Needless to say, I was petrified when I saw Felicia at the supermarket again, especially since I was with Noah at the time. I was browsing the oatmeal with a bag of chocolate chips clutched between my fingers, and I bent down to the bottom shelf, muttering the names of the boxes to myself. Noah was in the next aisle collecting shampoo and soap and all the other feminine products he uses to groom himself. And he called me the wife. He was such a weirdo.
Felicia had been walking down the aisle, and I had not noticed her until I felt a pointy nail tap me on the shoulder. I looked up to see Felicia, who looked like she was going to punch me. And I furrowed my eyebrows and went to ask her what she needed before she, indeed, punched me.
Her fist hit me right under my chin, and I stumbled back because I was already crouched on the ground, and I let out a whimper. She didn't say anything, not a word demeaning me nor to yell at me. She just dug her heel onto my chest while I was on the ground and glared at me with a look that screamed hatred. I didn't know what to do – I've literally done nothing to this woman, but I was afraid her husband may have taken the phone call from Noah the wrong way and…. I didn't know.
She wordlessly pressed her heel harder against my shirt, and I felt it digging into my skin. The tip of it was in a place where I could barely breath, and I let out a wheeze and I tried to tell her to get off me, and I tried to yank her foot of my chest, but she just pressed harder. My fingers were vainly clutched around her ankle, and I started breathing harder and harder and the room started to spin and I felt dizzy until the Felicia fell to the ground and I was in a pair of warm arms.
"What the fuck is your problem, bitch?" Noah spat at Felicia, who had tumbled to the ground, her purse clutched between her flimsy fingers and her eyes, surrounded by scratches, just stared at us blankly like she didn't know what was going on.
I felt my chest and the dent that she had left, which actually had been quite noticeable, and was already turning a deep color. I didn't mind much, it was small because her heel was just pointy and not big, but I had felt like it was going to stab through me and pierce my heart. I coughed. Noah turned to yell at Felicia again, but I blocked him out. A store employee had also come over and asked what was going on, and Noah told him something about the crazy bitch assaulting his friend, and Felicia just stared at him through her blank eyes. The employee took her away and Noah tried to pick me up.
My legs wobbled and struggled to remain upright once I was on my knees. Noah's hands were under my underarms, and he easily lifted me up to my feet. I stumbled backwards, but he caught me, picked up chocolate, and placed it on the shelf. I turned and looked at it eagerly, and I left Noah's grip and went to grab at the chocolate, but I couldn't. I fell to my knees again and started coughing. I started to choke. My throat felt like it was on fire, and my chest felt like it was going to blow up. I tried to stand up again, but my chest kept heaving with every cough, and I couldn't stop choking, feeling like I was going to die. Noah was calling me, but his voice was blurry. I couldn't think. I crashed onto the hard tiled floor and everything went black.
I woke up, and I glanced at Noah from the other side of the bed, as he was sitting there, cuddling with Lemons. I went to smile at him, as his eyes lit up the moment mine fluttered open, but instead I coughed and hacked. I held my arms over my chest and I raised my head and kept jerking forward to cough. I felt tears stinging at my eyes, the feeling in my throat made me feel so sick. Noah immediately rushed to my aid and tried to hold me, but I pushed him back and continued coughing. I didn't need any more suffocation.
Noah didn't seem very offended by my pushing him away, and instead he quickly rushed out of the room and came back within under a minute with a tube of something and a metal spoon. I look at it skeptically and he hesitantly edged it toward my mouth, and I swallowed it reluctantly. It tasted like artificially flavored cherries with entirely too much sugar. I coughed again, but the solution was sliding down my throat, warming it and making my throat stop feeling like it was burning. I still coughed, but it was more relaxed. And then I hacked again, and Noah made sure not to touch me, but sat next to me.
It took a couple of minutes for the coughing to die down, but it did slightly, and I turned to finally look at Noah, whom I'd been avoiding eye contact with for the last couple of minutes. "I called a doctor," he said. I assumed so, since Noah didn't seem like the kind of person to rush out and by medicine without consulting anybody. "He said something about puncturing something, and that you're fine, you'll just be… coughing a lot. And you'll have that bruise," he swallowed. He didn't seem too happy with the news.
"So I'll be fine," my voice sounded hoarser than I expected. I coughed again, and patted Noah's hand that was lying next to me. "Okay," I smiled, and soon I went into another coughing fit. Noah offered me a ready glass of water on the bedside table, and I greedily took it. I felt the cold water slide down my throat, and I made sure not to cough it up, but I soon started to choke on it. Noah's expression almost broke my heart.
