“You okay in there?” Arnold called to Diana.
“Yea, just scratched myself on a butter knife of all things,” Diana called back to Arnold.
“Aw, babe…” “No, it’s okay. I’m just going to wash it out,” Diana said as she closed the drawer with her hip and headed toward the bathroom, “and even that is giving it too much attention.” Arnold watched Diana as she walked by him with a smile. Even though she seemed happy, lines of tension could be seen budding from her eyes and mouth. She was holding her finger tightly in her other hand, but somehow managed to wave her elbow at him. Arnold decided to cut his girlfriend some slack, instead of teasing her for her lack of coordination. Diana partially closed the bathroom door behind her and turned on the faucet with her elbows, then shuffled over to the garbage. She pushed around the tissues, cotton swabs, and wrappers of all varieties (she never understood her boyfriend’s readiness to have ingest candy while going to the bathroom) that filled the basket and brushed the hair from her hands into the bottom. When most of it was off of her hands, Diana rearranged the garbage to hide her deposit. She quickly washed her hands with the warm water, shut the faucet, dried her hands on her fluffy town Arnold had given her, and returned to the couch.
“Make some room,” she said to Arnold as she poked him repeatedly in the arm. Diana fully smiled at Arnold, who recognized a difference in Diana since her trip to the bathroom.
“Never,” he laughed as he scooped her into his arms!
Diana finally settled in between Arnold and the wall of pillows to her left and watched as their hockey team kicked ass. By the time the game was over neither Arnold nor Diana had much of a voice, and neither would have been able to eat another bite even if there had been snacks left over. Diana went to stand up, “no, no,” Arnold said, “I got this. I’ll bring everything in the kitchen, and you get ready for a shower.”
She shook her head smiling, and watched as Arnold began collecting everything. Finally, Diana lifted herself off the warm, cozy couch and made her way toward her bedroom. Arnold was glad to see Diana confidently walking around her home again, instead of the nervous wreck she had been earlier. He heard her turn on the lights as she went to get his towel from her room. When Arnold wasn’t over, Diana would fold up his towel and put it in his cubby she had given to him around Christmas time. In return, Arnold had given her a drawer at his home. It wasn’t a lot, but Arnold liked the fact that they had permanent spots in the other’s home. It made him feel closer to having the family he so badly wanted to start with Diana.
“Ahhehehe” Arnold heard Diana half scream, half giggle from the other room. “Babe! I love him!”
“What’re you talking about,” Arnold asked with a grin.
Diana came flying around the corner and darted into the kitchen holding a plushy, stuffed pig against her chest. She wrapped her arms around Arnold and squeezed him tightly.
“Just as a feel better gift” Arnold whispered into her hair as he kissed the top of her head, “Love you!”
“I love you, too!”
Diana woke up to a melodic sound coming from her phone. She reached over for her phone and shut her alarm off. She blinked a few times to adjust her eyes to the light coming off her lock screen. A notification that read “Anne Hwang” in bold letters with “Call me on your…” in smaller letters underneath her friend’s name was there across the screen. Diana noticed several icons in an invisible bar that ran across the top of the screen notifying her to unread emails, games, and social media crap. Diana unlocked her screen and opened the message from Anne, “Call me on your way into work. It’s important,” the rest of the message read. Diana typed back, “calling out sick today. Call you when I’m actually up.” After she hit send, Diana went to her alarm settings and shut the remaining four off. As she was about to return her phone to the nightstand, it vibrated in her hand. Diana opened up the message from Anne, “Are you really sick? Do you want me to bring you something after work?” Before Diana could answer, Anne texted her again, “Wait. You’re probably sleeping. Okay. Call me when you’re awake.” Diana smiled to herself, Anne was a great friend. She was a tall, curvy Asian-German woman. Her shoulder length black hair was usually kept in a ponytail or down, with her bands swept across her forehead. One day, Diana thought, we’re going to find her a nice guy. If history was any indicator, Diana was sure that Anne had a date-related story to share. Diana shot a quick email to her boss saying that she wouldn’t be able to come to work today. Everyone had heard about her fainting spell from the other day, which made it easier to call out last minute. Diana returned her phone to her nightstand and rolled over to snuggle into Arnold who embraced her in his sleep.
“Uhh,” Arnold groaned out.
“Shut it off,” Diana grumbled as she rolled the other way.
“You’re still in bed?”
“I won’t be for long if you don’t shut that off,” Diana hated the aggressive “RAAA, RAAA, RAAA” of Arnold’s alarm. Her’s a least had a musical sound.
“Okay, okay” Arnold rolled over, and reached back to grab his phone.
“Finally,” Diana breathed out.
“Good morning grumbly” Arnold said to Diana as he spooned her into his arms.
“It’s almost the afternoon” she pointed out, as she looked at his phone.
