Darryl’s phone was ringing somewhere between the blankets that had been piled on the couch. He counted rings as he dug, hoping that he’d get to it before it went to voice mail. In his desperation, he hit answer before he even read the display. “Yes, hello?”
“Dare? Are you busy? I need you to come over and be here when Louisa wakes up. She actually likes you.” He sounded a little desperate, so it took some processing, but the blocks fell into place in Darryl’s head. It was Corey, Darryl’s best friend and Louisa’s housemate. Corey often complained that Louisa only liked Darryl and only took Corey’s company because it was part of the deal. It was a load of bullshit, but Corey was nothing if not a bit dramatic.
“For the last time, Core. She wouldn’t have agreed to rent with you if she didn’t like you.” Darryl said automatically while he fidgeted with the remote to pause the Tivo. When Corey got worked up there was no point in trying to focus on anything else, he had quite the way of commanding all attention.
“No, no, I know that,” Corey said dismissively, “She’s just not going to be too happy with me when she wakes up because she was starting to realize as she fell asleep.”
“Started to realize what?” Darryl asked carefully, half afraid to hear the answer. Corey’s pointed silence was not reassuring. “Oh, Corey. What did you do?”
“I put Benadryl in her applesauce at dinner. It was what my mom used to do to get me to sleep when I was little.” Corey at least had the decency to sound a little unsure of what he’d done.
“Oh, Core.” Darryl covered his eyes with his free hand. “This is bad, Corey, really bad.”
“I know, I know. But, I had to do something Darryl. I don’t think she’s sleep more than four hours in the last week. I know everyone grieves differently, but she had to slow down or else she was just going to lose her mind. He’s not going to be any less dead if she gets hospitalized for exhaustion.” Corey made an exasperated sound. “I’m sorry, that sounded cruel. I’m losing my mind too. Please. Come over. Team up with Louisa to plot a suiting revenge for me or to whisper behind my back about how horrible I am or lecture me or whatever.” Darryl sat up slowly, and stared at a spot on the floor as if it could give him the answer to helping his best friend, and take the desperation out of Corey’s voice. Unfortunately when Corey spoke next he just sounded defeated. “Dare. Help me. Tag me out. Just please.”
“I’m coming,” Darryl cradled the phone between his shoulder and ear as he pulled his shoes on. “If Louisa wants to kill you, I’ll probably let her. But, maybe I can convince her to make it quick and painless.”
Corey laughed, and Darryl took that as a good sign. He couldn’t be that far gone if he was still able to laugh. “Thanks man.”
“How long has she been asleep? Do I have time to stop off and buy some supplies?” Darryl pulled his jacket on and fumbled for his keys on their hook.
“She’s been out for about an hour, so yeah, you probably have a bit of time.”
“Alright.” Darryl locked his apartment behind him, “Hold the fort, Corey. I’ll be there soon.”