“Grammy, you lied.”
The words felt foreign to Serafine LeClaire as she said them. Josephine LeClaire, her grandmother, was far from a liar. She was a saint. She did no wrong, except leave her.
Serafine lifted her head from her tear-soaked pillow and reached for the glass on her night stand. She took another drink of the dark liquid, cringing as it went down. Alcohol was never really her vice. Men, drugs and the night life that held her hostage was more her thing. But it had pulled her from those who loved her for years. All except her grandmother.
She took another drink realizing she just wanted the aching to stop. Sitting the glass back, she flipped her pillow, giving it a punch or two and let her head collapse into its softness.
Rachel flicked the light on, her eyes viewing her best friend critically. Serafine bounced around in the bed as she buried her head beneath her pillow.
“Get out!” She groaned, but it came out more like a muffle.
Rachel turned on the ceiling fan and walked to the bed. Her arms crossed over her chest. Her determined stance would have warned Serafine that she meant business.
“Miss Jo is probably rolling over in her grave watching you act like this. Get up!”
Rachel snatched the comforter exposing Serafine to the cold breeze from the ceiling fan. She knew Serafine liked it warm and toasty while she slept. Rachel would chuckle if the situation wasn’t so serious. She held the comforter tight readying herself for a battle with her best friend. She would not lose her again.
“What is wrong with your ears woman? Get out!”
Serafine said the final words staring Rachel in the eyes as she yanked at the comforter trying to huddle back into her warm space. But her pull did not yield the results she desired because Rachel did not let go.
“We can do this the easy way or the heard way. Your choice Lady Bug.”
Serafine pulled. Rachel tugged.
Serafine yanked. Rachel planted her feet taking ahold of the comforter and with all of her strength pulled the cover again.
Serafine was holding on so tight that Rachel’s unexpected force caused them both to tumble to the floor.
Rachel hit the floor first cushioning Serafine’s fall.
“I just want to be left alone,” she whisper as she found herself wrapped in Rachel’s arms.
“For how long?”
Rachel could feel the tears on her shirt. She held her tighter as her friend cried in her arms.
Rachel rocked Serafine until her wails became a soft sniffle.
“I can’t recall the last time you called me Lady Bug,” Serafine said wiping her nose on her sleeve but not leaving the warmth of her friend’s embrace.
“I can’t recall the last time you smelled so bad or looked like a hot mess.”
Serafine pulled back, looking into Rachel’s face. Then the two bursted into laughter.
“What you don’t like my new look…,” she said patting her wild locks of hair. It had been weeks since she went to the salon.
Their laughter calmed, Rachel held tightly to Serafine’s hands.
“I miss you,” Rachel said.
They sat up holding hands on Serafine’s dirty floor. The ceiling fan blowing. The hum of the refrigerator in the next room was the only sound they heard.
“I know. I just don’t know what to do now. I can’t believe she’s gone.”
Rachel gathered Serafine into her arms again for a strong hug.
“I know. But she would not want you living like this.” Rachel gestured to the room around them.
Serafine looked around. She really looked. At the dirty floor beneath them. The takeout boxes on the floor beside the bed. She couldn’t remember the last time she took a shower or a bath. Her hair was a mess.
She was a mess.
“It’s bad, huh…,” Serafine realized.
“Yes, honey, it is. But you are not alone.”
“What would I do without you?”
They laughed and held each other.
“I have something for you.” Rachel said.
“It’s a surprise.”
Serafine gave her a suspicious look.
“It’s not bad. You’ll love it. And I promise, you will be glad to have it.”
That peaked her curiosity.
“Okay…so give it to me.”
“No, first hit the shower. And if you really love me, brush that bird’s nest on top of your head.”
Serafine stood and tossed a dirty sock at Rachel, who quickly ducked.
“Oh…you got jokes.”
Rachel laughed harder.
“Okay, okay, I’ll take a shower. I’ll be right back.”
Rachel stood, “See you in a bit.”
Serafine walked to her dresser and gathered fresh clothes and headed towards her adjoining bathroom.
Before she walked through the door she stopped looking back at Rachel.
“Thank you,” she whispered with tears gathering in her eyes.
“No thanks are required.”
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