“Rise and shine, Rayne!” I hear a voice from a distance and desperately try to block it out. I lie very still, rationalizing if I act dead, it may leave me alone. “Come on.” The tone turns from cheerful to cajoling. “It’s after twelve, Rayne! Time to get your lazy ass out of bed.” It’s Paris, of course, and he’s standing over me. When I do not respond, he reaches down and rips the covers off me. I let out a shriek as a) I’m naked and b) it’s freezing.
“Paris Frantz! You give me back my covers!” I curl into a ball as I wait for him to comply. Instead, he hands me a pair of sweats and a sweatshirt while waiting for me to get up. When I realize that he’s a) not going away and b) eyeing my naked body, I quickly slip into the sweats. Once I am covered, I fall back into bed and ignore Paris.
“Vashti called. She wants to see you tonight.” Paris frowns as I make no movement to get up. “I’ll make you pancakes if you get up this very minute.”
“Chocolate chip pancakes?” I ask, my voice muffled from the pillow I have placed over my head.
“Yes, Ms. Sweet Tooth,” Paris sighs loudly. “Now get your ass out of bed.”
“Why are you so mean to me?” I emerge from under my pillow to gaze dolefully at Paris. “Why do you never show me any love?”
“I tried the other night,” Paris quips. “You rebuffed me, remember?” He waits until I sit up before slipping out of the room. I yawn as I contemplate going back to bed. I don’t understand why Paris has such a thing about me sleeping past noon. He considers it a great failing of mine that I like to sleep in. At least he didn’t shake his head sadly this time. I would have had to clock him one, pancakes or no pancakes. I shuffle out of bed and head to the bathroom. I take a shower, brush my teeth, the usual things. I wash my wound and put more gauze on it, best I can. It isn’t red or weeping, so I assume it’ll heal. I slip the sweats back on and go to the kitchen. It’s only Paris, so there’s no need to look my best. Besides, he’s wearing sweats, too, only his are gray and mine are black.
“Smells good.” The fragrance of the chocolate chip pancakes perks me up. There are few odors I like better than baked goods. Especially ones with chocolate in them.
“Pancakes a la Paris, coming right up. How’s the neck?”
“Come take a bite and find out,” I reply with a wink. Paris laughs, but stays focused on his cooking. I decide to call Vashti while he’s doing his thing and hunt down my cell phone.
“Hello?” As usual, her voice makes me think of molasses and honey, with blindfolds and gags thrown in for good measures.
“Vashti? It’s Rayne. Glad that you called me back. Sorry we’ve been playing phone tag. Can you believe it about Max?”