I hauled in the last of the grocery bags by myself. The forecast predicted almost a meter of snow, and I decided it was best to go out rather than chance it. The shopping had taken at least an hour and a half and bringing them inside felt longer, but the possibility of being stuck in my own cabin was too much to risk. A snow-in with my best friend didn’t seem like a problem, especially with our generator and if it came to it, the gas stove and lanterns stored in the other room would suffice for the week.
“Mila?” I set down the last bag in the kitchen and hurried to close the door, not wanting the cold air to seep in any longer. “Mila?” I tip-toed into the living room and found the girl buried in at least three blankets. She smiled up at me and I forgot about the numbness nipping at my fingers. Her beauty surpassed anyone that I had seen before and I could never understand why she even associated with me.
“Iris?” She turned around, her large brown eyes catching mine. I could feel myself grinning without a reason. Just being near the girl made me happier than anyone else in the world even though she was sick and refusing to rest. Her sniffles only aggravated me because I couldn’t stop them. Her voice was hoarse if she raised it above a whisper and she looked miserable, but she still wanted to spend the holidays with me and I had a problem with saying no to her.
“Try not to speak, Mila. Your voice is still recovering.” I reminded, slipping onto the couch next to her. Mila glanced at me through narrow eyes but nodded still sitting under her mountain of blankets and offering a smile every few minutes when she would catch me glancing at her.
A hand emerged from the blankets to take her hair out of her high ponytail. Her dark brown hair crashed onto her shoulders and the couch. She shook her head, purposefully tickling my nose. I had to spit out hair, which caused Mila to laugh, but she didn’t say anything, taking my no talking advice to heart. She simply rested her head against my shoulder and huffed.
“I have stuff in the kitchen that we should get around to putting away before we forget. I tried to stay away from cold things with the power and all that.” I mumbled the last few words as I stood up. It took Mila a few minutes until she finally stood up and began making her way to the kitchen.
Mila stumbled next to me, racing towards the bags as I watched from a safe few feet away. She reached for several bags and began emptying them. By the time I got next to her, she had already begun sorting some of the cans by content, which wasn’t quite what I was aiming for, but she had the spirit that I wasn’t going to ruin.
“Thank you,” I said quietly. I passed her and moved to the coffee machine instead, rotating out the old instant tea for a new one. Mila had only been drinking green tea since we arrived at the cabin and she was loving it despite making do of the lack of tea bags we had when we arrived. With her lost voice and sore throat, I wasn’t going to deny her of her favorite drink. The fact that I could make it in the coffee machine was a miracle.
“Iris?” I turned to Mila, who was beaming up at me. “Thank you,”
“Of course, Mila. You know how much I love you.” I laughed and looked at her again. She gave me a toothy grin, something I was beginning to miss, and continued sorting. What I didn’t tell her was that I was physically unable to deny her of anything and I would more than likely end up going to the ends of the earth for her, but even with our history, it seemed too strong.
“I’m glad you brought me here,” Mila continued weakly, “I missed hanging out with you.”
“Voice rest, Mila.” I hummed, kneeling down next to her. She leaned on me and huffed again while side-eyeing me. After collecting herself, she began putting food away and overlooking my existence again.
“So you’re just going to ignore me?” Mila finally asked, turning to me with a raised eyebrow.
“You know how small this cabin is. That’s impossible.” I laughed but Mila didn’t share the sentiment. “I just want you to get better sooner, and that means no talking.”
“It’s going to be the death of me!” She groaned and sat back down on the floor, flaring the blanket that was draped over her, causing it to ripple before it hit the floor. “I’m gonna sit right here until you talk to me again.”
“If you’re going to spend the day in one spot, I’d prefer if it wasn’t on the hard floor.” I let my eyes roll as I picked up the small girl and all her blankets. I carefully carried her into the guest bedroom and set her on the bed. “I’ll come back in later and get you more tea. Right now, you need to rest.”
“Leave the door cracked in case I choke or something?” Mila rolled onto her stomach and pressed her face into the pillow. As much as I wanted to just lay next to her, I knew that would prompt her to speak endlessly and not sleep like I had been begging her to do for days. With Mila so close to being better I wanted to both care for her and let her lay on me while she complained about being sick
“Goodnight, in case you’re asleep when I come back.” I smiled at the reply Mila uttered under her breath and left the room, making sure the door was left cracked open in case she needed anything.