My sentences were punctuated by loud sniffles and coughs as I picked up the phone.
"Hey, pukey," Vi's voice came from the other end of the phone loud and clear. "What's up?"
"Still pukey." Sniffle. "What about you?"
"About halfway back from Salisbury. Traffic's a nightmare."
"You shouldn't talk while driving." Cough.
"You sound like you shouldn't be talking, period."
"Fuck off." The glasses clattered against the blender as I poured in the ice and bananas.
"What are you doing?"
Having poured those in, I then reached for the Nyquil. "Making a smoothie."
"You're sick as a dog. Make Zeke make you a smoothie."
"Like Zeke knows what to do with a blender." Sniffle. "Besides, it's my special smoothie."
"Oooh. What flavor?"
I glanced at the label on the Nyquil bottle. "Looks like...strawberry. And banana."
In went the Nyquil.
The moving process was slow and tedious -- a three-hour drive each way makes moving something of a hassle when the ever-so-smart-and-manly males in your life don't want to rent a U-haul. And so, I was probably the only one uncovered in all our collective junk as I sat in the driver's seat with Violet, Zeke, Wren, and either Nikki or Milo, depending on who was willing to help that day, all piled into the car and we talked, bickered, ranted and joked our way back and forth, two trips a day, both of the two days.
On our first trip down, Violet drove. As we approached the city coming down through Delaware, my scent glands suddenly felt a familiar twang.
"Do you smell that?" I said, suddenly, jerking Wren out of a nap against the window in the backseat. I bit my lip. I moved some stuff off of my lap and sat up straighter. "That's not salt -- it's rotting seaweed and other decaying organic matter -- I don't care -- that's the best thing in the world -- that's the ocean!"
I may have gotten a little excited. I looked back at Zeke; he looked caught between confusion and a smile.
Ocean City traffic is always a beast in the summer -- but at least we caught it a week before Senior Week began and the graduating high schoolers flocked down from the entire Mid-Atlantic Region.
Before our last trip down -- the one we wouldn't be coming back from -- I walked through my father's house and reflected one last time. He walked out from the hall and said he would miss me when I was gone. We sat at the kitchen table and had a good long talk. It was obvious that he didn't want me to leave, but I knew I couldn't stay there any longer.
That was Sunday. It was right around morning Saturday when I first started sneezing and coughing, and then about noon last Thursday when my stomach decided that food was way too mainstream for it and that it had to stick it to the one keeping it down (which would be me, naturally).
Violet and Zeke, ever the loving nurses that they are, have kept me either in bed or on the couch and forbade me from touching my computer until today, which is the first day that my symptoms have actually subsided noticeably. Wren, on the other hand, has continued to insist that excessive projectile vomit builds character. I do not like that man.
Fortunately, now we can actually get some work and unpacking done. Eventually, we'll have this place up and running, get a few of the glitches off of the security system, and explore what Aunt Michelle was so adamant about leaving to me.
And I have plans -- oh, do I have plans. Soon, everything will be clear for our first Runner to come and stay here: Ava Conquest. And I've had a bit of correspondence with Maduin the Jester involving plans for a method of communication that's safe from the prying eyes of proxies.
A few more Nyquil smoothies and I'll be right as rain.
Now let's get to it.