Part Thirty of You Will Find Your Way
Juggling, sushi, and things Dallas should probably remember, but doesn’t.
Dallas wakes with a cough when she breathes into the puddle of drool that accumulated under her cheek through the hours between passing out and waking up courtesy of the sunbeam striking her in the eyes.
And also because of Giselle’s ties nudging into her gut, but mostly the sunlight and choking.
It’s not the least glamorous way she’s ever woken up in front of someone, but it’s pretty high up on the list.
“You look terrible.”
Dallas rolls over, but unfortunately since she has to slide to the side so she doesn’t bash her head into the bricks that surround the fireplace, the back of her head lands in the pile of drool and immediately absorbs it into the disaster that is her hair sweat-and-gunk knotted hair, “Says the woman who spent the night on the couch for funsies.”
“That’s not a legitimate comparison,” Giselle steps over Dallas’ sword on her way into the kitchen. “And not a nice thing to say to someone who is clearly worried that you’re going to get mauled by the whatever it is that’s creeping around the forest.”
“Yeah, well,” closing her eyes, Dallas listens to Giselle clatter around the coffeemaker, and it goes without saying that she’s not going to join her for her lectures today.
Dallas lifts her shoulders, winces at the squick of the her hair peeling away from the hardwood before she sits up all the way, drapes her arms around her bent knees and stretches out her lower back.
“Hey,” she tilts her head to see how sore her neck is after tweaking it in the fight, hears Giselle’s distracted call back as it echoes from one room to the other. “Did you see that note? Almost lost it to the dust bunnies under the couch.”
“Oh yeah,” Giselle’s tone is still distracted and now muffled by a bite of something that may or may not be toast. “I’ll deal with it this afternoon. Can you pick up lunch later? We can hide out in my office.”
“Lest I have to deal with Sweeney’s spies,” Dallas snorts, but she’ll probably take it as a yes.
Giselle leaves the kitchen and favorites Dallas with an unsympathetic look, “You brought this on yourself. I’m the one who has to suffer through dinner tomorrow night.”
Dallas tries to shrug, but winces when she discovers another pulled muscle instead.
She just can’t win.
With another roll of her eyes, Giselle pads over, toes at Dallas’ side with her foot again, “If you don’t shower before lunch, I’m going to call campus security myself.”
“Oh, go teach your impressionable minutes how to crack the universe in half or whatever,” Dallas halfheartedly swipes at Giselle’s leg.
She dodges, dances around Dallas and grabs her books and notes, leaves her housemate on the floor of the living room, “I’m thinking of sushi for lunch,” she calls over her shoulder. “That work for you?”
The door closes before Dallas can be bothered to answer, just busies herself with peeling the rest of the way off the floor so she can finally take a shower.
Dried creature blood really doesn’t do her complexion any favors.
Dallas may have gone a little overboard with the epic ton of sushi she bought.
Like, there’s probably enough for them to eat for days.
Her arms nearly overflow as she balances the stack of brown parcels while navigating through the campus green to Giselle’s office.
And in contrast to the last time she was actually within the campus’ borders, she’s in clean clothes, her hair is brushed and braided, and she might even have managed to put on some mascara too.
She startles, one arm going for her blade before she realizes she’s not under attack and—
There go three of the bags.
But before they land on the grass and explode in a shower of rice, seaweed salad, and miso soup, someone sweeps them up, and in the second it takes for Dallas to get a handle on her instincts and the rest of the bags, she realizes it’s just—
Of course it is.
“Nice catch,” she manages and tries to ignore over the twisting in her gut at the way his gaze focuses on her right hand.
Luke shrugs, “Had a lot of downtime on the destroyer. Learned to juggle.”
Well, “destroyer” in conjunction with the gray NAVY ROTC t-shirt stretched over his muscled torso fits into a puzzle that somehow Dallas’ fragmented mind thinks should be familiar.
“You could pick up worse skills.”
He shrugs again, “Got a handful of those too,” inevitably, he looks at her arm again. “But it’s not like you didn’t either.”
Dallas thinks back to how she spent last night and laughs, “You have no idea,” she breaks off and tilts her head. “Except you do. It’s not entirely the same, but-”
“Something tells me that fundamentally, it is.”
Before she can reply with another vague sentiment about their apparently mutual militaristic histories, Dallas’ phone vibrates in the pocket of her jacket, but there’s no way she’s going to manage to shift everything in her arms to get it.
Not like it’s not just the third text in as many minutes from Giselle, the hangry woman demanding to know what’s taking so long.
“I’d better,” she nods with her chin in the direction of Giselle’s office.
“Yeah,” Luke nods, looks down at the packages in his hands, the one in Dallas’ and shakes his head. “Come on, I’ll walk you over.”
“You don’t have to,” Dallas says even as she starts walking anyway, thankful to not have the three packages that apparently served as the tipping point between what she can and can’t manage to track across campus on her own.
“Too late,” he shrugs, looks off into the distance. “Looks like another storm’s coming.”
He comments like it’s not ridiculous that they’re making smalltalk about the weather, but instead of laughing, Dallas glares at the clouds.
It had better not go like the last one did.
She has the blade strapped to her back under her jacket and t-shirt, the weight doing enough to calm her nerves, but—
Really, she could do without another encounter.
You Will Find Your Way continues with Part Thirty One
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