Finn crouched down at her feet to pick up her purse and scoop the contests back in. He had a tampon in one hand and Willa’s book—Orgasms For One—in the other. He should’ve looked utterly ridiculous. Instead he looked utterly perfect.
“Pru, can you tell me what’s wrong?”
“I think she’s having a seizure,” Mrs. Winslow said helpfully. “Honey, you look a little bit constipated. I suggest a good fart. That always works for me.”
Pru didn’t know how to tell her she was about to let loose but it wouldn’t be nearly as neat as a fart. By some miracle, she made it inside. She was sweating through her clothes by the time she stumbled along without even taking her keys out of the lock, racing to the bathroom, slamming the door behind her.
She had barely hit her knees before she got sick.
From what felt like a narrow, long tunnel, through the thick fog in her head and her own misery, she heard him.
“Pru,” he said, his voice low with worry.
“I’m coming in,” he said and she couldn’t stop throwing up to tell him to run, to save himself.
Pru felt one of Finn’s hands pull her hair back and hold it for her, the other encircling her, fingers spread wide on her stomach. He was kneeling behind her, his big body supporting hers.
“I’ve got you,” he said.
No one had ever said such a thing to her before and she would have loved to absorb that and maybe obsess over why it meant so much, but her stomach had other ideas. So she closed her eyes and pretended she was alone on a deserted island with her charged Kindle. And maybe Netflix. When she could catch her breath, she brought a shaky hand to her head, which was pounding like the devil himself was in there operating a jackhammer, whittling away at what was left of her brains.
Finn kept her from sliding to the floor by wrapping both arms around her and bringing her gently back, propping her up against him.
“I’m sorry,” she managed, horrified that she’d thrown up in front of the hottest man she’d ever had the privilege of sleeping with by accident.
“Breathe, Pru. It’s going to be okay.”
“Please just leave me here to die,” she croaked out when she could, pulling free. “Just walk out of this room and pretend it never happened. We’ll never speak of it again.”
And then, giving up trying to be strong, she slid bonelessly to the bathroom floor. Her body was hot and she was slick with perspiration. Unable to garner the energy to hold herself up anymore, she pressed her hot cheek to the cool tile and closed her eyes.
She heard water running and squeezed her eyes tight, but that only made her all the dizzier. A deliciously cool, wet washcloth was pressed to her forehead. She cracked an eye and found Finn. “Dammit, you never listen.”
“I always listen,” he said. “I just don’t always agree.”
His hand was rubbing her back in soothing circles and she thought she might never move again if he kept on doing that until the end of time. “Why won’t you go away?”
When he didn’t say anything, she again opened an eye. He was still looking at her with concern but not like she was at death’s door. Except if she wasn’t dying, that meant she was going to have to live with this, with him seeing her flat on the floor looking like roadkill.
“Do you think you can move?” he asked.
“Negative.” She wasn’t moving. Ever. She heard him on his phone, telling someone he needed something liquid with electrolytes in it.
“Not drinking anything either,” she warned him, her stomach turning over at the thought.
He got up and left her, and she was grateful. When he came back in a moment later, she was back to worshipping the porcelain god, trying to catch her breath.
“Any better?” he asked when she was done.
She couldn’t speak. She couldn’t anything.
He peeled her away from the seat and gathered her in his lap. He laid her head against his shoulder and wrapped his arms around her. “Take a few deep breaths. Slowly.”
She tried but she was shaking so hard she thought maybe her teeth were going to rattle right out of her head. Finn wiped the sweat-matted hair from her face and then pressed the cool washcloth to the back of her neck.
It was heaven.
He cracked a bottle of lime-flavored water with electrolytes.
“Where did you get that?” she asked.
“Willa. She has it in her shop. Says she gives it to the nervous dogs after they throw up.”