“True,” Arnold said as he tossed his phone away from them on the bed. “Fifteen more minutes of rest, and then we’ll hit the ground running?”
Diana’s only response was to snuggle deeper into Arnold’s arms.
“First things first, baby wants some brunch” Diana said only a few minutes later.
“You know it’s only been five or so minutes, right?”
“Yes, I do. And, I don’t care”
“Okay. Brunch it is…”
Arnold grumbled out of bed and headed toward the bathroom. Diana grabbed her phone and texted Anne, “Call me when you can.” She knew if it was really important Anne would be calling her in the next few minutes, which was fine since Arnold was in the bathroom and would be for the next fifteen. “Hey babe,” Arnold called to her from the bathroom. “Yes?”
“Why don’t we go out for brunch? Then maybe take a bike ride through that park you like? It’s supposed to be a nice day.” Before Diana had a chance to answer the question, her phone started vibrating, “Hold on. It’s Anne.”
“Good morning,” Diana said in to the phone and she stretched across her bed.
“Morning? It’s afternoon. Are you okay?” Anne quickly replied.
“Yea, just had a rough yesterday.” “I meant since you clearly just woke up,” Anne giggled at herself, “Are you still fainting? Are you going to the doctor?” Anne asked concerned.
“No, but I have Dr. Arnold here to take care of me,” Diana said with a smile. “I’m not sure if I’m more shocked that he took the day off, or confused as to greater implication of what you just said.” Diana chuckled.
“Listen, I can’t stay in the bathroom all day, but I don’t want to take up your Arnold time. I’ll call you after work, okay?”
“You’re not taking up anyone’s time, but you just got in the bathroom,” Diana said as she glanced at the time, they had only been on the phone for a minute and forty seconds.
“Kim’s been keeping track of how much time I spend away from my desk. I’d really like to save some time in case I have to pee later.”
“She’s still doing that? Didn’t HR talk to her?” “It’s ‘on the agenda’ as they keep telling me,” Anne sighed as she spoke.
“That’s bullshit. Anyway, call me when you get out of work. Is everything okay?”
“Oh yeah, I had the strangest encounter at the grocery store last night. I figured I’d see if you wanted to do lunch today so I could update you.”
“Sounds… exciting. Call me after work.”
“Great. Bye,” Anne said as the line clicked off. Diana was still stretching around when she felt something tug her foot. Instinctively Diana shot her foot up and screamed. Her foot jammed against something, and what sounded like a bear roared. It took Diana a moment to realize that the bear she heard was actually Arnold.
“ARE YOU OKAY?” Diana said while suppressing a laugh.
“Fucking great,” Arnold was holding the bottom half of his face.
“I’m so sorry. What can I do?”
“I said I was sorry. I didn’t see you.”
Arnold hadn’t responded. Diana headed to the kitchen to get some frozen vegetables and some paper towels. “Here,” Diana said as she extended her hand toward her boyfriend. Arnold shoved the makeshift ice pack back into Diana’s arm and shied away from her embrace. “Just go away for a minute,” Arnold bitingly said. After looking at Diana he added a harsh, “please.”
Diana threw the bag of frozen asparagus at Arnold and stormed off to the kitchen where on the back of her chair hung her most comfortable bra. She hooked herself in, grabbed her sweatshirt from the couch, and went to the bathroom. After a thorough brush of her teeth Diana applied some deodorant and pulled her sweatshirt over her head. Without saying a word to Arnold, she grabbed a pair of shorts from her drawer and threw them on. She had remembered it was supposed to be a nice day after she had put her sweatshirt on and would rather sweat then spend another minute home. What a waste of a day off, Diana thought to herself.
Arnold saw Diana getting ready without him, but the pain from his jaw made it hard to call out to stop her. He knew he had been hard on her, but she kicked him in the fucking jaw. She’d been so out of it and jumpy lately, something had to be wrong with her. Arnold heard the door close as loudly as Diana could make it. Maybe she didn’t love him anymore. It was a stupid thought process and he knew it. He had heard her on the phone with Anne before; maybe the three of them could go out later. This way he’d have a chance to talk to her. There had to be something making his girlfriend so unlike herself. Arnold got up off the bed and went toward the bathroom. There was dried blood on his lips and a large red spot from the ice pack Diana had made him across his face. Somehow she had split his lip. Underneath there was a clear marking where Diana’s foot had made contact with Arnold’s face. It would figure that she had to hit him with the strongest part of her body. Arnold splashed some warm water on his face and re-examined the damage. It would bruise, but nothing a five o’clock shadow couldn’t conceal. Arnold tried to brush his teeth, but it hurt and every time he tried his lip reopened. He pulled back Diana’s sky blue and patterned shower curtain, and took the hottest shower possible. As he reached for the bar of soap, he noticed a short, almost black curled hair under the bar; which was odd since it had been a while since Arnold had showered at Diana’s. Although, with her not being herself the past few days, she hadn’t been as meticulous about cleaning. Besides, it had to have been from him. Diana was the least hairy person she knew, whereas his friend’s frequently made fun of his full “sweater” of chest and arm hair. Arnold finished up his shower only to realize he had forgotten his towel. He knew how much Diana hated water on the floors, but he was already in deep shit with Diana – he might as well be in wrapped in a cozy towel. When Arnold got to Diana’s room he went to his cubby only to find that his towel wasn’t there either. Arnold figured it was at the bottom of the hamper and headed back to the bathroom to use her’s instead.
