| Hollis |
“Last call!” Hollis shouted across the restaurant in a clear voice as she whipped up a jack on the rocks for Kenneth, one of their regulars. 1:30 A.M always came too soon for everyone, so the bartender wasn’t surprised at all to find Morgana bouncing between tables before rushing to the bar to get those last minute alcohol orders in.
“What do ya got for me?” Hollis asked absently, finishing up Kenneth’s drink and eyeing Morgana expectantly as the petite waitress peered at her notepad with tired sky blue eyes.
“Uh two Bud-lights and a White Russian.”
“Coming up!” Less than two minutes later, Hollis had Morgana’s patron’s drinks lined up neatly so the server could easily carry them over. “Whipped cream for Donna today?” The blonde hitched her chin in the direction of Harold and Donna Cunningham, who frequented Ringo’s at least once a week. While both husband and wife had a crazy sweet tooth, Donna almost always took it a step further by asking for whipped cream in her drinks.
Morgana rolled her eyes as if to say, ′Duh, of course!′ and smiled tightly. “You always call it, Hollis.” She watched the other girl shake a can of Reddi-whip and squirt a generous heap of cold cream directly onto the icy mixed drink with a smirk.
“Oh, yeah. She’s come up here a few times asking for whip. After a while, you remember those faces.” Not that Hollis had any issues with Donna; The forty something year old woman and her husband were very nice, and they tipped fairly well too. If anything happened to Ringo’s, Hollis knew she’d miss seeing them around along with all the familiar faces she’d gotten to know over the course of several years.
Morgana smiled hesitantly, taking the tray and nodding her thanks. “I appreciate it!” With that, she quickly made her way back to her thirsty customers. After Hollis had gotten back from rehab and returned to work, she noticed a positive change in the college student’s attitude toward her. She trusted Whitney when she swore up and down she hadn’t told anyone, but they lived in a smallish town and everyone knew about Dalton’s car accident. The blonde would’ve bet a twenty out of her own pocket that Morgana figured it out and decided to stop fucking with Hollis or Whitney. Vivian, Morgana’s best friend and one of Hollis’ previous one night stands, just stopped speaking to them altogether. Which was fine, because Hollis didn’t have anything to say to her after she verbally went after Whitney the way she did.
“Ayuh, no big deal.” Hollis responded, grinning at Kenneth when he passed her a ten dollar bill. “Hey man, thanks!”
“Don’t mention it, you know this is my favorite place to kick back and enjoy a few before Satan- uhhhh I mean Susan starts blowing up my phone and asking where I’ve been.” Kenneth roared, downing half his drink in one go. Hollis never really understood what the obsession behind people dissing their significant others while out with friends or otherwise was all about, but she let it go with a small smile and gentle shake of her head. It’d probably be a different story if she weren’t at work. On the bright side, at least he wasn’t coming home to her at the end of the night.
Hollis worked herself into a frenzy, reorganizing and stocking up until it was finally time to clock out. As usual, she took off about fifteen minutes later than everyone with the exception of Evan.
“I left dozens of notes for Jimmy and Jake just in case they have any questions while I’m gone. Are you sure you don’t want me to do anything else?” The hesitancy in her tone made Evan laugh as they strode out of Ringo’s together. For as long as he knew the young bartender, she’d always been one step ahead of whatever he wanted her to get done. For that reason alone, Evan wasn’t too worried about it.
“Enjoy your vacation with Whitney, Bogard. I’m pretty sure we’ve got everything under control for two weeks.” Evan unlocked the door to his black 2018 Subaru Outback and turned to face Hollis with a short sigh. “These next few months might seem a little rough while nothings set in stone yet. Let me know if you need anything, ok? I’m invested in your success, and you know I’ll drop whatever I have to if you start struggling again.” As much as Hollis wanted to believe this wasn’t about her addiction, she knew it was. Evan was there, sitting in Dalton’s hospital room among her closest friends and family. He read her his letter, and embraced her so hard she could feel her bones crunch right before leaving for Lakeside. He was showing his support without coming right out with why it was being offered. Which would probably be the rest of her life regarding the professional relationship she had with her boss, but she made her bed. Now she had to sleep in it.
Hollis nodded, staring at her feet with crossed arms. “Same, Evan. Let me know if anything changes? For better or worse.”
The bald headed manager broke out into an incredulous smile as he slid into his vehicle. “You know I will. The second you clock back in after your two week long vacation. Take a break, Hollis. Everyone needs one.”
