A Little Piece of Paradise
Eden felt sick. Her mouth was dry and her tongue felt bigger than the small space it inhabited would allow.
She reached over to her bedside cabinet where she always kept a glass of orange juice, but couldn`t locate the cabinet. She opened a bloodshot orb and looked around.
The grey morning light revealed a vaguely familiar room, but not her own. She looked at her watch. It wasn`t there. In its place a white bandage.
She stared at the bandage for long moments, fascinated by the sight of the tips of her fingers showing above it. Then she felt the pain, and then the nausea.
She lurched from the bed, and then back onto it. Gathering herself, she made her way to the bathroom. Somewhere in her foggy mind she realised she was in Tori`s cottage.
Having never had to remove knickers using only one hand, Eden realised it should be an Olympic sport. She tried using her injured hand, but the pain it caused to the base of her thumb stopped her short. After inching the underwear down her thighs she sighed and sat for long moments, her head starting to throb in earnest.
Rather than battle with her underwear again she kicked them off, the shirt she wore coming to mid thigh.
Cradling her hand she went in search of Tori.
There was no sign of the woman in the other bedroom, so she made her way gingerly downstairs.
She found the tv in the lounge was on, some religious programme preaching in vain, the sound off. And she found Tori, asleep on the sofa. She was sitting, her head leaning against the backrest, the tv remote in her slack hand. The clock on the vcr told her it was just after 7. She knelt on the couch next to Tori and shook her shoulder gently.
"Hey there." She said quietly.
The blue eyes fluttered open. "Oh, hi." She sat up and scrubbed her face with her hands. "Must have fallen asleep." She regarded the unhappy looking woman. "How do you feel?"
"Lousy." Said Eden slumping down beside her. "How did this happen?" She said holding up her hand.
"You fell, got some glass in it."
"I fell? Oh God, I don`t remember a thing." She grimaced as she moved the hand a little too quickly.
"Hold on." Said Tori standing. "I have some pain killers the sister gave you." She picked up her jacket from its place on the chair and gave Eden a couple of pills. "I`ll get you some water."
"Thanks, but could I have orange? I hate drinking water. We got a carton when we shopped the other day." `Only the other day.` Thought Eden. `Seems like a lifetime ago.`
"Sure." Called Tori from the kitchen and returned with a glass which she handed to the girl.
Eden took both pills at once and finished the juice quickly, getting rid of the acid taste in her mouth somewhat.
"You gonna tell me what happened?" Asked Eden her eyes on the bottom of her glass.
"I...........spoke to Cathy."
"Cathy? Oh.......... What did she say?" Still Eden wouldn`t look at the woman.
"She told me to go find you." Tori put a hand on the bare thigh, rubbing across the smooth skin with her thumb. "Stupid thing was, I`d already found you." She cleared her throat. "I`m sorry."
Eden placed her good hand on top of the large one resting on her thigh. "I`m sorry too."
"For what?" A gentle squeeze to the hand accompanied the question.
"For letting you do it, letting you go like that. And then getting drunk. " She looked up and met the steady blue gaze. "I should have fought harder." Eden blinked rapidly, her eyes suddenly heavy. "But at least I haven`t thrown up." She said with a small amount of pride.
"Not this morning, anyway." Said Tori, a small smile on her face.
"Oh no." Said Eden covering her face. "Not in your car."
"No, I got you out in time." Said Tori."No, all the way across the hospital carpark." Tori smiled at the look of acute embarassment that swept across the still pale features.
Eden closed her eyes and rested her head against the back rest of the sofa.
"Tired?" Asked Tori, pushing golden hair back from a slightly warm forehead.
"Absolutely wiped." Said Eden and stood, keeping hold of the hand as she did so. "Come on, let`s get a few hours sleep, it is Sunday, after all."
Tori nodded. "Ok, you take the main bedroom."
"No, I want you to stay with me." She felt a pull on her arm as the tall woman stopped. "What?"
"I don`t think........."
"You`ve been doing too much thinking and decision making for the last two days. This is my decision. Now, come to bed, you look bloody awful."
Tori was taken aback by the determined little speech, but she allowed herself to be pulled up the stairs and into the bedroom.
"So how did I do this?" Said Eden as she got back into the rumpled bed.
"You fell." Tori disappeared into the bathroom.
"You were drunk." Came the voice from the bathroom.
"Very drunk?" Eden snuggled down into the bed.
"Very drunk." Tori emerged from the bathroom in a long teeshirt. She climbed into bed and lay still for a moment. Then she looked to her right, smiled and reached out her arm, taking the smaller woman and pulling her into her side.
Eden fitted herself comfortably against the long, warm body. Careful to keep her hand from being crushed between them, and resting her head on Tori`s shoulder.
"What else did I do?" The sleepy voice asked.
Tori tightened her grip around the blonde. "Go to sleep, we have plenty of time to talk about it."
"Do we?" Eden raised her head slightly to see the dark profile. "Do we have plenty of time?"
Tori nodded. "Yeah, we do."
Eden settled down again and snaked her right arm around the woman`s waist. "Ok, but you go to sleep too."
"I will." She said.
