Chapter 4

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Camila spent the next morning sorting through boxes of boogie board fins, sprawled out on the sandy pine floor of the inventory room. It wasn't until her lunch break that she was able to call her hotel and request a driver to take her to the hospital. She went with a bag of sweet potato fries and boiled peanuts-courtesy of a worried, earnest Dinah-because apparently they were Lauren's favorites.

And Camila figured it would be criminal to take a cheddar bacon burger into a hospital. The place was surrounded by palm trees, airy and light, and Camila took the elevator and easily found Lauren's room.

She only spent about five minutes shuffling about outside the door, nervously crinkling the bag of food and fully expecting Lauren to tell her to get lost.

She wouldn't be wanted here. They barely even knew each other. This was probably too personal.

But Camila would be damned if she let Lauren sit in the hospital by herself. She breathed deeply and pushed open the door. Lauren groaned and sunk back into the pillows as soon as she walked in.

"I won't stay long!" Camila rushed out before Lauren could say anything. She nervously patted down her sundress while Lauren eyed her. "I just thought I'd bring you some food. And see how you are."

She held up the bag of fries and peanuts like an offering.

"No, that's not-I wasn't..." Lauren looked amused. She shook her head. "You can stay."

Her voice was stronger, normal again. She was breathing evenly and deeply, still sun-tinted in the hospital bed, hair salty and tangled. Her cheeks were a little flushed, and Camila smiled when she realized why.

"You don't have to be embarrassed, you know." She moved next to Lauren's bed and set the bag of food on her knees.

Lauren cut her eyes up. Camila looked too pleased with herself.

"I know you told me to stay in the shop last night, but it just wasn't feasible. I got to know Mars Bar a little better though. He is certainly a delight."

Lauren sighed and lifted her knees so that the bag of food tumbled into her lap. She was glad the containers had lids on them.

"Do you remember last night?" Camila pressed, settling into a chair by the bed.

Lauren pried the top off the sweet potato fries and visibly brightened. Camila suppressed a smile.

"Memory problems, remember?" Lauren said absently.

"I think you remember. Your cheeks are pink."

Lauren shook her head and chewed her food, too hungry to be embarrassed at the moment. She took the top off the boiled peanuts with fries still in her mouth and her eyes lit up.

"Have they fed you?" Camila wondered.

"Naw, iz shid."

Camila carefully tossed a wad of napkins into the fray. "Swearing is unbecoming, goofy feet."

Lauren's eyes flashed up at her. "The food here is shit, Camila Cabello. If you call me that again I'll wrap man 'o war tentacles around your legs while you sleep."

Camila gasped. Her hand dropped immediately to the red marks on her thigh.

Lauren grinned and messily opened more boiled peanuts. She had the juice all over her hands so she used her shoulder to push her hair back when it fell in her face. Camila leaned forward and tucked it behind her ear, even though she'd just been threatened.

Surely Lauren couldn't actually catch any jellyfish to drape over her in her slumber, right?

She sat quietly while Lauren ate, proud of herself for not asking about the accident or wreck or whatever it was that had stuck Lauren here and caused those scars.

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