"Wha!? Hold on a second, that’s not fair!” The blonde protested lightheartedly, but waved back when Evan started driving off with a departing gesture through his rear view mirror. “I mean it! Text me!” She cupped her hands around her mouth and hollered with a short giggle, wasting no time in jogging to her corolla. Despite this damn near entire shit day, it wasn’t over yet. She was finally on her way to get Whitney, and her girlfriend never ever failed to cheer her up.
| Whitney |
“...TSA is going to have a ball with your luggage, Cali.” Kendra sniggered, grunting as she struggled to zip up Whitney’s violet Michael Kor’s carry on. Her desperate roommate was sitting on top of it, huffing in disappointment when the flustered girl rose to her feet. She’d only been able to get the bag zipped halfway and it wasn’t budging any further. “I don’t want to fuck it up and jam the zipper! Maybe try packing less?”
“Hilarious.” Whitney retorted dryly as she shimmied herself on to the floor so she could scowl at the troublesome zipper. “You don’t understand; I need my make-up. My hair is going to frizz the fuck out if I don’t have all my specialty products. I wasted so much frigging time trying to pack it in my other bags, but that left hardly any room for shoes and-”
A soft knock at Whitney’s bedroom door caused both girls to whip their heads around. Hollis’ amused expression made Kendra let out a belly laugh as she watched her best friend’s grey eyes travel from the heap of stuffed luggage beside Whitney’s bed, to her partially zipped carry on. “Oh no...West Coast, what in the hell...?” She knelt down to examine her girlfriend’s packing job in awe before squinting up at Whitney’s flushed face.
“Everyone stop making fun of me!” The dark-haired girl commanded, but couldn’t hide her grin as Hollis carefully peeled the zipper back to it’s starting point. “Wait- do you know how long it took me to zip it that far!?”
“Lucky you, you’ll zip it up again. Only this time you’ll actually be able to close it.” Hollis surveyed the contents with an exaggerated expression. It looked like CVS and Sephora threw up in Whitney’s medium sized designer bag. “What I want to know is how you managed to get all your shit from Hollywood to Auburn last year. Oh, and who taught you how to pack? Please point me in their direction so I can make sure this never happens again.”
“Sassy pants.” Whitney glowered, but danced closer to Hollis so she could throw her arms around the other girl’s neck. “We can’t leave until you help meeeee. Nothings gonna get done if you don’t.” She swayed gently, bursting into a giggle fit when Hollis effortlessly lifted her up and deposited her on the airy pink comforter gently. Leaning in so their noses were touching, Hollis scoffed affectionately.
“I’d learn to ask a little nicer if I were you, unless you don’t mind ...getting TICKLED." Before Whitney could react, Hollis used her body weight to keep the startled girl pinned so she could tweak and pinch her sensitive waist. She turned to wink at Kendra who was cheering her on, both girls laughing right along with poor struggling Whitney as she thrashed and squealed. As the blonde’s fingers dug into her lover’s rib cage, she grinned at the series of adorable shrieks that followed.
“NO hehehahahahaha no-no tickling! Get OFF HAHAhehehehehe Okay OKAY hehehehehehe HollYYYYHEHEHEHE I’ll pack, I’ll hahahah pack it agahaahahahahahahain STHAHAHAP!”
“Yeah? You’re sure?” Hollis cooed, continuing to drive Whitney up the wall with her persistent, strong, digging fingers. “Whether I help or not?” Of course she didn’t plan to leave it all up to her girlfriend, since that worked out so well the first time. Still, Whitney didn’t have to know that just yet.
“YES HAHAHAHeeeheheheh I’m sure, I’m sure heheheheheeee...oh GOD ngggh thank you....” Whitney’s high pitched laughter died down to breathless giggling when her girlfriend eventually decided to let up. Wrapping her arms around herself, the still giggly brunette sat upright to watch Kendra give Hollis a quick hug.
“I’m sure you’ve heard this from your brother a zillion and one times, but seriously behave yourself Hollis. Airports are no picnic as it is, and you’re a nightmare to travel with.” Having taken a few trips out of state with her best friend, Kendra felt it was only fair to warn Whitney ahead of time. Especially since they were catching an early flight, and Hollis was almost impossible to rouse until at least noon on her good days.
“Uh-huh, well as long as there aren’t ten babies on the fucking plane and everyone takes the two seconds they need to sit down, it’ll be easy breezy.” Hollis fired back cooly, turning her attention to Whitney’s luggage so the roommates could say their goodbyes.
"You and I both know she’s a BITCH to wake up. Set like five alarms.” Kendra whisper hissed as she embraced Whitney from where she still sat on her bed.
“Don’t worry, I won’t let her sleep in. She’d be livid with herself.” Whitney assured her, turning to observe Hollis accessing her luggage situation. The long, drawn out groan she mustered was utterly teasing as she started lining the bags up from biggest to smallest.
