(18) A Map Of Cape Morgan

2.1K 253 149
                                    

I turn back to the bed just in time to see Ditzy strip off her shirt, her back to me.

I whip around with my face on fire. She's changing right here, in full view of the rest of us. Patrick is staring at a wall like his life depends on it. Calico J hears my sudden motion and looks up, sees the source of our consternation, and snickers. I throw my sweater at him. It hits him over the head, but that just makes him snicker harder. And then Patrick's eyes dart behind me, and a look of panic crawls over his face the moment before Ditzy's voice indicates she's turned around—still wearing nothing but a bra and pants.

"What's so funny?"

"Nothing!" I say, before I can stop my own mouth from blabbing on me. Calico J doubles over laughing. "J, shut up!"

"Your face!" There are tears in his eyes. "Oh my god!"

I swear I feel Ditzy's smirk as she realizes what's going on. Two terrifying steps later, her breath whispers close to my ear, making electricity shoot across every inch of my skin. "Should I take off the rest, too?"

My brain implodes. With no brain to rely on, I revert to instinct, which presents me with two options: turn around and kiss Ditzy, or flee the room. I opt for the latter.

My skin cools as the door falls shut behind me. I'm breathing like I've just run a half-marathon, trembling with exertion or fear or whatever it is I just went through. I was never a runner. Swimming has always been my sport of choice.

Ditzy and Calico J are both pissing themselves laughing in the room behind me. I can hear them from here.

I slump against the door and dig finger-claws into my hair. Teasing me is Ditzy's sport of choice, and it's going to be the death of me sooner or later. She wasn't like this until after I kissed her. It was an accident. Kind of. We were hiding from a Sleeper, trapped together in a shed while we waited for it to wear itself out and drop back to the ground to recharge. We weren't cuddling, strictly speaking. But I still remember the feel of our limbs tangled together, and the way we both grabbed each other when the Sleeper reached the door and scratched at it like some grotesque raccoon.

I'm pretty sure that's the only time I've seen Ditzy scared, though her reaction to Vix's body is a debatable second instance. The shed was worse. I was nearly ready to piss myself, to be honest. By the time the Sleeper left, we'd been in there for an hour, feeling each other's heartbeats and clinging to each other's arms. When Ditzy turned to me at the end of it and asked if I was okay, I could have responded like a normal human being.

I didn't.

Her whole body went stiff. I reeled back off of her, apologizing furiously, and escaped the shed before I had to see her response. She just pretended it never happened. Then, a week later, the teasing started.

"Meg?"

I whip my head up. Ember is standing in the hallway—I didn't hear her arrive—with a wary look on her face and an honest-to-god club slung over her shoulder. I swallow hard. My hockey stick is in the room behind me, lying beside me and Ditzy's bed. "Sorry," I say, and smile weakly. "I got ganged up on."

Her expression darkens. Panic electrifies my thoughts as her other hand moves to the club handle. "Ganged up how?"

"Teasing! Sorry. It's not a problem?" I'm not even sure what I'm saying. Just hoping something will stick and Ember will put the club down. My face heats again. Honesty might not be the worst way to go. The whole of Cape Morgan was pretty progressive when it was inhabited, and if this group isn't chill with queer guests, we'll have one more reason to leave.

Red Rover | gxg | Wattys 2023 Winner | ✔Where stories live. Discover now