Paint Strokes

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Grace tried to ignore how her gut felt like a million swarming bees had set up residence, finding it distinctly unfair that everyone else got butterflies and instead she got pests. It wasn't that she was unused to her best friend Nate climbing in through her window, it was the fact that he was acting different today than she'd seen him ever be. It threw her off and Grace was not one of those people who reacted well to change. She liked things as they were and figured it was safer to stick with the devil you knew than the one you didn't. Mostly because the last time Nathaniel Spade Vega had changed, he'd moved away from his parent's house to go to college and that had almost ended their life long friendship. There might have been some foolhardy actions on her own part mixed in to that as well, but Grace wasn't one for hanging on to the bad memories. Just the ones that were good life lessons. Like never flushing the coke of a drug dealer who has you locked in a room while you're drunk...

Her internal fret fest was cut short when Nate popped his head up over the window sill and he slid himself into her room smoothly. At least this time he had all his own clothes on and a bag with him to boot. It wasn’t often that Nate packed an overnight bag to crash in Grace’s room, he normally just slept in his boxers. In fact, the last time he’s brought pajamas with him, he’d still been a virgin. It made Grace wonder just how bleak his mental landscape was lately.

“I’ll go get the hot chocolate, you get comfortable.” Grace said and stood up. She made it two hobbling pain filled steps before Nate unceremoniously threw her over his shoulder and set her back on the bed.

“Idiot.” He muttered at her, a smile flashing across his face briefly. “If I send you for hot chocolate with a gimpy leg you’ll come back with burn scars and a broken ankle. Why don’t I get the hot chocolate, you get this place ready for a pow ow?” His tone made it a suggestion because Nate had long ago learned not to order Grace around. She knew she was stubborn and it was through the grace of god that her best friend happened to be laid back. Or else neither one of them would have survived puberty.

“I hate this.” Grace growled out anyways, detesting feeling like an invalid. Considering how often she was injured, she should have gotten used to it by now but it still rankled her pride.

“You hate having a hot man-slave waiting eagerly to dote on you? Gee, you’re so hard done to Graceless…” Nate mocked with a quirky grin and headed out before she could throw something at him. At least he was smiling again, but Grace had the feeling that he wasn’t as cheery as he was pretending to be.

But since the entire point of this little get together tonight was to get to the bottom of Nate’s unusually somber behavior lately, Grace simply focused on getting her room ready for the pow ow. It wasn’t as ritualistic as it sounded, instead she simply set the bed up so they could both sleep in it, and pulled out the floor cushion so they could lounge on the ground in comfort while they got to the heart of the issue. And Grace felt monumentally girly as she pulled out a box of candies for them to munch on for however long they were awake. Despite the fact that Nate had to work the next day, she knew he’d stay awake long past the time she passed out. Sadly because she was having trouble maneuvering with her swollen and very tender ankle, Nate made it back upstairs only a few short moments after Grace tripped over herself and landed in a sprawl. He walked in to see her pretty much spread eagle with half a bag of skittles  scattered all over herself like cheap jewelry.

“Well if you insist…” Nate said with a shrug and set the mugs of steaming hot chocolate down. Grace gaped at him and then started to try and smother her laughter as he bent over  and in quick succession sucked each skittle up off of her without using his hands. He managed not to slobber on her either which she greatly appreciated because that would have just been gross. “That actually hurt…” Nate groaned as he righted himself up, chewing on the mouthful of skittles. It was only long time association that let Grace understand him around a mouthful of candy, it sounded more like ‘Haf turry gurt.’ His hand gingerly held his bashed nose and Grace felt her laughter ease off as the guilt returned.

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