“First things first; We gotta find room for half the shit in your carry on, West Coast.”
The smaller blonde’s heart swelled when she caught Whitney gazing at Hollis like she was the only person who ever existed. Her playful smile was the epitome of what it felt like to be so unabashedly in love.
“Alright well, I’m headed off to bed. Lock up before you leave. There’s food in the fridge if you want it Hollis, I made mashed potatoes.” Kendra offered with a chuckle, fully anticipating her best friend’s excited yelp. It wasn’t super often that Hollis displayed such feminine reactions, but Kendra’s home cooked meals were definitely worth temporarily losing her mind over.
“You have no idea how good that sounds after the day I’ve had.” Hollis lifted her black work shirt to reveal the raised red splotches starting at her naval and traveling toward her breasts. Kendra hissed with empathy while Whitney rushed over to kiss her lover’s angry swollen skin.
“How’d you do that, Holly!?” Whitney asked in between soft pecks. She felt Hollis’ fingers thread through her black curls leisurely.
“Got cut off on the way to Ringo’s and literally spilled my large cup of coffee all over myself. To think I almost went with an iced tea.”
“That wouldn’t have ever happened if you’d juuuuust gotten a Frappuccino from Starbucks.” Whitney chortled, glancing upward to crinkle her nose at an exasperated Hollis. Knowing how much the other girl couldn't stand the popular coffee franchise, Whitney went out of her way to bring it up where she could.
"Nighty night lovebirds." Kendra made a kissy face at them and burst into laughter when Hollis quickly untangled herself from Whitney to shove her out of the bedroom with earnest. "Dude I'm going!"
"Go faster then." Hollis giggled with one final push. Once Kendra's antagonizing voice trailed off down the hall, she turned around to find Whitney on her hands and knees beside two open bags. "Ready to get this done?"
"Sure thing, but Holl?" Suddenly remembering her girlfriend's earlier text, Whitney pulled her long black curls into a ponytail and watched the other girl get situated beside her.
"But what, West Coast?" Hollis clicked her tongue and began rummaging through the largest suitcase containing at least ten pairs of shoes. Boots, strappy heels, the whole nine.
"You said you got some bad news earlier?" Whitney's concerned honey brown eyes flashed with worry when Hollis froze in place. The blonde seemed like she wanted to say something, but quickly shook her head with a forced smile and a halfhearted shrug.
"Oh yeah, work stuff. I'm fine now babe. Listen, help me out or we'll really be here all night and I don't know about you but I want some of those mashed potatoes."
Whitney opened her mouth to protest, but closed it as soon as she got a good look at Hollis. She was clearly tired, and was here doing her the favor of repacking the overly stuffed suitcases so she'd get past security. Still not fully sold on the story regardless, Whitney made a mental note to ask for more information later. For now, she was content watching Hollis play tetris with her belongings.
"You win, Holly. Those mashed potatoes are the bomb."
"...Dot.com." Hollis added, baring her gorgeous white teeth as Whitney burst into laughter.
| Hollis |After spending just over an hour re-packing Whitney's three suitcases plus her carry on, the girls were finally heading back to Hollis' with two heaping plates of mashed potatoes, corn, and chicken. As Whitney prepared to lock the door, her lover leaned against the side of the house with a drowsy smile. "You got everything West Coast?" "Yep! Thanks to you, baby." Whitney's thick black bun bounced slightly as she jangled the door, then stooped to grab her newly organized Michael Kors bag. Hollis had already loaded the rest, and their dinner had been stashed underneath the back seat safely."Don't discredit yourself; I watched your cute little butt hustling in there. Oh, can you drive? I'm so fucking tired." The blonde yawned as she stretched in place. That much was true, but it was more of an emotional and mental exhaustion. Hollis had completely forgotten about sending Whitney that text, and refused to bring the mood down by telling
| Hollis |The next time Hollis woke up, she was alone. Her weighted blanket was designed to help her feel like Whitney was always next to her when she was trying to fall asleep, but that unique warmth associated with another human body just wasn’t there. Much less Whitney's. She could hear faint laughter and animated conversation coming from downstairs and blinked away the first few minutes of grogginess. As if suddenly remembering something, Hollis cursed softly and lunged for her charging Google Pixel 4 XL to peek at the time.4:15 P.M.Fuck. She had group in an hour, and had promised to pick up Jake this go around since he'd been having some car trouble. Trying to remember if she asked Whitney to wake her up or not, Hollis quickly dashed out of bed and grabbed a random short sleeved black shirt and dark wash jeans before slipping into the guest bathroom for a hot shower. Ok, let's go through the m
