“Hi stranger,” A voice calls behind me as I shop in the grocery store. My mind had gone blank as I tried to decide between Lucky Charms, which for some reason I had a real hankering for, or my go-to breakfast— granola.
I turn quickly looking over my shoulder and smile when I see Jake stood behind me.
“Hi,” I beam as I haphazardly place the boxes back on the wrong shelves.
“What are you doing here? You live on the other side of the city, don’t you? Or have you moved?”
“No I just fancied a change of scenery,” he smiles as his arms wrap around me and I return the hug.
“Yeah I’m good,” he replies as he cautiously kisses my cheek.
“You?” He asks as he leans back and stands behind his cart.
“I’m good— really good,” I smile as I brush my hair out of my face. His eyes widen when he sees the glittering gem on my finger.
I quickly push my hand down beside me, but breathe in deeply and smile softly, “I’m engaged, Oliver proposed,” I tell him, his lips curling into a smile, but his eyes saying something completely different.
“Oh— well, congratulations I guess,” he says, his eyes falling to the floor momentarily before looking back up at me.
“Very,” I tell him, clearing my throat, “What about you? Seeing anyone?”
He hesitates for just a second but then shakes his head, “No— no one since yo—,” he stops himself and gazes towards the rows of cereal beside us, “So how’s Oliver? How’s the wonderful world of publishing?” I know he’s just trying to make polite conversation, his way of avoiding any more talks of engagements or relationships in general.
“It’s good as far as I know, he’s not long been back from a convention. He managed to bag another author to add to his ever-growing list,” I smile, always proud of the man I love.
“That’s great,” he smiles again, knowing too full well that the conversation is quickly running out of steam.
“I’m sorry,” we both say simultaneously, laughing it off as we both think just how ridiculous this is.
“Fancy getting some lunch?”
“That sounds— perfect,” I tell him, not wanting to tell him that at the moment anything I eat seems to still want to come back up again.
Both of us continue on with our shopping and agree to meet at a little café around the corner from Oliver and I’s apartment. That way I can get home and get the groceries put away without anything defrosting.
As we take a seat inside nearly 40 minutes later, I browse the menu, wondering what I can get away with. Luckily for me, they do a plain chicken sandwich with mayo and that seems the only sensible option.
As we wait for our food to be prepared, soft music plays around us.
“No—, no coffee for me, I’m uh—, trying to cut back,” I lie.
“So what do you drink now?”
“Peppermint tea,” I tell him, smiling as I sip on one of the very few things that still helps with nausea, although it seems to be dulling.
As he takes another sip of his coffee, he leans back against the old leather couch inside the café and watches me carefully, “So you’re happy? I mean really happy,”
“I am Jake,” I say, smiling as I sip on my tea.
“Good, I’m glad, Oliver seems to be good for you, I mean you look like you’re glowing,”
God knows what he sees because as far as I’m aware, I look as though I’ve been hit by a truck, permanently frazzled, my hair shedding quicker than it’s growing, “Thanks,”
“Getting married must agree with you,”
“Here’s hoping,” I smile again, taking another sip.
We spend the best part of the afternoon catching up. Jake telling me all about a big case he’s working on, and how much of a dick his co-worker is. One of the types that will say or do anything to work his way up the corporate ladder.
As I nibble on my sandwich, with my stomach growling and then deciding that even the smell is nauseating, I give up and place it back on the table.
“You ok? You not hungry?”
“No, not really,” I smile softly, an ache cramping in my stomach, most likely because I’m back to not eating again. He looks different, muscular, his hair longer and his beard growing out, he even has enough hair to tie it up into a small bun. New tattoos adorn his other arm, evening out the ink on both sides of his body.
“Are these new?” I ask as I trail my fingertips up his arm, forgetting where I am or who I’m with. Jake doesn’t even flinch as his eyes drop to my hand, “Sorry,” I flush as I snatch it away.
“It’s ok,” he chuckles as he brings his eyes back to me, “But yeah— they’re new,”
“I like them. They suit you Jake,”
“Thanks, they’re addictive and that’s the problem, you never really know when to stop,”
“Does it hurt?” I ask as I look to something creeping just above the collar. I can’t help myself as I reach and pull at the neck of his t-shirt, peering inside to see another fresh tattoo etched into his skin.
“That’s tickles,” he flinches as his shoulders rise.
“Don’t be such a baby, let me see,” I giggle as I try to look again.
“Sunny, seriously,” he laughs as I try to pull at the neck again, but then a sudden and sharp pain stabs, my hand snatching away and grabbing my stomach.
His eyes frown as I grab at my stomach again, “Jake I need—, can you—, can you c-call Oliver for me? I think somethings wrong,”
“Sure,” he nods with another frown, taking my phone as I bend forward, a pain ferociously stabbing in my stomach again. As I begin to stand, my head feels light, my legs unsteady as I fall back onto the couch.
“Sunny— Sunday?” I hear his voice call as he pulls the phone to his ear. I can’t think of anything else as I hear him faintly talk to someone, Oliver I hope as I bite my lip, the pain increasing.
Fisting his shirt, my eyes pooling with tears I look at him, his eyes watching me as I cry, “I think I need to go to the hospital,” I whimper but his eyes fall to my lap and widen as panic washes over him.
"Sunday, you're bleeding?"