He took the glass of water and placed it on the table, and I frowned, pouting my lips unconsciously. Noah asked me if I wanted him to leave, and I contemplated it for a couple of seconds. I felt like I wanted to just sleep for a week, which I reported to him, and he smiled at me, got up and left. I watched him leave with a frown, and felt especially lonely when he clicked the door closed. I bundled myself back up in the blanket and stared at the clock a couple of inches away from my nose, reading several minutes after noon. I tried to shut my eyes, and I felt myself slip away from consciousness within a couple of minutes.
I woke up to a couple of annoying birds chirping, and I cracked open an eye grudgingly, only to be barraged with extraordinarily bright light streaming through my window. I groaned and got up, my feet planted on the floor, and I took the refilled glass of water and drank half of it. Wiping the wetness off my upper lip, I yawned and stood up, realizing my shirt was off. On the other side of my bedroom was a mirror, and I looked at my chest.
The bruise was so much larger than it was when I first received it. It had spread outward in a large circle, so large it was almost reaching my neck. It wasn't any kind of assortment of colors, but just a deep black. I touched it. It stung.
I threw my arms into the sleeves of a sweater and it fell onto me, and I walked out of the bedroom. Noah was snoring on my grandmother's couch, one arm hanging off it and one leg completely on the floor. The blanket was nowhere near him, and I chuckled, which made me cough. Noah sprang up from the couch in a heartbeat, and almost slipped on his own feet racing toward me. He asked me if I was alright six times before I could answer, and when I finally cleared my throat and grinned up at him, he grinned back and nudged my lips with his as gently as possible. "I'm glad you're not coughing anymore," he said, and I wrapped my arm around his back and walked to the kitchen, and I asked him if I could have some chocolate coffee.
Noah agreed immediately and started to brew a fresh pot, and I said I could just have the one from yesterday. He informed me, nonchalantly, that I was out for one day, and then I woke up, and then I crashed for the rest of that day. All in all, "I drank all the coffee because we're both caffeine-addicted, and I'm sorry, and I'll make more," he grinned at me from the coffee pot. I laughed, covering my mouth with a fist to cover my cough. He shot me a worried look, but I assured him with the wave of my hand that I was indeed alright.
I shuffled into the bathroom, which was rare to do so early in the morning because Noah would usually intercept me, and I closed the door. I stared at myself in the mirror for a couple of minutes. Subtle dark rings hung around my eyes, which were droopy and large. I opened them wider and splashed my face with some water, and looked at myself in the mirror after drying off my face with a towel. I felt a little refreshed, and I noticed the towel already hanging on the shower's railing. I turned the faucet and watched the warm water spill out, and I pulled the lever that allowed it to pour from the showerhead. I felt the water on my hand and, feeling it was hot, I turned it off and wiped it on my sweatpants before wandering back to Noah.
"You're going to take a shower?" he asked, setting a flame under a small skillet, an egg sitting next to him on the counter. The usual faint stubble under his chin had grown farther up his face, his dark hair noticeably making a home around his cheeks.
"You should shave," I told him without answering the question. Noah simply looked at me and told me I was rude, and I shrugged and plopped down back into the chair. I heard the egg cackling under the low heat of the skillet, and Noah flipped the stove off and let the egg finish cooking. Sunlight streamed in from the large window that sat at the front of her house, and I looked out and watched the dew sparkle against the grass. The distant sound of a lawnmower was fading away, and I glanced down at my stiff, pale hands. My gaze at my lap, I twitched my pinky finger experimentally, and stretched my entire hand out.
I heard Noah's voice break whatever haze I was in. "Don't waste the water," he scolded, and I solemnly got up and dragged my feet to the bathroom, shutting the chipped white door behind me.
At the top of the wall inside of the shower, there was a small, small window one could peek through. The water scorched my bare skin as I stepped in, and I hopped away and carefully avoided it to quickly add some colder water. Suddenly I was freezing, and again nudged the knob slightly backwards. I was still going to emerge with third-degree burns, but I would live.
A bottle of lavender shampoo sat modestly on one of the ceramic shelves, and I lathered my blonde hair roughly, leaning my head back to allow the boiling water to seer my scalp. I closed my eyes and let the water drip down my face, opening them when I again leaned forward. A cold breeze suddenly shot out from the window and grazed my cheek, and I glanced outside.
Holy fucking – what… what the fuck?