Dawn slipped around the edges of the hospital blinds and beamed on the back of Jeff’s head.
Jeff was already awake. He stood beside Missy’s bed and watched her every breath.
What if she stops breathing?
What if she slips back into unconsciousness?
His phone rang.
He answered it. “Hey. Is this Hildreth Mayhew?”
“I don’t know. It all depends on whether or not I am speaking to Jeff Farsigh.”
“You could be. If you deposit forty-nine cents, I might give you an answer.”
“Forty-nine cents? Psh! Cheapskate. You gotta aim higher than that. Make it at least fifty-cents.”
“What? A whole penny more?”
“It’s a very important penny.”
Jeff laughed. “You are such a dweeb.”
“And proud of it. Whoo!”
“What are you doing calling me this early?” He frowned at the sound of running water on the other end of the line. “Wait. Are you taking a shower?”
“Absolutely! Gotta smell all nice and pretty for my Marauder.”
“Darn! What did I tell you about calling me when you’re naked?”
Hildreth laughed out loud. “Who said I was naked? Although…Woooo! There goes my shirt. Bye, shirt. Anyway! I am calling because mmm mmm mm and the birds will sing. I’ll be hers and mmm mmm mm. Today’s the day I say—”
Jeff jolted. “Wait. Today’s Sunday, isn’t it?”
“Until it hits midnight again.”
“Ahh! I need to get home and change.” Jeff thought about all of those boxes and subboxes and quietly freaked out inside his head.
“Whoooo! There go my slacks. Ker-pow! Right on the floor’s face! Take that! Haaaa!”
“Okay. I’m going to hang up now before you really do get naked. You know, the last thing I want to do is talk to you when you don’t even have a stitch of clothes on.”
“Aw. But I look great naked.”
Jeff chuckled. “I’m sure you do, but I still don’t want to visualize it. I gotta go. I’ll see you there.”
“Are you gonna do it?”
‘Bring your Tsunachu?”
Jeff smiled. “Absolutely. Even if I’m the only one who brings my weapon, it will be awesome.”
“Right on, bro. I’d fist bump you right now, but ehh. Phone.”
Jeff laughed. “Such a dweeb. I’ll give the other guys a reminder call.”
“Boom! There goes my underwear.”
“Okay. Now, I’m really going to hang up. Bye.” He ended the call and speed-dialed Darius’ number.
The phone rang and rang and Darius answered it on the fifth ring. “uuuuooooh?”
“Hey, Dar. It’s me. Jeff.”
“Look, I know you don’t do early mornings, but we need to get ready for—-”
“Whaaa? Wai…Jeff? Ngh. Oh. Oh. Ohhhh! This about Hildreth’s wedding?”
“Oh, I need to—” There was a ruffled sound like a blanket being shoved out of the way. “—yeah. I’ll be there.”
“You are bringing your DevilsDare?”
“Of course! That is still the plan, right? You’re bringing Tsunachu and Hildreth’s bringing his Bossman?”
Jeff imagined the sight of them lined up by the altar rail with their weapons. He imagined Elsie’s reaction.
She’ll be furious with us. Or maybe she won’t. Maybe she’ll see just Hildreth and nothing else will matter.
“Yeah.” Jeff said. “That’s the plan. Nothing’s changed.”
“Good! I’m looking forward to it. We have to get there by 10:00?”
“So, why you waking me up this God-forsaken early?”
“To make sure you’re ready on time.”
Darius scoffed. “It doesn’t take me HOURS to get dressed.”
“I know.” Jeff smirked. “It takes you hours to wake up.”
“Oh, that’s a low blow, man. I’ll have to punch you later. Please remind me.”
Jeff laughed. “Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t.”
“You spoken to the other guys yet?”
“Don’t worry. I’ll take care of it. You get yourself dressed and ready to go. We’ll meet you there at the church.”
Jeff imagined Elsie in a wedding dress and Hildreth in a tuxedo. He couldn’t help smiling. “I’ll be there.”