Outside the rain turned to sleet and then to snow. But inside two women
slept peacefully, safe at last in the knowlege that they`d found each other.
It was the sound of heavy rain against the window that woke Eden. That, and the throbbing pain coming from her hand. Her head was still nestled against the shoulder she was using as a pillow and she looked up at the sleeping face above her.
In her sleep Tori looked very different and Eden smiled at the peaceful look that graced the woman`s countenance.
But the pain in her hand was becoming unbearable.
"Tori." She said, sitting up and leaning back against the headboard.
"Mmmm?" Tori blinked into the late morning light. "What, what is it?"
"It`s not too early to take some more of those pain killers is it?"
Tori looked at her watch, it told her it was just after 10.30. "I think it should be ok. Does it hurt a lot? Maybe we should go back to the hospital, they might not have go all of the glass out."
"No, I don`t want to go back yet. I`ll just take some more pain killers and see what happens." She watched Tori roll out of bed and disappear. She returned moments later with the bottle of pills and more juice.
Eden swallowed the pills while Tori eased back into the bed again, sighing as she settled beneath the clean, crisp sheets.
"Where did the bedding come from?" Asked Eden as she reached down and put the glass on the floor.
"I brought it with me from London yesterday, I made the beds before I decided to go looking for you."
"What happened at the Tap?" Eden lay back down putting a forearm across her eyes.
"You were drunk. It was my fault, I was an idiot. Let`s forget about it." Tori turned onto her side, facing the smaller woman.
"I think I can remember Karen."
Tori closed her eyes. "Yes, you have some explaining to do there."
"There`s nothing................." Eden started, lowering her arm and finding Tori`s eyes.
"Not to me, I knew what was going on, but you should talk to Karen."
Eden nodded. "You`re right."
"You swore a lot." Tori smiled.
"Oh God." Eden groaned, "I`m so sorry."
"Hey it`s over. Let`s go on from here. No more apologies." Tori rolled over again and got out of the bed. "You go back to sleep. I have to go into town and get some things. I`ll also pop `round to your place and get some more clothes for you, your jeans are pretty bloodstained."
Tori went into the bathroom and slipped on a pair of jeans, then she went down to the lounge and found the box which held her teeshirts and slipped one on. She went back up to the bedroom and found Eden dozing.
She bent over and kissed the soft lips, then backed away and watched as the green eyes fluttered open.
"I won`t be long, get some sleep and I`ll see what I can find for dinner. Should I tell Cathy to call in sick for you tomorrow?"
Eden shook her head. "I already arranged to take next week off."
"You did? You kept that quiet."
"I didn`t mean to, just forgot." Eden`s eyes were closing again,
and Tori pulled the quilt up around the blondes chin. She kissed her on the
forehead and then, taking one last look, left and shut the door quietly.
After Tori did some shopping to stock the cottage, from food to soap and shampoo for the bathroom, she went to the Bath Spa and checked out. Then she went to see Cathy and explain where her best friend was.
"I guessed she was with you." Said Cathy as she lead Tori into the lounge.
"Yeah, I found her where you said she`d be." Tori stood, not wanting to stay too long.
"Well, I`m glad you got things sorted, Um, where is she?"
"She had a little too much to drink and had a fall, we ended up in casualty."
Cathy`s eyes widened in alarm. "Is she ok?"
"Her pride is bruised a little I think, and she cut her hand quite badly on some glass. I need to pick up some stuff for her, her jeans are pretty blood stained."
Cathy nodded and lead her through to the kitchen. "She`d done a load of washing the other day so you might as well take that, I`ll get some teeshirts and stuff from her room."
Tori gathered up the jeans and underwear that were in the linen basket awaiting ironing and went back to the lounge. "I`ll get a bin bag." Said Cathy and went again, returning with a big black plastic bag. They stuffed the clothes into the bag and Tori picked it up, ready to leave.
Cathy reached out and took Tori by the arm. "I`m glad things worked out ok." She said.
"So am I." Said Tori and Cathy knew the tall woman meant it.
"She deserves something good to happen to her, she`s been waiting for it long enough. She kept saying that she`d know when she found the right one. I think that`s why she got so mad last night. Before she went out she was crashing around, I`ve never seen her like that. I think she thought she`d found it and lost it just as quickly."
Tori nodded. "She was so angry when I found her."
"Yeah, that`s not like Eddie, she just doesn`t get mad."
"I`m sorry it was me that got her that way. I`m going to make it up to her."
"Is she going to work tomorrow?" Cathy asked.
Tori shook her head. "She managed to get the week off." Tori regarded the floor. "Thanks for everything Cathy."
Cathy shrugged. "She`s my best friend. I knew you had to find her last night, for both your sakes."
Tori put the bag down and took Eden`s friend in her arms and gave her a heart felt hug. Then taking the bag she opened the door to the street.
"Tell Eddie to call me."
"I will." Said Tori and threw the bag into the back of the Shogun. Giving Cathy a wave she started the engine and drove off.
Cathy turned back into the flat to see Darren emerging from the bathroom.
"What`s up?" He said seeing the sad look on his girlfriend`s face.
"I think I may have lost my flatmate." She said and allowed herself to be taken into his arms for a consoling hug.