Sunlight seeped in through the curtains like spilled tea through a cheap tablecloth. I covered my eyes and cursed the blanket for being too thin. I could count my fingers through them. I had five. Maybe it was cheating, since I knew that coming in.
Anyway, that meant it was cold, sun or not. There was another blanket at my feet, but I was too comfortable even to nudge it upwards with my feet. I could hear someone moving around downstairs, dishes and water mingling loudly in the kitchen. I'd missed breakfast.
I sat up and pouted at my bare feet, preparing for a good private sulk. Then I remembered where I was and my mouth twisted into something strange. Smiles were still weird. I liked them, but
well, chocolate peppermint ice cream was weird, but I liked that too. Smiles were sort of like that.
It wasn't a thin blanket, it was a sheet. The blanket at my feet was a thick comforter, so fantastically warm that I was relaxed and drowsy only a few moments after I'd pulled it up to my chin. There were three pillows on the bed, and they were all for me.
"Dice! Are you awake yet?"
"No," I called, recognizing the contradiction and not caring. My body felt fuzzy on the inside, like I was turning into a giant carnival bear.
The kind filled with real stuffing, not that crunchy styrofoam. It would be better to get up and go downstairs. I hadn't missed breakfast, they'd hold it for me.
A few moments later, the door opened and Van stuck in his somewhat unwelcome head. It looked wet, like he'd had a shower. "Hurry up, Ricecake, or you'll have to reheat your breakfast."
I considered throwing a pillow at him, but I wanted to keep them all. Instead, I flopped back on the bed and gave him what he always called "that dang smarmy grin". After all, I didn't even know what breakfast was yet. Maybe a trip through the microwave would be okay.
For a second I thought he would just shake his head and leave. He did shake his head, but then he pushed the door open the rest of the way and walked in to sit on the other bed. "Having fun so far?"
That was all he was gonna get from me. Van had been a pill for the past two days, especially to Roman. Now that we were here, I didn't know if he was going to lighten up or get even worse. He pulled his legs up to his chest and balanced on the edge of the bed. Somehow. "Look, I'm sorry I yelled at you. I just didn't want to
I glared. "You didn't want to come."
"Let me finish! I didn't want to leave."
"Yeah, right." I snorted and buried myself deeper into the pillow mountain. "It's only for a few days, and it has to be just us." Usually that meant the five of us, but this time it meant me, Van, and Roman. All of our 'other halves' had to stay behind. It was hard on Roman and me too, but of course Van was complaining the loudest.
Still, there were good things, and I was determined to enjoy them. Roman's dad had gotten us a timeshare sort of house thing, maybe because Roman had actually found a way to explain how important this was. Mostly important to him, but it still mattered to us. Emily could have come, but Lyra couldn't, her mom was sick.
I yawned and started to get up for good. "I'm not mad."
"Good. Roman is
He threw me out of the kitchen."
I couldn't help it, I laughed. Nearly pointed, too. "He what?"
"Threw me out. Said if I was going to be a stereotypical girl, I might as well go get a dress on and do it properly." He made a face, coming close to tipping himself off the bed. "Never mind, we're going back tomorrow."
The image of Van in a dress came way too easily. I shook my head to clear it. "You'll be glad we came. This is a good thing."
He flopped back, nearly tumbling over the other side of the bed. I bit my lip so I wouldn't laugh at him again. "I know. Roman keeps saying so."
"And you hate it when he's right."
"You bet your boots."
Before I could explain that I wasn't even capable of gambling my socks at the moment, Van shot upright. He still looked wet, but a shower seemed less likely for some reason. I wondered if he'd run around in an early morning rain and then forgotten he had. "What's for breakfast?" I wiggled my toes.
"Eggs and something with sausage that I think Roman made up."
Roman wasn't a legendary chef, not like Lyra, but I trusted him to make up nice food. "Okay."
Too much cheerfulness always put Van's teeth on edge, so I whistled and came thiiis close to skipping as I made my way into the kitchen. Half-demon stuff was usually hard with zero benefits, but I was getting eggs and sausage inventions. Benefit.
I could hear Van padding sullenly behind me as I bounded into the kitchen. He could go hang. I was having fun now. I hopped onto the counter and caught Roman shrugging out of a lacy apron. "Where'd that come from?"
"The lace monster that's trying to eat you."
Van sat on the counter closer to the stove and snatched a bit of scrambled egg out of the frying pan. "Found it in the closet." He chewed on his finger, probably just because it was disgusting. "Thought it was fitting." Or maybe he'd burned himself and wouldn't say so.
I got up to get some eggs. Everything smelled good. I hummed a song I only knew part of as I looked over the spices. There was some Tabasco sauce for Van, grated carrots for me, and sliced tomatoes for all of us.
The plates came with the timeshare, they had little blue flowers on them. I sat at the table and mixed my food together. "Hey Van, look. You're on the plate design."
He tossed a pickle at me, but I caught it. Haha, got a pickle. I took a bite and watched Roman attacking the dishes. He had a green sponge that looked brand new, but the way he was going, it was going to have pieces hacked off soon. Van must have really annoyed him.
I rolled my eyes at both of them and relaxed in the chair with my food. Let them worry and be big babies. I had breakfast to occupy my attention.