy finally arrived home that night, her arms full of bags. Andrew, out of a force of habit, made a motion to get up and help her- he stopped short, and cursed when he found that he had nearly plummeted down the couch onto the carpet below.
That was probably the worst thing for him, he found- helplessness. He wanted desperately to help the woman he loved, but the powers-that-be had other plans. Still, though small in stature, he was able to assist her in other ways on her transition from being a roommate to single apartment bachelorette.
The day had been spent writing legal documents of various kinds, wills, transfers of ownership, and contracts, all with the intent of transferring all of his worldly possessions to Darcy. His car, various stocks he had in companies, and even the contents of the safe below his bed.
He was glad he could do this for her at the very least- his legal know how and the almighty notary public stamp gave him quite a bit of clout and power to provide Darcy the life that, he believed, she deserved.
After writing these documents all up, he sent them to his coworker, Dave, to finalize. Dave was a true bro to Andrew, and graduated with him from law school. He could count on Dave to deliver the documents to Darcy.
It would be the last good thing Andrew could do for her, he believed.
With a sigh, hoping that it was enough, he watched guiltily as Darcy carried, with some trepidation, the bags she had to the kitchen counter. She set them down with an ‘ayumph,’ and then, oddly, quickly set a pink bag he had not seen previously behind the bar, intending it to not be seen, it seemed.
“Hey, Andrew!” Darcy had called out cheerfully when she saw him watching. “How was your day?”
Andrew walked over to close his phone off, finished with his work. He did so and scratched his head.
“It was good, I suppose- just finishing up some business before tomorrow. How was work? Jane still have a mouth like a sailor?”
Darcy chuckled at that, remembering her text conversation with her supervisor earlier that evening. She had started unpacking groceries and pulling out some pans to make dinner.
“Yup, that she does. And it was good- not too much trouble. Kind of winding down now, but it ought to pick up soon enough.”
“Cool. Hey,” he started, climbing up one of the couch cushions to get a better view, “want some company while you make dinner?”
For a moment, he saw her eyes flicker over to the bag, the pink one, behind the counter.
Was it some sort of secret?
“Uh… Yyyyyyyyyeah.” Quickly, she made a move to drag the bag down off the counter, and then Andrew heard a cupboard door open and close. “Sure. Let me come and get you.”
She sauntered over to the couch, pulling off her sneakers first and setting them aside. Bending over so that her hair was tumbling over her shoulders and head, she set her hand down, palm up, to let Andrew on. Tiny man in hand, she walked back to the kitchen and was set down.
“Thanks. Just haven’t talked much to anyone all day.”
Darcy nodded, a wry smile coming across her lips. She retrieved a paring knife from the drawer and peeled a couple of garlic cloves from the bunch she bought.
“I totally understand- it’d be tough, not having anyone to talk to all day.” She smirked at him again. “Especially you, mister socialite.” She was peeled the cloves and began to cut them. The garlic was old, the smell very powerful.
Andrew laughed and leaned back against the counter. “That is true. Although, it has been nice not having to hold paralegals by the hand all day. So I got that going for me, I suppose. Still,” he continued, “it’s been boring. Not much happens on TV. Christ, that garlic is strong.”
Darcy laughed, and set the cut aromatic aside. She wiped her hands off, then reached over Andrew for something else yet wrapped in a brown bag.
“That sucks. Well, hopefully,” she pulled a long stocky bottle out of the bag, filled with a brown liquid- bourbon. The bottle was capped with a gray wax, along with a symbol pushed into it. On the paper label, a black outline of a state with emboldened words in it. It read ‘Louisiana Grey.’
“Hopefully, this will cheer you up!”
Andrew lifted his hands in victory- this kind just happened to be his favorite. Something of a treat that Darcy knew he would enjoy.
“Dude, Darcy… You are my hero. My saint. My matron goddess of spirits. My heart’s gladness-”
“And your liver’s bane. You know my dad used to clean out his lawn mower engine with that stuff?”
“Waste of damn fine bourbon, that is. Your dad and I are gonna have words.”
Darcy returned a tentative chuckle, setting down the knife and placing both hands on either side of Andrew. She let her head hang low and looked right at him. “Oh yeah?”
“Yeah. I could take him!”
Darcy laughed at that. She grabbed a cut of fresh mozzarella sliced off a sliver for him, placing it in front Andrew. He looked up at her, apparently waiting for instruction.
“Suuure ya could. Totally, bro. Now,” she began, trying not to giggle as she playfully patronized him, “could you please… Uh…” She snapped her fingers, pointing at the white fresh cheese. “You know…” She made slicing motions with her hand.
Andrew seemed to understand and hunkered over the stuff and started to rip the cheese into tiny bits.
“Cut the cheese? Sure-oh godDAMN it, Darcy!”
He watched giggling as she almost fell on the floor laughing.