Miranda staggered back a step or two when Drew pushed her away from him. She caught herself on the frame of the doorway into Vin’s hospital room. He looked so angry. Could she have read him wrong?
“Don’t ever kiss me again.” He glared daggers at her. For several of the most uncomfortable moments in her memory they remained locked in a staring war. Then he spun on his heel and stalked down the hard, linoleum floor, each step a hollow echo of the pain in her heart.
For a few minutes there, while Drew consoled her, Miranda could convince herself everything would work out. Even feeling as if the shooter had put a hole in her chest instead of Vin’s, she had thought it would all work out exactly the way she had planned. Vin would not die. Drew would love her. They would all live happily ever after.
With Vin looking more than half dead already and Drew turning the corner, taking himself away from her as fast as he could go, Miranda’s world crumbled. She reached toward the too-still-form on the bed. Vin couldn’t make her feel better. If he knew she’d kissed Drew he wouldn’t console her anyway.
Something Vin had said popped into her head. “Who’s the daddy, Miranda? Because you can’t have the daddy.”
He had been talking about the little family she created in Suzie’s house. If Drew was the daddy and Suzie was the mommy, then what were she and Vin?
She felt like a daughter who had done something so awful that her father couldn’t come up with a punishment befitting the crime. Kissing Drew didn’t make her feel wonderful, the way she had expected. It made her feel wrong, which itself was wrong. It wasn’t like she had betrayed anyone. And no matter what Vin said, Drew was not her daddy.
Miranda wanted to say as much. She turned toward his bed, looking through the doorway at an angle, and stopped.
It hit her like falling down the last three steps of a staircase. He could die. No more best friend. No more good times. He could die.
Tears snaked out of her eyes, leaking onto her red leather vest. Where was Suzie? Miranda desperately needed someone to hold on to, someone to convince her it couldn’t be happening. Usually Suzie would be right there with all the comforting Miranda could handle, but the last time Miranda saw her was right before each of them went in to visit Vin. Why wasn’t Suzie waiting in the hall?
Only a nurse or two wandered by. Miranda has the sensation of repressed desperation and muted activity is if people were dropping dead right and left but no one wanted to run while trying to save them.
Would no one do anything about him? Shouldn’t they be monitoring his monitors? Taking his temperature? Couldn’t they do something, anything, to make him better?
Unable to stay out in the hall alone, nor to leave Vin in his room by himself, she returned to the chair pulled up next to his bed. He moved his head a little, only enough to convince her she wasn’t imagining it. Her heart surged wildly. He was alive! He might stay that way. She was so grateful she could kiss him.
Glancing over her shoulder guiltily, she checked that no one was round. He would never know. No one else would ever know. Only Miranda would, and she could keep it to herself until hell froze over.
Cautiously, she leaned forward. His lips were softly parted. She imagined what it would be like to kiss him for real, perhaps when he was sleeping, then pushed the thought from her mind.
Why did they ALL seem to think she should take Vin’s overtures seriously? Even Suzie thought she should date him, though she never came out and said it.
Her and Vin in love? The very thought gave her cold chills. Not that he wasn’t attractive. He was too attractive. If she ever fooled around with him she would lose herself to him. She already relied on Vin more than she should. If they were lovers she would be clingy and jealous. She would need him too much. Couldn’t anyone besides her see how important it was to remain just friends?
She settled back in her seat. She shouldn’t even consider kissing Vin. Except no one would know. It wouldn’t be a real kiss. With him laying there unresponsive he could hardly be any better than Drew, who had clammed up and pushed her away. It wouldn’t mean she was making any kind of commitment.
So no one needed to know she’d always wondered what kissing him would feel like. It could even be taken as a kind of good-bye kiss, though she hoped to God she would never have to say good bye to Vin. The point was if she didn’t kiss him now, she might never have the chance again.
That settled it. She stood up, then carefully maneuvered around to line up their lips without her touching anything that might hurt him, be it IV drip or bandaged chest. Softly, she placed her lips against his.
A fraction of a second later, having touched as lightly as a butterfly, she was on the verge of skittering away when his lips softened. It felt good. Better than kissing Drew. She shouldn’t indulge. She’d already done too much. But she’d never get to do it again, and he felt so good.
It wasn’t a deep kiss. Never that. But she did linger a moment or two. Long enough that when she pulled away she couldn’t be sure no one had seen them.
She settled into the chair, and took his hand with every intention of sitting there as long as they would let her. If she could she would make him better with willpower alone.
“Don’t leave me, Marvin. I don’t want to live without you.”
Vin smiled. “Miranda,” he whispered.
This is Suzie’s House 15: Resusitation