Arnold had dried off and was getting dressed in Diana’s room when he heard the door open. He looked at his cell phone; Diana had been gone for a little over an hour. Arnold grabbed his shirt and headed toward the front door.
“Let me help,” he said to Diana, whose arm were chalk full of grocery bags.
“Just move. I got it,” Diana said flatly.
Arnold backed off. He had just wanted to help her. Instead of waiting for more bitchiness, he went to the couch and turned on the television.
“Some of us have sensitive ears, so you can lower that now,” Diana snipped.
Without anything more than a chuckle Arnold lowered the volume of the sports show.
“Thanks,” his girlfriend replied as she aggressively shoved items into the cupboard.
“I’m ready to go… just so you know.”
“And do I look ready to go?” Diana stood in the kitchen hair disheveled, eyes puffy, with anger radiating off her. She had no interest to finish speaking to Arnold let alone going anywhere with him. She knew something was wrong. Someone had been in her home without her knowledge, and no one seemed to care. She hadn’t meant to kick Arnold, but she had been so jittery lately, and instead of being remotely sympathetic he jumped all over her like a raging douche bag. “Feel free to answer whenever it’s convenient for you.”
Arnold stood and came into the kitchen, “I know you didn’t mean to kick me,” he said as he pulled Diana closer. “I shouldn’t have been so snappy before, I was just hurt and startled.” He could feel Diana’s body relaxing to his embrace. “This isn’t any way to spend your day off. Why don’t you go get ready, and I’ll put the rest of this crap away, okay?”
Diana stood wrapped in Arnold’s arms for a moment, “okay, I guess.” She gave him a squeeze, detangled herself, and started walking to her bedroom.
“Really? Are you fucking kidding me?”
“What now,” Arnold grumbled.
“There’s water all over the floor. I can’t help you. First you’re a douche and then you’re a wet douche who leaves a water trail?”
“Diana, go get ready. I’ll clean it up and then I’ll finish putting everything away. Okay?”
Diana took a sharp breath in, “fine.”
“It’ll be fine babe. Just relax.”
Diana rolled her eyes and side stepped the puddles of water as she continued to her bedroom. It was insane to her that someone so wonderful could also be such an idiot sometimes. Diana had spent a fortune and the better part of her lifetime reserve of patience getting her hardwood floors redone. Anyone with ears and a sliver of a brain within a 10 mile radius of her work knew that she had had a bitch of a time getting them installed properly. Diana meticulously went through her drawers picking out something to wear. It doesn’t matter, Diana thought to herself, Arnold will clean up the water, and we will still have a nice day. Fifteen minutes later Diana emerged from her bedroom wearing her favorite teal shorts and a ruffled sheer blue tank top. She had her silvery cardigan in her arms in case they went anywhere with the air conditioning turned too high. She noticed that most of the water had been cleaned up save for a few footprints leading into the living room. Diana was thankful that Arnold had gotten most of it off the floor. She could do a touch up later that night, or maybe tomorrow after work when Arnold would be back at his place.
“Arnold,” Diana called out, “where are you?”
Diana was sure that someone as large as Arnold would never be able to hide in her condo. She walked over to the key rack to see if Arnold’s keys were there. As she was looking, Diana heard the door handle jiggle. The door was unlocked, but the knob hadn’t turned. Diana tried to steady her breathing. The door jiggled again, but this time the knob began to twist. Against her will, Diana started to lose her strength and felt that familiar feeling she had been experiencing over the past couple of days. This time, as her sight started giving to the large dots in front of her face she saw Arnold coming walking through the door. Immediately she felt his large hands on her shoulder and back leading her to the couch. She kept hearing him say, “it’s okay baby. I’m here,” over and over again before everything feel silent.
Arnold screwed up. Even if she meant to kick him Diana had been so out of it the past few days he shouldn’t have said anything. He contemplated taking her to the doctor when her eyes began to flutter, “oh thank God,” he murmured.
“Arnold?” Diana’s voice came out so small.
“I’m here. Don’t worry,” he said as he held her close to him.