Fourteen years Prior, Auburn Maine| Hollis |“You sure you’re gonna be alright if I go to the tailgate party, Holl?” Sixteen year old Dalton asked tentatively, tossing his little sister the football he’d won at some stupid arcade in town last year. “The guys wouldn’t mind if you wanted to come, you know.” Hollis caught it and fingered the white stitching with what was supposed to be a reassuring smile.“I’m meeting up with Kendra for dinner, otherwise you know I’d be there. She’s not about that scene.” The blonde shrugged, tightening the strings of her plain off-white hoodie and hopping off Dalton’s bed to hand him the ball back. Her apprehensive grey eyes shone with something her brother couldn’t read, and he only hesitated for a second before embracing her fiercely.“If it gets bad again, stay over at her place.”He
| Hollis |The next dayWhitney’s arm laid like dead weight as it remained looped around Hollis’ bare midsection protectively. Her angelic face was buried in the other girl’s neck while she continued to sleep soundly. Each breath felt light and airy as they caressed her nape, right along the crimson love bites Whitney always had a habit of leaving behind. It’d been fifteen minutes since Hollis woke up in a groggy state, but she didn’t want to risk stirring her girlfriend so she just watched Whitney with a relaxed smile. Laying perfectly still. Recollections of the previous night rushed forward, and they made Hollis infinitely grateful for the adorable woman curled up against her now.********************Hearing the despairing cries coming from Hollis’ bedroom, Whitney rushed upstairs to find her girlfriend grabbing at her hair to keep from punching the wall as she screamed blindly at nothing,
| Whitney |"Hey Californiiiaaaa!" Jake sang teasingly, grinning broadly as Whitney skipped over to give him a side hug. His silver snakebites glinted in the afternoon sun when he turned toward the petite woman slowly approaching them with a shy grin of her own. "This is Nora. We met at group about a month ago. Nora, Whitney. She's Hollis' girl." "What's up, what's up?" Whitney chirped, extending her hand toward Nora with a toothy smile. The smaller woman took it graciously, bouncing on her heels slightly as she did so. With her luminous strawberry blonde hair and peppy spirit, she radiated hella good vibes. The soft yellow romper she was rocking might have looked out of place on anyone else, but it fit her tiny body nicely. The white Keds she wore were really all that mattered, since hiking required decent footwear. "Hi! It's nice to meet you. Gosh, you're so pretty!" Her green eyes glittered like jewels as they broke their handshake. She di
| Whitney |Neither girl said anything for the first ten minutes during the drive back to Hollis’ house. The blonde kept her tired eyes on the road ahead as she casually drummed a few fingers against the steering wheel, like she often did while deep in thought. Whitney stared at her lap trying to focus on anything other than her growing irritation.Honestly, to say Whitney was irritated would’ve been a massive understatement. Hollis swore she’d stop hiding things from her as a stipulation of getting back together just before Christmas, so she’d been completely blindsided by Jake’s comment about Ringo’s. Since her girlfriend said she’d elaborate, Whitney had been biting her tongue in hopes that she would start talking sooner rather than later. As the stifling silence continued however, she sighed loudly and turned to glare out of the window.Her girlfriend drew in a deep breath, and Whitney held hers.&ldq
Two days later| Hollis |“Have you decided if you’re going yet?” Whitney questioned as she watched her girlfriend set out a pair of comfortable clothing for tomorrow morning’s flight to New York City. She was referring to Dalton’s hearing, naturally. The blonde had asked her older brother for some time to think about it after finding she couldn’t answer him right away.Nothing changed between then and now.“Nope.” Hollis grunted as she placed a pair of blue jeans and a plain white tee shirt on top of her black dresser. “I’m still trying to figure out why he asked; Dalton knows how I am...I’m liable to get myself arrested for freaking out.” Her grey eyes flashed with fury and she let out a scoff. “I didn’t even want to know his name at first, remember?”The memory was very vivid for Whitney. As supportive as Hollis was, she c
| Whitney |"...A phone call would've been appreciated. My girlfriends' over and we're still getting ourselves ready for tomorrow. This really isn't the best time." Whitney heard Hollis address her parents icily. Animosity radiated off every word. The dark haired girl inched as far toward the staircase as she could without getting caught, and pressed herself against the wall so she'd be able to hear the exchange clearly."We wanted to do this before you left; It can't wait until after you get back so please just hear us out." Margot explained in a rushed tone as her daughter openly scoffed at both she and her husband disrespectfully. Even without saying anything in response, Hollis' disdain seeped into the overall atmosphere and lingered there like a heavy blanket. Whitney peered through the railing at the top of the stairs, invisible to the group of people just below her. Nina was seated beside Dalton's wheelchair on their faux leather couch, safe from the up